Easy DIY Gas or Electric Lamp Post Solar Conversion - plus tips and tricks on buying a solar lamp post light!

3:30:00 PM

Affiliate links have been added to this post for your reference (and pajama-shopping pleasure!)

When we moved into our 1959 split-level home last year, the original gas lamp post was still in the yard - but it wasn't kicking.

The post was in rough shape, with a lot of the paint having peeled off during the years; the top of the lantern kept blowing off each time we'd get a big windstorm, and, upon inspection, had been disconnected from the main gas line several years before.

I decided I was going to rehab the post, and, because I

a) didn't want to mess around with gas, and -
b) couldn't afford to have electrical run to the post,

I decided to go solar with it.

The hardest part was removing the original lantern - the screws were rusted and painted in place, and required a little extra to get them out. But I did it! And look at it now!

How to quickly and easily update your yard lamp post - by yourself! Easy solar conversion tutorial, step by step, including links to supplies and lighting ideas!

Here's how I completed this easy, one day project.

And, a tutorial on how I made my address sign is coming!
*DISCLOSURE: Please ensure if you are replacing a gas lamp that the gas to the lamp has been properly disconnected by a qualified technician. If your old light is electric, make sure to properly cap and disconnect the electricity to the post before working on it.
Need some ideas for your new lamp post light? Click here to see my curated list on Amazon of the top rated solar and electric post lights!


A few things I came across in my research which you might consider when choosing a new light for your post:

  1. Most post light retrofits are for a 3" diameter pole - double check the diameter of your post before purchasing your light.
  2. There are several types of solar lamp post lights to choose from - with various styles, shapes, colors, and colors of light. I had originally picked out this light from Amazon:
    but didn't like the fact that the light thrown was much cooler than I had wanted - the light I picked casts a nice, warm, yellow light which matches my exterior house lights perfectly:
    My neighbour ended up putting the light I decided against in several weeks after I did mine (I inspired her!) and the light, in person, is quite cool-colored. Food for thought!
  3. Most of these lights will require a replacement rechargeable battery within a couple of years of use. For most they are readily available but be prepared for some minor maintenance.
  4. Make sure that your post is not to close to any other light source - like a street lamp - which would make the surrounding area too bright for the light to ever come on, even though it's dark outside (a light source that might mimic daylight)


1. Remove that old light!
How to remove rusty screws - How to quickly and easily update your yard lamp post - by yourself! Easy solar conversion tutorial, step by step, including links to supplies and lighting ideas!

I had some problems removing the old, rusty screws. At first, I tried using a blade to cut around the base of the screw to remove any old paint. No go.

Then, I tried spraying the screws, several times over a few days with this lubricating spray, and then hitting the head of the screw several times with a hammer (in theory, to break the rust bonds) - but - no go.

Sew at Home Mummy Tip:

If using a lubricating spray in an attempt to loosen old screws, ensure you scrub the lubricated area well with soap and water before painting.

So, I decided to pull out the big guns. Between the rust and the old paint, I basically needed to drill the old screw out. Off to Amazon I went, and I ordered this little magic tool:
Worked like a hot damn! Bam! Screws out!

2. Prep your post for paint.
How to quickly and easily update your yard lamp post - by yourself! Easy solar conversion tutorial, step by step, including links to supplies and lighting ideas!
Yikes! This poor, beat up lamp post is in some dire need of paint!

I started with this 80 grit sandpaper, and then finished up with a 100 grit. Basically, I was just trying to remove all of the chipping paint, and trying to even out any obvious gouges or scratches in the old paint.

Also, by sanding, you give the paint a better surface to adhere to.

Remember to use the appropriate caution if you suspect that lead paint may be present.

Sew at Home Mummy Tip:
Given the age of the post (stamped with 1960) I assumed that lead paint was present. wore this maskthis eye protection and a pair of gloves to sand, ensured the kids were not around, and made sure to clean up well once I was finished. 
**DIY at your own risk in the presence of lead paint.**

a) I live in Chicago. AKA - The Windy City. Not easy to spray paint a post you can't move out of the wind! 

I ended up using a large piece of cardboard, held in my non-spraying hand, in front of the wind as a 'wind-blocker' while I sprayed. It worked pretty well!

b) My light has a hammered steel two-toned look. So, I used two colors of spray paint to try and color match the post to the new light. I first applied a heavy coat of the black hammered, and then a light spraying/speckling of this silver hammered color - and added layers in spots to give it that spotty, weathered look. Play with it and have fun.

In the end, they are not a perfect match, but pretty close!

4. Attach your new light!

You may or may not need a screw driver for this step, depending on how your new light's collar attaches to the post, but it's as easy as screwing it in place.

Voila! You're done:
A really easy way to add some curb appeal - How to quickly and easily update your yard lamp post - by yourself! Easy solar conversion tutorial, step by step, including links to supplies and lighting ideas!

As I said above, I'm currently working on the tutorial for the address plaque/sign or house number sign hanging from the post in this picture - I'll be sure to add a link to here to that post when it goes live.

In the meantime - happy DIY'ing!

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  1. Look at you! Love watching your DIY's over the past couple of years. This is the coolest! I did love the window lock clean up! See you on IG!
    Denise @simplycharmingeveryday

  2. Loved this article. Knew I would find something as I've got an older home with a dilapidated gas light. This is just perfect!
    Thanks. Hope you're still blogging!


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