Backyard Patio Retreat: Lighting

Nothing adds magic to a miniature scene like lighting!  I've added two modern outdoor lighting options on my patio, including one that might surprise you...  Any guesses as to what these miniature deck lights are made from?

Drawer Pulls! Turns out these cute hardware pulls from miniatures.com don't just look great on your kitchen cabinets, they also have the perfect shape and style to direct the light down just like the real thing!  The patio now has the perfect glow!



Let's take a look at how we got here!

I used a 1/8 drill bit to create holes for my 3mm LEDs to sit in and light. I made it so that each deck/ stair light would shine on two steps that way it didn't look too crowded.

I also used a larger drill bit to create openings for wires to pass through the different planters at the bottom.

Time for LEDs! I got out my wire strippers, hookup wire (red&black), 3mm LEDs in warm light, and shrink tube in both 1/8" and 1/16".

 I started with 5 LED stands and twisted the red ends together and the blacks separately.
 Threaded through some shrink tubing:
 Attached a longer red wire (so that I could run it under the deck base):
 Covered with the shrink tubing:
 To seal the shrink tube you need to heat it, so I use my small travel hair dryer:
 Before:
 After:
 The final result: 5 LEDs connected to one wire strand which can be connected into a power source. Red goes to positive and black to negative.
 I threaded the wires through the openings on the planters

 And pushed the LEDs into the 1/8 drill holes, using masking tape to secure.



Now for the fancy part!  I took the drawer pulls and painted them an antique bronze to match my other lights. Then I glued them over the holes using tacky glue.

Don't forget to paint the nail holes!  (You could add some mini nails, but I thought it looked fine without).





Moving on to the other light sources, I also used the same 3mm LEDs for the pool. I added two to the side and strung the wires to the back.


Finally the sconces, I used rectangular styrene tubing from the hobby shop.  I cut small lengths and drilled a small 1/8" hole in the back.

I found placing them on a spare stick helped keep them in place while I drilled the hole:


For these I used nano LEDs.  Mostly because that's what I had on hand and I liked that they were a little less bright.

Before adding paint:



For paint, I lined them all up on another stick and sprayed them with Rustoleum Antique Brass.  (You can see how I painted the drawer pulls on a masking tape stick too).
I used the same method as the stair lights.  Combined all the nano LED red wires together and then the black, added a long lead. And strung them to the back.
- - -
Here are some photos of the back of the roombox.

I used a power jack with switches that plugs into my 12v transformer.


To connect to the power source I took all the black wires from the pool lights, the stair lights, and the fence lights and connected them all as one to the black power wire.

As for the red, I kept them separate, connecting each of them to their own power supply wire with a switch.

 Taped up.

Originally I was going to have a light on every fence section but decided it was too much.  What do you think?

Here it is with one on every other.  I think to brighten up any spots in the future I will add some lights in the planters themselves.

And for the wow factor at night:


So ready for accessories and plants!  My landscaping post will be next week and then the big reveal the week after!

If you are looking for more outdoor mini inspiration Kat of kittyandkatminiatures is creating another fabulous patio space!  She's posted a step by step tutorial to finish an outdoor brick fireplace and it looks so realistic.  I can't wait to see her big reveal too!



This series is sponsored by Hobby Builders Supply/ miniatures.com.  Lots of cool modern patio and garden minis from their site are featured throughout!



20 comments

  1. I love it. The bronze was a good way to go. Not so stark against the white of the planters or the brown of the fence. I knew I recognized those drawer pulls! (Used a bunch in the Tiny House kitchen). I love how it looks and I think fewer lights are the way to go. You want a relaxing tranquil evening by the pool, not bright as day.

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    1. Thank you Sheila, I appreciate that! I'm really happy with the paint choice too, the spray can selection was limited but I think I lucked out with this colour. I looked at the glossy black like we talked about and brought one home, but this one won out. As for the drawer pulls, I am so so thrilled. I looked high and low and was about to make them from scratch when I knocked these out of the box. So easy, and I love the way they look. I'm so ready to chill out by a pool for a bit, this part of the build took all my time this week!

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  2. This patio looks spectacular. Also, I really appreciate your detailed explanation of how you ran your electrical. It never occurred to me that you could use just one black wire even though you wanted three switches.

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    1. Thank you! I always get questions about electrical so I really wanted to do my best to show what I was doing. So happy you picked up a tidbit from it too :)

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  3. It's really amazing with the lights, I truly love it. I can't wait your next step, the landscaping.
    Geneviève

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  4. The styrene is genius! Metal would have been a nightmare to drill and work with. And the drawer pulls are so smart! This patio looks amazing.

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    1. Thanks Kat! I do like that the drawer pulls are sturdy and can take a little bump or nudge.

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  5. Has hecho un trabajo magnífico con la iluminación.

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  6. absolutely stunning result! heighth of perfection :-) well done!

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  7. I am just never going to find sufficient words to tell you how much I love this project and all of the amazing and creative elements you've included and used! The lighting is brilliant, the layout is incredible, the pool is so cool and the finishes on the wood and pavers is just so good! Kristine you were made for designing and I hope this miniature hobby leads you into something incredibly fulfilling for you!

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  8. REALLY REALLY SHARP!!!!
    I am bowled over by how Amazing your patio with pool looks, Kristine, along with the creative and well placed lighting which is without a doubt, the proverbial Cherry On Top of a Fabulously Relaxing Retreat! :D

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  9. A warm and relaxing atmosphere with lights. Great work!

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    1. It does warm the scene doesn't it? Thank you Fabiola!

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  10. I love the drawer pulls! I love the whole patio. It's so fabulous!

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  11. If you take a string of fairy lights and some old film canisters, you can drill holes in the bottom of the canisters and arrange them over your fairy lights. This will give the impression of wild animals staring at you. Using red cellophane over the holes will give the impression of their red eyes lurking in the bushes ready to pounce. Chandeliers

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