Try This: Pot Lights

Light your garden with this simple project.
March/April 2005
As charming as farolitos (New Mexican candles inside a paper bag), these are much safer and add a subtle glow of color in addition to light.

The only thing that can compete with a moonlit garden is a candlelit one. These pots of colored light illuminate a garden path or serve as a rustic centerpiece for outdoor dining. Tiny pots get a quick swipe of paint, a bit of sand, and a votive candle.

Tips for creating pot lights:

• For these little terra-cotta pots to give off maximum light, apply a pale-colored paint on the inside surface. Try gloss for maximum reflection, flat for a warmer, subtler glow.

• Use a low-VOC latex exterior grade paint if you plan to leave them outside all the time.

• To get a range of tones, use white paint as your base and add small amounts of different pigments. Alternatively, most paint retailers now sell tiny containers of sample paint in a vast array of colors. Buy a few, then mix them to extend your palette.

• Use a brush, sponge, or cloth to paint the pot interiors, stopping at the top edge.

• When dry, cover the hole with tape or a pebble, add a bit of sand, and a votive candle.