It’s Dollar Store Week!
The Pot

The time has come for the final Dollar store post. *sniff*  It’s one of those occasions that’s both sad and happy.  Like watching a child go off to school for the first time, or  eating a whole strawberry-rhubarb pie in one sitting.

Mostly though, this is an exciting moment.  The final Dollar store post is perhaps the most dramatic transformation ever to be recorded in history. Ever. If you don’t count some of the better drag queens.

So here we go …. deep breath … the final Dollar Store post.

Clay pot



Ta da!  An outdoor lantern.  I’m almost positive the other shoppers in Dollarama heard something in my head *pop* when I came up with this. I was actually looking at Dollarama’s Chinese paper lanterns thinking how I liked them, but how they’d get wrecked if they were left outside in the rain for one night. Not a good thing for someone who might not be exactly, completely on top of things like bringing stuff in from the rain. Ever. Also a poor trait for someone who has a sunroof in their car. Just sayin’.

To prove that you could do this with ONLY things bought at a Dollar store I bought everything at Dollarama.   You can improvise with stuff you already have at home, like chain or metal rods or whatever else you have in your basement or junk drawer.  The Led lights I bought are meant for outdoors and are thusly waterproof, so pay attention to that if you go shopping around to do this.

So here we go … it’s simple enough to do but here are the instructions just in case you need ’em:

Remove the chain from your really ugly cat plaque. It is now your choice as to whether you would like to display your really ugly cat plaque or throw it in the garbage.

Slip a thin metal rod through chain ends. I used a hex key I bought at Dollarama. Wind elastic band around ends to keep chain from slipping off. Hook LED light into middle.

Put light and rod inside pot. Pull chain through drain hole in pot. The rod acts as a brace to keep everything in place. this way you can also easily remove the light for when you need to change the batteries.


this is what it will look like inside the upside down pot.

This is what it will look like outside at night. I put mine on the fence outside my dining room window so I can see them when I’m inside at night.


And guess what?!! You can do this with just about anything! I used plastic pots, clay pots and woven baskets. With a little screwing around with your materials and technique whatever you want or find should work. For example:




This one is done a little differently:

Remove the chain from your still ugly cat plaque.

Turn your basket upside down, slip chain through weave and tie ends of chain together with fishing line.

cut a long thread of fishing line and loop through hooks on back of light

run fishing line that’s looped around light through weave in bottom of basket so it comes out other side.

grab ahold of your fishing line that you’ve run through what is now the top of your basket (shade).

pull the fishing line so it lifts the led light right up to the top of the basket. tie the fishing line into a tight knot, then cut the ends off.

see? the light is nice and snug against the top of the shade. i’m kindda shocked i just used the word “snug”. that’s an old person word.

Hang your fancy new basket lamp on the bracket.


or even better! hang 2 fancy basket lamps on brackets!


Ready for a party! that i’ll never have. which is o.k. this way i don’t have to clean up before or after the party. yet i still get to enjoy the lamps. And cheesies if I want. win, win really.


Total cost for each of these outdoor lanterns? About $5. I ate more money in snacks while making them. Curse you Smartfood.

This concludes my very first Dollar store series. If my brain doesn’t explode I’ll have another series for you in a while. If my brain doesn’t explode. Probably eating more Smartfood would help with preventing that.


  1. Barb says:

    Wow! Happened upon this site from TipJunkie. You are amazing. I unfortunately did not find any of the stuff to make these in my dollar store. Love the idea and I am now on a mission to find the stuff to make these.
    Thanks again!

    • Karen says:

      Barb – Thanks! The Dollar Store I use in Canada is Dollarama. You could probably find similar stuff at Walmart! ~ karen

  2. Colette says:

    What a clever idea and great tip!
    Can’t wait to try it!

  3. This is awesome & soooooo clever!!!! I love the pot but the baskets with the light showing through looks fabulous! Great job :) Visiting from tipjunkie

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Jessica! Yup. Tipjunkie’s been good to me. :) She’s featured several of my projects. Glad you dropped by AND left a comment! ~ karen

  4. Elisa says:

    i love Dollar Store! and this is a great idea! im going to try to do my own lamp, hope that it look as good as yours :S

  5. Cortney says:

    This is such a great idea! I have so many left over pots and such from years of gardening misadventures, now I know what to do with them!

  6. becky says:

    this is another fabulous idea. put the led light in a pretty bowl – then light it up and put glass half colored marbles in it. Pretty ~

  7. becky says:

    you are genius! love them :)

  8. Julie says:

    yay for dollarama creativity!

    Do you know how long those LED lights last for?

    • Karen says:

      Julie – Thanks! The lights tend to last forever, but the batteries will die out. If you buy them at a hardware store as opposed to Dollarama, you can get ones that hold larger volt batteries than AA’s. The bigger the battery, the longer they’ll last. ~ karen!

  9. Kevin says:

    Karen, I happened unto your bog by sheer luck! This was a excellent design! Often times, when I walk into a Dollar store and persuse the isles, I come with these types of design ideas! I sincerely hope that you continue with the Dollar store series! It is such a novel idea overall!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Kevin! Yes, I’ll get back to the Dollarama stuff once I have time. (once the chicken coop is built) ~ karen!

  10. Reed says:

    just wanted to say… your idea for this was so amazing and wonderful, that me and my co worker couldn’t wait to try it out… so we went to the dollar tree, picked up the stuff and made one today!!! we are in love with your stuff!!!

    • Karen says:

      Reed – I’m happy to oblige! I’m awfully busy now with building the chicken coop but once that’s done and over with I plan to do another Dollar Store series. :) LOVE dollar stores. ~ karen

  11. Brandi says:

    Ummm… LOVE THESE! As a matter of fact, I think I love all of your posts. I just found you today and have been laughing the whole time while reading your posts.

    I totally have a blog crush.

    Keep em’ coming!

  12. Ixbi says:

    I… I think I’m in love.
    I’ve just moved away from home for college, and your ideas have given my so much inspiration for decorating my new place!
    You’re incredibly brilliant and innovative! <3

    • Karen says:

      Well, well! Thank you very much Ixbi. Stay tuned … plenty of more inexpensive, quick ideas to come. I think. I hope. Oh God … what if I run out of ideas like my mother says is likely to happen? I have to go to bed now.

  13. ann says:

    wow- are those the battery-operated lights? They look so much brighter in the pic! Maybe its the effect of the shade? Gosh I gotta do this…I added a link to your great blog in my latest post!Love this blog! (found you on design*sponge)

    • Karen says:

      They’re battery operated LED lights from a Dollar Store. I know, eh?! Super-bright. Thanks for the link by the way! Yay!

  14. mick says:

    Absolutely awesome idea!!! Off I go to Dollarama.
    Karen, you are amazing!!!

  15. Alissa says:

    Glamming up cheap battery-operated lights. Brilliant! Why haven’t I thought of that? Always on the lookout for renter-friendly ideas, and this is definitely one.

  16. Tickled Red says:

    Okay you officially Rock!!!

  17. Shauna Wobeser says:

    That’s so cool!! I am going to make those! Just don’t know where I will put them yet!

  18. Mike says:

    So much for Pottery Barn. You’re going to put them out of business.

  19. Jan says:

    Absolutely stunning! So very cool…and I love the way you don’t need electricity. Though I must say my cats were a little insulted about calling the plaque ugly–they’re quite sure those are the paw prints of their great uncle from Tallahassee!

  20. earthpuppy says:


  21. michelle says:

    You’re a genius. Do you take orders? We would like to place an order for the cottage. I think six of those baskets would look really nice. I’ll send my chauffeur to pick them up.

  22. Tricia Rose says:

    You have surpassed yourself Karen! And saved the world from several ugly cat plaques. Maybe you could turn them into something else too – pot stands? Plump Halloween ghosts?

  23. Liz says:

    Ugh, you’re so smart. It’s not fair.

    • Karen says:

      Liz – Well that depends on who you ask. If you ask all of my highschool math teachers I’m sure they’d disagree. And rightly so.

  24. says:

    AH-MAZ-ING! I love it. Our dollar shops in Australia are prohibitively expensive compared to thier American & Canadian counterparts. I was in one today & saw a cute candlestick & it was $38….thats not a dollar!!! I love the way the light looks with the second basket lanterns it is attractive :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *