Repurposed Gatorade Bottles into Solar Light Luminaries

Repurposed Gatorade Bottles into Solar Light Luminaries

This is an easy DIY project using repurposed Gatorade bottles and turning them into pretty solar light luminaries.

repurposed Gatorade bottles into easy DIY solar light lanterns

I enjoy having fun and colorful surprises in my gardens, and I also love repurposing and upcycling things. Especially things that I can pull right out of my own recycle bin.

gatorade bottles, glass gems and solar lights

Like these Gatorade bottles that I’m using to create some fun and easy solar light luminaries. The solar light and the blue and clear glass gems are from my local dollar store.

glass gems and marine goop adhesive

You’ll also need some Marine Goop adhesive or E6000 glue, and painter’s tape.

Supplies needed for this project

  • solar lights
  • glass gems
  • Gatorade plastic bottles
  • Marine Goop or E6000 glue
  • painter’s tape
  • xacto knife

Cutting repurposed Gatorade bottles

cutting top and bottom off plastic bottle with knife

Step One: Cut off the bottom and top of the bottle. Gatorade bottles come with built-in indentations that can be used as a guide for a utility knife. I inserted the knife and turned the bottle while keeping the knife in place.

The goal is to make as flat a surface on the top and bottom as possible. But if you make a mistake, you can just toss the bottle back into the recycle bin and try again with a new bottle.

two plastic bottle halves

After cutting both bottles you’ll have two mid-sections.

attaching two plastic bottom sections together

STEP TWO: My solar lights are rather tall so I combined two bottles into one by inserting one into the other. With a little manipulation this is easily done.

The bottles have a lovely shape and this gives you seven equal sections that are perfect for gluing on decorative elements, like the glass gems I’m using.

dry fitting solar light on top of plastic bottle

STEP THREE: Do a dry fit of your solar light to make sure it fits before you start gluing.

Adding glass gems to repurposed Gatorade bottles

gluing glass gems onto plastic bottle sections and taping in palce

STEP FOUR: Start gluing on the glass gems, using the sections of the bottle as your guide. The glass gems need to be held in place while the glue cures. Painter’s tape is perfect for this because it’s tacky enough to hold them and it pulls off easily. I decided to go with alternating rows of blue and clear.

adding gems onto half of plastic bottle and letting glue cure with painter's tape holding the glass gems in place

STEP FIVE: After you’ve completed one half of the bottle, let it cure for 24 hours. The tape can usually be removed after about an hour, but I left it in place the whole time.

plastic bottles with glass gems on one side

Here’s what it looks like with half of it done. Doing this first half is easy because you don’t have to worry about the size of the gems, but do try to mix them up to make adding the rest of the gems a little bit easier.

When you’re filling in the second half of the bottle, you do need to make the gems fit. After doing one row I found that I could fit 14 gems of various sizes around the bottle, and that made doing the rest of the sections much easier.

Repurposed Gatorade bottle decorated with glass gems

plastic bottle luminary with glass gems

After letting the second half of the gems cure with painter’s tape in place, here’s what it looks like all finished. The Marine Goop dries clear so you don’t really notice it. And if you can see the glue through the gems up close, you certainly won’t be able to from a distance when your luminary is outside.

three DIY solar light luminaries made from repurposed gatorade bottles and decorated with glass gems

I decided to make two more because I love doing things in threes. I tried something different with the middle one by alternating the blue and clear glass gems.

repurposed Gatorade bottles into DIY solar light lanterns

Here they are in the garden with the solar lights in place. The reason I cut out the bottoms was so I could insert the solar lights into the ground to give the whole thing more stability.

repurposed Gatorade bottles into easy DIY solar light luminaries (2)

My camera doesn’t take the best night pics, but this gives you an idea of what they look like. I have to say that they look so much better in person, and do give off quite a bit of light.

repurposed Gatorade bottles into solar light luminaries

I think they look great in the daytime as well.

Glass gems are so much fun to work with. I also used them to create these DIY silver tray garden flowers, and these repurposed garden trowel flowers. They really do add a lot of sparkle to projects, and who doesn’t need a little sparkle in the garden.

It would be greatly appreciated if you would pin this project to your favorite Pinterest board, and also share it with your friends.

Easy DIY Gatorade bottle solar light luminaries

Thanks so much for reading and until next time,

keep on keepin’ on!


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  1. Oh Tuula!!! You just solved my Christmas gift ideas for 3 people!!!!! Would you tell me how many ounces those bottles are? They look like the smaller size, but you can’t always tell in a picture. I was playing Christmas music the other day, but NOW I’m really looking forward to it!!! Thanks so very much for you and your ideas!

    1. Thanks Dona! These would make fun Christmas gifts. The Gatorade bottles I used are 591 ml (we’re on the metric system here in Canada), which translates to about 19.7 fluid ounces. The size of the bottle you need depends on the size of the solar lights you use. 🙂

  2. Penny Corum says:

    I loved what you did with the lights. I’m definitely going to make a couple but I’m really excited bout making more.

    1. Thanks Penny! This was such a fun project that I’m planning to make more too. 🙂

  3. These are really cute Tuula! I have some amber color gems in my stash that would be perfect to make some of these for fall.

  4. MaryEllen says:

    These are absolutely beautiful!

  5. Amy Davis says:

    OH I love this. Maybe I will make some for Halloween and Christmas by using orange and white for Halloween and red, green and blue for Christmas. Thank you for this. I could always look for ways to add free lighting to the yard at night and yours is pretty during the day too! I understand completely about pictures being taken and shared. It’s the same way with me when I take pictures. In person is so much better But a picture does give us all a way to see it, an idea of it! Thank you. Oh, and our summer has just flew by just like the days. It’s crazy to think Fall is close by. Our weeks fly by!

    1. Thanks Amy! Great ideas for Halloween and Christmas. I might try some Halloween ones myself, but since we have snowy winters I won’t be making any Christmas ones. I’d love to see the red, green and blue combo. It would be so pretty!