Not Martha

Simple DIY Solar Powered LED Christmas Wreath

finished DIY solar LED wreath

I came across solar powered LED Christmas lights the other day and decided to make a lit wreath. I’m excited because the sensors in the solar panel turn the lights on when it gets dark outside and turn them off during the day, which means I won’t have to try to remember to turn the lights out every night. (The solar lights work the same as the automatic on/off LED lights used as path markers which I have previously turned into homemade sun jars.) I tucked the solar panel in the middle of the wreath and used the ornaments to disguise it, making it perfect for hanging on a door as there are no wires coming out of the wreath.

wreath, LED solar light strand, twist ties and ornaments

This project turned out to be about the same price as a regular pre-lit wreath, but less than most pre-lit solar wreaths I’ve found. The strand of 24 lights was $15 and the artificial wreath and ornaments (on sale) came to $12. I used a cluster of ornaments but a wreath ribbon would work just as well. I used long green twist ties, found in a gardening section, to attach everything. Though, I ended up trimming down the twist ties so a handful of regular length ones nabbed from a grocery store would work just as well.

showing the barest spot in my artificial wreath

First I fluffed out the branches of the wreath and found the barest spot. If you have one too make this the bottom of the wreath where we’ll be attaching the solar panel and the decorations.

loop on the back of the solar panel made using duct tape

In order to avoid having a wire coming out of the wreath I tucked the solar panel right into the wreath itself. The solar panel came with a removable spike, meant to anchor it into the ground, which we won’t need. In order to attach the solar panel to the wreath I created loops using duct tape. They aren’t pretty but they won’t be seen. Then I wired it so that it sits in the bottom of the inside of the wreath, mostly hidden behind branches.

winding the strand of LED lights, attaching it to to the wreath frame using twist ties

I attached the lights by running the cord around the wreath from behind, making sure each bulb was facing out towards the front, and securing with a bit of twist tie. For a 22″ wreath the strand of lights went around twice so I attached the lights first to the smaller and then to the larger hoop of the wreath frame.

groups of three or four ornaments threaded onto twist ties, then attached to the wreath

Next I made clusters of ornaments by simply threading them onto the twist ties. (I’ve just typed “twist ties” too many times and it’s turned into one of those meaningless phrases.) I used the same twist ties to arrange them at the bottom of the wreath to disguise the solar panel. String or regular wire would work just as well here.

solar LED wreath hanging on my door

Here it is on our (terribly boring and beige) front door. The solar panel is mostly hidden but angled upwards and still able to catch sunlight. I’ll get a picture of it lit at night as soon as I can.

· comments [16] · 12-3-2010 · categories:christmas · craft ·

16 responses so far ↓

  • 1 margo // Dec 3, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    just fabulous….

  • 2 megan // Dec 3, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    Margo – Thanks! It was easier than I expected. I’m also finding LED wreath light kits online but I cannot tell if they have a specific way to attach the solar panel to the wreath or if they are a string of lights similar to the one I bought.

  • 3 Seanna Lea // Dec 4, 2010 at 9:03 am

    It’s really attractive. I’ve seen a lot of different wreath tutorials this year! Unfortunately, I am not sure that our yard consistently gets enough light for that. Our solar path lights often are super anemic looking.

  • 4 Pattilou // Dec 4, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Just lovely, and so cleverly created.

  • 5 Rachel // Dec 6, 2010 at 3:18 am

    Looks lovely – can’t wait to see it in action! I’ll be really interested to see if you have enough sun to keep the lights going. We’re in the UK which is snowy and dull at the moment, and with only 8 hours or so of daylight at the moment I don’t think we’d have enough. I might cheat and try something similar but use battery powered lights instead!

  • 6 Steffy // Dec 6, 2010 at 7:21 am

    I had pretty much forgotten about those solar powered LED’s. I may have to fashion something for my lamp post, as I have no electrical outlet to run to it. Thanks!

  • 7 megan // Dec 6, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Seanna Lea – I have some solar votive jars and I know the newer ones have batteries that have not given up yet. Since this wreath will only be out for a month I’m hoping it will last. It is places on a southern facing door so I have hope.

    Thank you Pattilou!

    Rachel – Seattle has very similar weather and hours of daylight, so far so good. Battery powered lights would work out great, I wonder if there is an auto on/off string of lights that uses a regular battery? I have to admit, I like the solar lights primarily because I don’t have to remember to turn them off :)

    Steffy – They are working out well so far. Do be aware that LED lights come in warm and cool white, the cool white looks nearly blue so if you’re lamp post is yellow light you might want to seek out warm LEDs, or a colorful strand, so it will work with the light that is already there.

  • 8 pam // Dec 7, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Dangit! I really thought I invented those yesterday! On the other hand, I’m glad they exist.

  • 9 megan // Dec 7, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Pam – Do you mean solar powered string lights? I was very glad to find them!

  • 10 retro sweets // Dec 8, 2010 at 1:41 am

    Giving love to mother nature this Christmas! Great idea. I’m excited to see what they are in the evenings. :)

  • 11 megan // Dec 9, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Retro Sweets – It’s rained every evening so I have not been able to get a photograph of it lit up yet. Because of said rain the wreath hasn’t been staying lit for long, a downside if one is really into Christmas lights I admit.

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  • 13 retro sweets // Dec 14, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    HI! Been away to attend a friend’s wedding. Anyway, it’s OK Meg. At least you tried something unique and earth-friendly this Christmas. :)

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  • 15 Alina // Nov 8, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    Hi! It`s great! Thanks for such nice idea)

  • 16 Deborah // Dec 4, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    I created these using the Philips soft white led solar lights from Target.. 50 lights, $19.99.. I put it on the door for a few days and it was just too dim and looked really pitiful with our bright candles shining in the windows.. Our house faces N-NW, so it could just be a sunlight issue.. but for six wreaths, it was $120, so I’m taking the lights back to get some garland for the door and railings and sticking with the flood lights in the yard.

    Deborah
    Mechanicsville, Virginia

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