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Solar-Powered Wash Tub Lantern

Hang a trio of solar-powered lights in a reflective tub for soft after-dark outdoor lighting.

Three solar lights in a reflective metal tub.

Project Overview

Skill Level


Estimated Time

A few hours

Estimated Cost


Tools & Materials


  • Drill and 1/8-in bit
  • Needle-nose pliers with wire cutter
  • Tape measure


  • 5.5-gallon galvanized oval tub, #3712
  • 3 - 20-light low-voltage LED deck lights, #484757
  • Steel S-hooks, pack of 5, #332304
  • 22-gauge galvanized-steel wire, #62940
  • 2-in deck screws

Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

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Step 1

If you plan to hang the tub instead of resting it on a table or shelf, drill two holes near one long edge along the bottom of the tub.

Good to Know

Position these mounting holes to suit how you’ll install the lantern. If you’ll screw it to a wooden fence, for example, make the holes horizontal to each other. To mount it on a post, stack the holes so they’re vertical. Either way, space the holes as far apart as possible.

Step 2

With the tub on its side, space the lights evenly inside and measure between the centers of the lids. Drill a centered hole in the long side of the tub about 2 inches from the top rim. Measure from the center hole and drill additional holes to the left and right of the center.

Step 3

Cut three pieces of galvanized-steel wire about 6 inches long and bend each piece in half. Using the pliers, close one loop on each of three S-hooks.

Step 4

S-hook mounted to the tub.

Pass a wire through the closed S-hook loop and push the wire ends through a hole in the tub from the inside. Pull the S-hook tight against the tub and use the pliers to curl the wire ends into a ball. Then press the excess wire against the outside of the tub and repeat for the other two S-hooks.

Step 5

Solar-light lantern at night.

Mount the tub using screws sized for the thickness of the material. Then place the solar lights in a sunny area to charge. After dark, hang the light handles from the S-hooks inside the tub.

Good to Know

Unless the tub receives plenty of natural light during the day, remove the lanterns to recharge before using.

Galvanized metal adds a special twinkle to the solar lights hanging inside this tub.