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. 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 🙂

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. earthpuppy says:


  5. 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?

  6. 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!

  7. Mike says:

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

  8. Shauna Wobeser says:

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

  9. Okay you officially Rock!!!

  10. 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.

  11. mick says:

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

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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

  16. 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!

  17. 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!

  18. becky says:

    you are genius! love them 🙂

  19. 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 ~

  20. 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!

  21. 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

  22. 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

  23. Colette says:

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

  24. 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

  25. Inga says:

    Hi Karen – I went out to Dollarama last night on a mission. It may have been just the location I went to or because it’s seasonal, but I couldn’t find the items except for the ugly cat plaques, of which I now possess five 🙂 Maybe this is something that needs to wait until spring? The LED lights with the hooks are key!

    • Karen says:

      Inga – The LED lights are in the aisle with the lightbulbs. In case you didn’t look there. And they always have regular clay pots, but the fancier ridged ones I found may be seasonal. I saw them there this summer, but it makes sense for them to pare down their pot selection for the winter. 🙁 Super-fantastic you got a bunch of ugly cat plaques though, LOL. Oh dear. I’ll try to get to Dollarama next week to come up with a winter Dollarama craft. ~ karen!

  26. Inga says:

    Yeah, checked there at two locations (another one today near work). The one today had the lights but not the kind with a hook on the back. Ah well, getting closer. Thanks though! Looking forward to getting rid of my fire hazard backyard lights in the spring and replacing them with these bad boys.

    • Karen says:

      Inga – If there’s a plug handy, you could also fill them with outdoor Christmas twinkle lights. Then you would plug them into a timer and they’d come on and off whenever you like. ~ karen

  27. Pinky says:

    I found you on Pinterest! Someone esle has a category of BLOGS and yours sounded great. This is genius and I plan to make these! Thanks. I will be your newest follower. XO, Pinky

    • Karen says:

      Hey Pinky! Thanks! I’m glad you found the site. Welcome aboard. I think you’ll find my commenters are as entertaining as the site. ~ karen!

  28. Linda says:

    This is a fantastic idea. I’m wondering if you could rig the solar powered landscaping lights to go inside. then there would be no need to turn them on & off. they would go on all by themselves at dusk! Any suggestions, let me know 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hey Linda! That’s a good idea! I’ll look into it. It would take some finagling. The only problem I have, is those solar lights aren’t usually very bright. They’re not quite living up to their potential yet! ~ karen

  29. Michelle Witt says:

    This is an amazing idea! Thank you for sharing!!

  30. Lex says:

    Please tell me this isn’t your last ever dollar store post! You’re such an inspiration when it comes to turning cheap crap into something pretty and cheap!! MORE PLEASE!

    • Karen says:

      Lex – Lord no. I’ve done a bunch of Dollar Store posts since then. The pot was just the last in a week long series of Dollar Store posts. If you click on “I heart Dollar Stores” on the right sidebar of my page, you’ll see alllll the dollar store posts. The 2 most recent I can think of are a pillow and windowsill decoration. ~ karen!

  31. Mimi says:

    Are you a mind reader too? Last night the H and I sat on the patio trying to figure out how to light it up and all we came up with were Christmas lights. This morning I log on to Pinterest and there are your amazing lights!! I’ve already made myself presentable, driven an hour round trip to my dollar store, and am going to have two of these made before the H gets home from golf! He’s going to love you!

  32. Alicia says:

    In a very NOT Stalker way, I would love to go to the Dollar store with you! Great job!!!

  33. Mimi says:

    Those orbs are yours!!??? I have had those pinned on my outdoor board forever! You are quickly becoming my bff!

  34. DeNacho says:

    very smart indeed!

  35. Debbie says:

    Very clever!

  36. Anne says:

    Hi there – awesome idea. Did you use wireless LED lights? I imagine you did since I do not see cords but there was no mention of electricity. Thanks!

  37. very creative, wish I had a Dollarama 🙂

  38. Christine Mason says:

    You are an inspiration!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Christine! But I’m not the inspiration … Dollarama is. O.K. …. I’m pretty inspiring too. LOL! Welcome to my site. ~ karen

  39. teri says:

    I love the lamps!!! I need to know where you found the lights to go in them. If you don’t mine. I want to make some. Tks

    • Karen says:

      Teri – Everything came from my local dollar store. If yours doesn’t have them hardware stores carry the same sort of thing. ~ karen!

  40. Elaine says:

    Karen, you crack me up. I love the comment about the party that you will never have. My thoughts exactly! I am going to make one of these because I can and because you made it look so easy.

  41. jeanine says:

    I LOVE these BUT I have a question–how do they “light up” did I miss that??
    plug in??

  42. Nicole says:

    I made these today! With a few minor tweaks! I would love to share the photo with you if I only knew how!

  43. Nicole says:

    Thanks for sharing. This wonderful idea btw!

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  47. Fun idea and an entertaining article. These would be a fun idea for an outdoor evening wedding or an outdoor evening reception. Thank you for sharing.

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  50. JUDY says:

    You have inspired me to fix up my birdbath bowl which is sitting on top of an old broken mismatched terra cotta pot. I also love the light you made — excellent job. Now, do you have any ideas on eliminating mosquitos?

  51. Tracey says:

    How absolutely lovely! Going to try the basket weave fellas. And to think all of this wonderful stuff at the Dollar Store? My husband will be so impressed. Especially since he feels I have kept this amazing store a secret from him all these years. Thank you! Thank you!

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  54. Donna McDaniel says:

    I might try this with an old metal colander! I think it would be cool! Thank you for the ideas. You Rock!

  55. Tanya says:

    WOW Awesome and Grate Ideas. Thanks For Sharing

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  58. Tiffany says:

    Hi Karen! You ideas are absolutely awesome! Ive been wanting to work on our small back porch, so I decided to make our seating out of pallets, but was hoping that I didnt have to pay highly for lighting. Well, happen to scan Pinterest and here you are…the angel of inexpensive decor! Here’s a few questions for you? What if dollar general, dollar tree, ect., doesnt have the “ugly cat” chain, is it possible that I could use some other kind of chain? Also, does it matter what LED light I could use? Thanks in advance for your response!

    • Karen says:

      Well thanks Tiffany! I happen to be working on another outdoor lighting idea! This was slightly more expensive than $3, lol but also way more impact. You can use any chain you think will hold up your pot or basket. You could even use thin rope. With LED lighting it’s all really bright so as long as it fits in your pot it’ll be fine. Most use double A batteries but if you can find one that holds larger batteries, C cell for instance you’ll have far more time in between having to replace the batteries. (I’m not even sure LED powered by C cell batteries exist though) Good luck! ~ karen

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  60. Donna says:

    hi Karen, lovely lights, “bright” idea! 🙂
    One problem, thanks to you and your groupies Dollarama will now see a surge in purchases of that dang ugly cat plaque as indication it is loved and admired and order thousands more! Totally Your Fault.

    You can instead buy lightweight chain by the foot at Home Depot or other Big Box Stores and it’d be galvanized to avoid rust. Love reading your posts, Donna

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  63. Rita says:

    Hi, loved the lamps, but I have a question. In the picture, you have a pot and then =sign, what is the package in the left lower corner?

    Thank you!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rita – That’s a package of mini screwdriver type things. I used one of them to attach the chains and light to. It runs across the inside of the pot forming a sort of brace. You can see a picture of it a little further down in the post. ~ karen!

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  67. mary volk says:

    love it!! Wish I had that flair!

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  74. Brandon says:

    Have you thought about using solar lights and attaching the solar panel portion of it to the tops of the pots. this would save you tons on batteries and solar lights are almost always weatherproof. They may not be $1, but wal-mart has some decent ones for $1.97.

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  81. i loved all light sources

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  83. Lorinda Wente says:

    “snug” happens 🙂

  84. Michelle R. says:

    Love love love this idea.. However, I have gone to 3 Dollar Stores, a $.99 Only store and Big Lots and cannot find any of the items you list. Am pretty bummed…..

    • Karen says:

      I got everything at Dollarama Michelle. I’m in Canada, and from what I’ve heard we have better Dollar store items than the states. I think Dollar General would maybe be the closest equivalent for you. Also, I did this particular post years ago so they may not even have the same things at my own Dollarama anymore. ~ karen

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  87. azka says:

    This is very true, some people have overlooked .your darting nice article and understandable everyone. Nice post,Thank

  88. Mandy says:

    These are pure genius!
    I LOVE them!
    Small child guess what we’re making this weekend!

  89. How can I subscribe to your site to receive e-mails?

    • Karen says:

      You figured it out. 🙂 I just went to subscribe you but it says you are already subscribed. See you on Wednesday! (my next blog post) ~ karen!

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