May 24, 2010

Summer Fun – Building a Lighthouse

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Everyone loves a lighthouse, yes?

Years ago, Katie took an interest in lighthouses, so we studied them as a unit, learning about their purpose, places, and styles.  Of course, we had to make an art project out of it. I saw one made out of terra cotta pots turned upside down and painted, similar to the above photo, for sale at a garden center.  “Katie can do that,” I thought, so off we went to buy the parts.

The original one we made years ago, had a small lantern on top that held a tea light.  It was just lovely when it was lit, and fit just perfectly.  Well, I have not been able to find  tea light lanterns since (the thought did not occur to me to look online for them), s0 we we used a small solar light stake to place in the top hole .  The total cost to make will be under $25, even if you have to buy paint (it doesn’t take a lot of paint) and brushes.  I have a vague recollection, as all my recollections are these days, that I paid $20 (at Wal Mart) for the pots and solar light combined. I am keeping spares of solar lights around also.

Research the internet for the type of lighthouse that strikes your fancy.

You need: 

  • one 14-inch  terra cotta clay pot
  • one 10-inch terra cotta clay pot
  • one  8-inch terra cotta clay pot  (My observation is that the hole in the pots smaller than the 8-inch one is not big enough to fit the stake of the  solar light)
  • Acrylic craft paint in colors you wish to paint your lighthouse (unless you are making the terra cotta colored light house)
  • Smaller sized solar light  (I bought the $3 ones from Wal Mart, as the stake fits in the hole in the 8-inch pot. The stake on the larger lights is too big to fit).
  • Finishing spray, if desired.

At the store, choose your clay pots, making sure they will stack and fit together nicely, without a lot of loose jiggling. There should be a label on the pot saying what size it is.  We’re not talking height, but width at the mouth. 

There is a difference in some pots. We’re not looking for the one labeled “Azalea pot,” as they are wider at the mouth.  

Make sure the stake on your solar light will fit in the hole of the top pot (the stake will also need to slide through the hole of the 10-inch pot).

Take a look at the photo at the head of this post to get an idea of how the pots are stacked in the end.

Lay out newspapers to protect your workspace.  Depending on the design you have chosen, each pot can be painted separately, not needing to paint the entire surface of the lower two pots as at least a third of the pot will be covered by the upper section,   If you have chosen the red and white spiral design, you need to stack your pots first and then paint them as you go. 

  Katie painted her black rims first on each pot, then painted the white sections.  After they dried, she stacked them and put the solar light through the holes.  You may have to jiggle around to fit the stake through the hole in middle section, but you’ll find it.  Then step back and admire your great work.

Have fun!  Do you have any fun Lighthouse projects to share?

5 comments - Add a comment below -:

{leah} said...

What a great idea!! We are in Florida and are planning on taking a trip to see some of the many light houses that are along the coast. This will be a fun activity to end with when we get home.

thanks again!!

Anonymous said...

If you look here you will find that this is an untrue tale
http://www.snopes.com/military/lighthouse.asp

Dana ♥ said...

True or not, it's an amusing story.

teresa said...

Well, "Anonymous," sorry to offend you with the "untrue tale". Maybe it is possible that Snopes.com knows all that is really true or not and I definatly do not. *;-.)
The first place I saw it was in a Readers' Digest magazine many years ago and thought it was hilarious. I never forgot it. I copied and pasted it onto this post from...somewhere......
The focus of the post was about the art project, anyway. Nice art project, I say. *;-.)

teresa said...

Leah-Have fun, on your trip, and enjoy building your lighthouse.
Thank you for stopping by, "Anonymous." Hope your art project turns out great, too. *;-.)