There are plenty of reasons to be in the garden after sundown, whether cozying up on a porch swing with a soft blanket in May or dancing barefoot on the dewy lawn in August. One thing’s for sure—a touch of man-made lighting goes a long way beneath the moon and stars.
Safety always comes first, so don’t wire electric light fixtures frivolously or plop down candles irresponsibly (with electricity, the main risk is rainwater, with candles, wind; with both, fire), but given that primary consideration, the world of light is wide open to your interpretation.
You can add a row of vintage oil lamps to light a gravel pathway; mount an elegant chandelier on a porch, create a dramatic focal point near a pond, hang a string of bistro lights from a pergola or make something unique from unlikely bits and pieces. Let there be light.
For romantic illumination, try the non-electrical approach to lighting the night.
What you’ll need:
- Wire egg basket
- Ceiling hook
- Spanish moss
- Vintage pickling jars
- Chain (we used an old angler’s swivel chain)
Step 1: Fix chain securely to mounted ceiling hook. Suspend the handle from the chain with an angler’s swivel, or wrap chain around the handle and secure with wire. Be sure your solution can support the weight of several glass jars.
Step 2: Fill base of the egg basket with Spanish moss to create a somewhat level surface. Add various-sized vintage pickling jars with votive candles inside. Light candles for ambient light.
A vintage egg basket fitted with a screw-on light cord set, makes an easy rustic pendant.
What you need:
- Wire egg basket with removable handle
- A socket cord (Hemma from IKEA, $7, is used here)
- An extension cord
- Light bulb
Step 1: Mount a ceiling hook and run an extension cord to it. Staple cord in place if necessary.
Step 2: Gently remove the egg basket handle with pliers. Run the socket cord to the light bulb through a hole in the base of the egg basket. Insert light bulb. Suspend basket upside down, wrap the socket cord around the hook and plug in for a bright light.
An ancient farm feed pan becomes an instant party chandelier.
What you need:
- Vintage metal feed pan
- Key ring
- Damp moss
- Pillar candles
- Shepherd’s hook or plant hanger
- Flower blooms (optional)
First, drill three holes equidistantly around the rim of the feed pan lip. Insert small s-hooks. Attach the hooks to three equal lengths of chain and gather the chains together on a key ring. Hang the ring from a sturdy hook. Place a grouping of pillar candles in various sizes in the pan. Fill the pan with moss around candles to hold them in place. Add flowers that match your decor for a fresh touch.
You can convert any old electrical chandelier to a candle-burning fixture with chandelier votive inserts.
A votive grounded by a measure of sand in a vintage Mason jar is suspended from a shepherd’s hook. A super-easy lighting solution.
Add a giggle to your garden by covering an outdoor pendant with a dinged-up colander. Beams of light will shoot through the holes like stars in the night sky.
Old enameled metal barn lampshades are ideal for exterior lighting. See how we made this fixture from a bunch of different hardware elements here.
A past-its-prime metal chandelier gets a new lease on life with a fresh paint finish and strings of crystals.
In the evening, light up a market umbrella canopy with hanging paper lanterns fitted with battery-operated lamps. The mix of different sizes, solid colors, and perky patterns adds a playfully festive touch.
A damaged birdcage becomes a unique and intriguing wall sconce in a glass house made from vintage windows and doors.
Rewired old pendants and chandeliers, along with rope and twinkle lights, illuminate this unique space.
This chandelier involves wire, but not wiring. Wrap baling wire around mason jars to make a handle. Fill the jars with coarse glitter mixed with sand, and insert a votive candle. Attach the wire to an overturned vintage plant basket. Hang the center of the basket from an eyehook in the ceiling.
Old overturned buckets, baskets, even old chicken feeders offer potential as overhead lighting fixtures. Fit them with secured votives or pendant light kits.
The whimsical fixture showcases collectible vintage postcards. Drill three holes in each of two old barrel hoops—spaced at equidistant intervals so that after connecting the hoops with chains, they remain balanced. Attach twenty color-compatible postcards to the hoops with binder clips to provide a 360-degree display. Add a pendant lamp kit and keep the light bulb wattage low—40 watts or less for safety.
This hand-made shabby-chic sconce is fashioned from an old lampshade frame and a vintage gelatin mold.
A tarnished silver pitcher with etched decoration adds its lovely curved lines to the wire frame of a dilapidated chandelier. Dot the old vessels around the fixture it keep it balanced. Tuck battery-powered votives inside for a subtle glow.
This rustic lighting solution is simply a pallet hung upside down from chains. See how to make this chandelier here.
Vintage galvanized tractor funnels make a quirky trio of pendant light fixtures. Instructions for this simple lighting idea can be found in our she shed post.
© Caruth Studio