Sunday, October 23, 2011

Make Solar Milk Jug Ghosts for Halloween

The rechargeable batteries in the solar garden lights I repainted last summer heaved their last breath. 

While I am searching for outdoor rechargeable batteries,  I need something to light the way for the Trick or Treaters.

Luminaries are simple and festive. However, I don’t want to with traditional candles in case the kids accidentally walk into them. Husband says lighting your neighbor’s children on fire is rude. What-ever.

I don’t want to go with a battery operated tea lights or white Christmas tree lights because most evenings around dusk I'm trapped under a Pekingese who demands pets. Look at that face. Would you shoo it off your lap to turn on Halloween lights?

More pets please!

No. No, you wouldn’t.

Small solar lights will solve the problem nicely. Laziness + solar lights = green living. Yay!

I used small solar garden lights and milk jugs to make solar milk jug ghost luminaries!


How to Make Solar Milk Jug Ghost Luminaries

The construction is so simple I almost don’t have to do a tutorial.

But I will.

You will need:

Plastic milk jugs
Solar garden lights
Paint OR Markers OR paper, scissors, paint brush, and decoupage medium
scissors or rotary tool
wire (optional)

Make it:

  1. Drink milk and save the empty jugs. I didn’t have to wait very long because Husband drinks so much milk I’d park a cow in the garage if city would let me to keep up with the moo juice demand.

  1. I asked my household servant to wash the milk jugs and remove the labels. Household servant = the dishwasher.
  1. I printed Martha Stewart’s pumpkin carving templates on scrap paper,  cut the faces out with scissors, and used OutDoor Mod Podge to decoupage the faces onto the milk jugs because I didn’t like the test faces I drew on scrap paper. You can draw a face on your milk jug with black marker/paint if you can draw without a computer (unlike me!)

Outdoor Mod Podge stays put during thunderstorms! 
Guess how I know?

  1. Cut the top off the milk jug to widen the hole for the solar light. I used the cutting wheel on my Dremel to cut my milk jugs. If you don't have a rotary tool, a pair of scissors also works. I’m using any excuse I can to eke out as much power tool time as I can before it’s too cold to work in the garage.
The Dremel cut through that milk jug like but-tah!

  1. Make a hanger (optional) by poking two holes in the tip of the jug. Again, I used another cutting tip on my Dremel but any sharp object will do. Twist/tie a loop of wire or string through the holes to make the hanger.

  1. Place a small solar garden light in the hole. I bought my solar lights at the dollar store because I want the little guys. I decided to leave the garden stake on the light to keep the light from tipping out of the milk jug.

  1. Hang/place the luminaries in a sunny spot to charge the solar panels. I reused the stakes of the original hanging solar garden lights.
The winking guy is my favorite.

  1. Wait until dark.

  1. Light up the night!

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Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

Hey gang, can you settle an argument for me? I say we can use any rechargeable battery in our dead solar garden lights. Husband says you have to buy special outdoor solar garden light rechargeable batteries. The fate of the universe is at stake. That and dinner. Got the answer?

Jaimee @ Havenwood House of Boys said...

What a great project!! I'm going to share this on my crafty facebook page. Feel free to grab an "I've Been Facebooked" button at my blog!
: )
Jaimee @

Mary H said...

This is a really cool Halloween project. Sorry, I can't answer your question about the batteries, but my money's on you Lisa.

Ally @momstownmedia said...

These are so cute! Would love to have you join our Halloween craft linkup party!

maria said...

I love your ghost lights, what a great ecofriendly project!

Al McLeary said...

very cool project - echo chic

Lingering Liveaboard said...

Great idea. Will try this year :)

debbieb0925 said...

I just procured 8 gallon milk jugs via FreeCycle (we just don't drink enough milk in our house) so I'm all set for my weekend project. I might need to get that Dremel thingee - looks like too much fun.

As for the rechargeable batteries, I'd go for the cheaper version but...I'd be concerned that they weren't waterproof. Those solar light rechargeable batteries, which I saw at Home Depot when I was there buying the lights for this project, are designed for the outdoorsy things.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

debbieb0925 - Thanks for the tip Debbie. Yes, Dremels are fun tools. They are so useful depending upon the tips you have and use. I could write and ode to my Dremel.

All Artful said...

This is great! We go through two gallons of milk a week and I always feel like I'm throwing away something of use.
Thanks for posting on

Stephanie @ All Artful

Miss Kitty said...

Thanks for sharing this great idea! I bought some small solar lights on sale at the end of the season and now I know how I'm going to use them. I saw your post over at "Thrifty Thursday".

Shelly @Crafty Creative Studio said...

Cute, cute, idea!! I just might add a link from my Fall Luminaires post... These are really fun. :)

Shelly @Crafty Creative Studio said...

O.K, I did it. Anyone seeing my Fall Luminaires post, will see the link back here to see some fun ghosty guys! I've sent them from here:

Amber said...

Love the milk jugs! So cute! Thanks for visiting the blog and for the sweet comment. I'm glad to hear my husband is not the only one who likes kilts... haha.

Kaitlin Saenz said...

These are darling! How cute! I'm hosting a Fabulous Fall party over at Not So Simple Housewife and I'd love for you to link this up! We are celebrating Fall and giving me and everybody else some great inspiration. We are looking for crafts, decor, food, and more! I'd love for you to add this and any other fall posts you may have!

Kaitlin-The Not So SImple Housewife

Amy {The Red Chair Blog} said...

Very clever, cute, and green!

Its So Very Cheri said...

You’ve been featured. Check it out.

Cheri from Its So Very Cheri

Beth ( said...

Those are super cute & clever! They came out awesome! I would love for you to come link up at my TGIF Linky Party -
Beth =-)

Lindsay said...

Clever, clever! I love this! What a idea! And super cute as well! Thanks for sharing this @ Show & Share! Happy to have you!

Danni@SiloHillFarm said...

Oh this is the best! I love that they use solar and that you are recycling! Yay!

Laurel@ChippingwithCharm said...

Very kids would love this! Laurel

Carrie said...

These are so cute. I love non-scary ghosts!

Would love for you to share this at my very first linky party. My sister and I are working together over at “Think Tank Thursday”…would love to see you there!

mail4rosey said...

Oh, they're cute and I love the faces. Thank you for sharing! I'm visiting/following from Katherine's Corner.

Mel@Mellywood's Mansion said...

That is just plain awesome! Stopping by from Think Tank Thursday

Unknown said...

these are super cute. Won't you add them to my Repurposed Ideas Weekly blog hop at:

Unknown said...

thanks for sharing at repurposed ideas weekly!

Katherines Corner said...

love,love,love! Awesome recycling craft. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop. Wishing you a beautiful weekend xo

Carrie said...

Thanks so much for linking this up at our very first "Think Tank".
This week's party is up and running. We would love if you would visit the "Think Tank" again this week!

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