DIY Garden Totem From Repurposed Lamps

13 June
How does your outdoor space look?

Is your yard a peaceful, beautiful place where you love to be?

I love to be outside in my yard, specifically my backyard. 

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I've spent a lot of time making it look nice with interesting landscaping, nice lounging and eating areas, a bubbling fountain, a privacy fence, and an appealing shed. You can see all my ideas on the blog in the Outdoor Decor category.

In this post, I'm sharing a DIY garden totem created with repurposed lamp globes! Read on to learn how to create one for yourself!

Upcycled Lamp DIY Garden Totem

DIY Garden Totem From Repurposed Lamps

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I must give credit where credit is due, I originally saw this project on Somewhat Quirky, however upon last check it appears as though her website has been taken down 😔

Supply List:
  • Old lamps with glass globes with holes in both ends (the number you need will depend on how tall you want your totem)
  • Rebar (should be tall enough that you can sink it into the ground at least a foot)
  • Concrete
  • Optional - spray paint for the metal/plastic lamp parts - I used one of the Hammered Metal spray paints
  • Tin snips or drill bits for drilling into metal for enlarging holes in the metal lamp bases if needed

I have been diligently working on clearing out some of the stuff I've collected for projects like this one so the great thing about this project is it checks 3 items off that list... three vintage lamps I had been saving for this very project!

Never mind the fact that I had to go thrift shopping for three more lamps 😏 I think it's ok since they never even made it into the garage hoard!

Here are all my lamps for this project, six lamps total (one is not showing in this picture).

DIY Garden Totem From Repurposed Lamps

Once you have gathered the lamps you want, follow these instructions to make your own DIY garden totem:

Step One - Dismantel the lamps.

First, take the lamps apart and remove the electrical parts to get to the globes.

In most instances the lamps will have a nut on the bottom and once you unscrew that the whole lamp can be taken apart!

DIY Garden Totem From Repurposed Lamps

I cut the wires on mine to make it a little easier.

DIY Garden Totem From Repurposed Lamps

Step Two - Wash and dry the lamp parts.

Once all the globes are removed from the lamps, wash and dry them so they sparkle in the sunshine!

DIY Garden Totem From Repurposed Lamps

Wash and dry the metal and plastic parts too. We will use these for spacers between the globes.

DIY Garden Totem From Repurposed Lamps

At this point, I discovered that two of my globes were not "true" colored glass, instead, the color was "painted" on with some sort of colored film instead.

It's hard to tell when you buy your lamps but in this picture of one of my globes, you can see the areas where the coating has flaked off.

DIY Garden Totem From Repurposed Lamps

I'm not too worried about it because if it all comes off I'll still have a pretty plain glass globe and maybe I can try painting them at that point.

Step Three - Spray paint the spacer pieces (optional).

Once all the lamps are disassembled, decide which metal lamp parts you want to use as spacers between the globes on your totem.

You can spray paint them all one color if you'd like. I used one of the Hammered Metal spray paints for mine.

Step Four - Put the rebar into the ground.

Dig a hole large enough to be able to add concrete, sink the rebar, and add the concrete. Let it cure for at least 24 hours. 

I'm not gonna lie, this was the most difficult part of the whole project! I had to call in some brute force with a neighbor's sledgehammer to get this thing far enough into the ground!

The totem I am creating is 6 feet tall so I used a 10-foot piece of 3/8-inch rebar. I sunk it into the ground 4 feet, leaving 6 feet for my totem. I don't think you have to sink it that far, especially if you use concrete in the hole but I live in a very windy area so I went the extra mile!

DIY Garden Totem From Repurposed Lamps

The twine you see in the picture above is what I used to stabilize the rebar while the concrete cured. I tied it to a couple of sturdy anchors while it cured.

Once that cures overnight, you can begin creating your totem!

Step Five - Create the totem.

Begin by threading one of the lamp bases onto the rebar.

DIY Garden Totem From Repurposed Lamps

The lamp bases should slide over the 3/8-inch rebar but if they won't you can use a drill bit made for metal or tin snips to enlarge the holes.

Add a glass globe and then a spacer.

DIY Garden Totem From Repurposed Lamps

DIY Garden Totem From Repurposed Lamps

DIY Garden Totem From Repurposed Lamps

Continue until you use your last upcycled lamp and the last spacer.

DIY Garden Totem From Repurposed Lamps

When it comes to the placement of your totem, I think it looks better to have a piece of garden art like this tucked in behind other plants and shrubs.

DIY Garden Totem From Repurposed Lamps

DIY Garden Totem From Repurposed Lamps

DIY Garden Totem From Repurposed Lamps

DIY Garden Totem From Repurposed Lamps

I think having it tucked back a little will shelter it from the wind... I don't think this is going since the rebar is halfway through the earth and surrounded with concrete 😂 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1: Did you glue the pieces together?
A1: No, I just threaded all the parts onto the rebar. I did not glue it so that I could easily take it apart to store it during winter months or if I moved.

Q2: What if I live in an area with hale storms?
A2: If you live where there is hail, try to place it in a sheltered area like under a large tree or somewhere where it will be covered (under a patio roof, large tree, etc.) OR you can take it down when you are expecting a storm.

Q3: Did you use anything to make them watertight to keep out moisture?
A3: No, there was enough airflow to keep moisture buildup out.

Q4: Why would you ruin a perfectly good vintage lamp for this project?
A4: This is by far the most common question (usually left in the form of a nasty, ugly comment). Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but why do people feel the need to be so hateful... will leaving such a comment make this project not happen?? NO, it's already done! lol. Not everyone will like this project and that's ok by me.

**UPDATE: This was up for five years before I took it down when I moved. It was outside the entire time, through wind storms, heavy snow, and rain and still looked like the day I created it**

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, I'd love it if you'd share it!

DIY Garden Totem From Repurposed Lamps
Posted by: at 13 June Tag:

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