Sunday, March 15, 2009

Make a "Bucket Light"

I decided after the last camping trip we went on when I got home I would make a bucket light. For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, a bucket light is a light fixture in a white bucket that you hang from a tree and plug into the campgrounds electricity and really it can light up your entire campsite at night.

I purchased everything from Home Depot and Harbor Freight Tools and built this for approximately $ caveat was I used a bucket I had so that was FREE.

I went to Harbor Freight Tools and purchased one of their cheap outdoor extension cords for $7.99. I puchased a cheap plastic light fixture from Home Depot it was like $1.46 or something. I purchased the needed hardware which consisted of 2 bolts with nuts and washers and 2 fender washers for a total of like $2.

Here is the result:

You would plug the light in and hang it using the bucket handle. the fixture is attached to the bottom of the bucket using the hardware. You can see the bolts and fender washers and the cannabalized power cord. I did this so the cord entering the bucket would be on the bottom making the bucket light weather resistant.

To make this thing I cut the female end of the extension cord off and stripped the white and black wire to copper.

I took the light fixture and held it on the bottom on the bucket and marked the holes I needed to drill I then used a drill bit around the same size as the bolts and made three holes, 2 for the bolts one to feed in the cord.

I then fed the cord in the bucket and connected the white and black wires as required to the light fixture.

I then used the hardware to bolt the fixture to the bottom of the bucket.

Put the lid on the bucket and you are done!

Here are some pics of the different parts of the bucket light to show you what I am talking about:

And finally here is the bucket light in "all of it's glory"!!!

This is a cheap and easy project that will make camping more fun for you and your family. In total I spent almost nothing and it took a grand total of 1 hour to complete. I highly recommend this as a nice little project you can do with your kids.

...that is all.

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  1. I checked at the bakery, and they will give me their 5 gal bucket they throw out. just a money saving tip.

  2. Anyone who needs a camping bucket light should visit:

  3. This is not only the best designed bucket light I've seen, it is also the best illustrated web site I've found for how to build a bucket light. The other designs make all the same mistakes I made with my first light.

  4. What size bulb do you use?

    1. the best bulb to use would be a CFL with a medium base.

  5. We made one of these bucket lights but it is such a bug collector we didn't find it useful. How do you keep the bugs away so it is useful???

    1. That's the whole point. You want the bugs 25-50 feet away to keep them away from your camp site. Also experiment with a bug light to draw more bugs away from the camp site. Happy trails.

  6. I would suggest using silicone caulk/sealer around the holes to make it totally waterproof. Just a thought.

  7. We used a bug light in it and it worked perfectly. Only thing I did different on mine was I wired through the lid, that way if I needed the bucket in a pinch the bucket was still good to go !