September 9, 2011

Red Fish, Blue Fish, Old Lights, New Lights!!

My outdoor porch lights have been in need of replacement for a looooooong time and I needed a new idea for Crafting with the Stars over at

More than half are missing....

and the ones still hangin' on, look like this. So lightning struck on my way home from work....
PVC to the rescue!! Just wait, don't send me to the funny farm yet....

Gather your supplies and power tools (yippee day do!):

HEARING PROTECTION! (what do ya' want, I'm an audiologist!)
2ft. of 3"  Cellcore PVC pipe (cuts better than solid but both were used for this project)
2ft. of 2" solid PVC pipe (if you can get cellcore than do it)
power miter saw
drill and drill bits
80 grit sandpaper
vellum paper or paper of your choice (the more transparent the better). I used 4 sheets.
decorative scissors but regular will do fine as well
spray paint or 1" wide ribbon
Super glue or tape if using ribbon
X-acto knife if using ribbon

PVC just bought

Mark both pipes in 1" increments

PUT IN YOUR HEARING PROTECTION or you'll keep thinking the doorbell is ringing and no one is there!

Cut both PVC pipes using the power miter saw. (Please use proper precautions). There will be about 5 inches left that you will not be able to cut due to the proximity of fingers to saw of death!  You'll use this waste piece in a minute.

"Hear" they are cut, sorry couldn't resist =0)
Use your 80 grit sandpaper and smooth the edges a bit. Don't go too crazy on this part, just clean it up.

and THIS is your work room after cutting all of the pipe, kind of like living on the inside of a snow globe....

Annie get your drill! Try a few drill bits to see which one most closely matches the circumference of your outdoor light bulb socket.

Using that end waste piece, drill a hole and then fit it to the socket to make sure it is snug but not crazy tight. My drill bit was an 11/32. 

Here is your BOGT (blog one get two extra ideas for free!): Keep drilling holes of different sizes all over the waste piece and then you have a luminary! And the left over cut rings can be used as napkin rings!

Once you have the right size drillbit, drill a hole in the middle of each cylinder. I have 3 at a time in my clamp. At this point, if you are going to spray paint, then have at it. I used ribbon to cover mine and I think next time I'll use the glam in a can. much easier.

While your spray paint is drying, go to your computer and find a font or picture that you like. I used the Castellar font with a double line circular border. I also used 100 pt. for the 2" PVC and 160 pt. for the 3" PVC.

Use the pipe to make sure that the circle you made is  the same circumference (are we back in geometry class for this project, geez) as the pipe BEFORE you print it out. Remember to check the spacing horizontally and vertically so you will have room to cut them out. You will be cutting them LARGER than your border.
Once you are happy with spacing, print on regular paper just to make sure. Then cut your vellum down to 8.5x11 so it will go through your printer and print out your stuff! You will need two of every picture/font b/c you need one for each side of the PVC pipe.

Turn your vellum over and trace the outline of the PVC. This serves two purposes: shows you how far outside to cut and you will use this as a guide when you are gluing.

I used decorative scissors to cut out my circles

If you are using ribbon, you will want to measure and cut a piece to fit each piece of PVC

Glue with small dot of super glue and hold with clothespin. Put seam on the opposite end of the hole. REMOVE clothespin before if is permanently adhered to your PVC!

Using and X-acto knife, gently cut an X in the ribbon over the drilled hole

Now, break out the ModPodge and paint the glue on the PVC pipe. Using the pencil line as a guide, glue PVC to wrong side of vellum. Much like shampooing, let dry and repeat.

This is the 2" finished with the initial of our last name

This is the 3" finished with the first initial of the first name of each one of my baby limabeans and my stellar feller. Oh and me too.


Now do your happy dance, cuz' ya' know you have one
Plug em' in .....

NOW for the light show..............

Here is all the little U's together (kinda like our family!)

Here I alternated a 2" U with a 3" initial

The fun is this is so versatile, you can change the arrangement whenever you want. And that is good because I think I might have ADD on some level

getting darker......

getting darker.........

This makes me happy.

Cost breakdown: (This is where I go from happy to positively giddy)
3" PVC- $5.44
2" PVC-$3.70
4 sheets of vellum-$0.40 total.   Yes you saw this correctly. They were $0.10/each on clearance but even if I had bought full price, they were only $1.00/each

I had all of the other supplies so grand total to outfit 3 strings of lights?      $9.54

The fun part about this is that I had so many ideas it was hard to decide which idea to do! Endless possibilites. You can use scrapbooking stickers and doo-dads, leaves from nature, any font from your computer. This so cheap that you can have a set for each holiday, spell out words or sayings, monograms. Ooooh and talk about what you could do for weddings and baby showers..... Sorry, I have to run to Lowe's for some more plumbing supplies!


I'm linking this project up to the Sew Dang Cute Crafts Crafting with the Stars competition! Wish me luck. =0)


  1. Ok when I saw the PVC I was like where is she going with this?! Oh my gosh! Cutest idea ever! You're so creative. I love reading your posts :)

  2. This rocked, you should have been nominated for crafting with the stars, (i didn't make the cut, either. ) would you want to "craft from the sidelines??"

  3. I saw this on AGAAGG - very cute!

  4. I just found you via Hometalk... I love love love this project!!! Super creative and cute! I am now following you via Google FC. I hope you will come check out my blog and follow along too :)

    Diana -

  5. Could old rusted out mason jar rims work instead of the pvc pipe?


Lay it on me! i love to hear from you!


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