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. Mandy says:

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

  2. azka says:

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

  3. 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

  4. Lorinda Wente says:

    “snug” happens :-)

  5. Sarah Mazar says:

    i loved all light sources

  6. 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.

  7. mary volk says:

    love it!! Wish I had that flair!

  8. 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!

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. Tanya says:

    WOW Awesome and Grate Ideas. Thanks For Sharing

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

  14. 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?

  15. 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.

  16. Nicole says:

    Thanks for sharing. This wonderful idea btw!

  17. 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!

  18. jeanine says:

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

  19. 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.

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