Easy DIY Light Strings for Summer Entertaining

Making DIY light strings is so easy and so much fun. You can create a whole new atmosphere for outdoor living, and change it at whim.

The following instructions are easy to follow. You don’t need exotic materials or tools or any particular skills. Just one safety warning: These are temporary lights, meant to be used for just a couple of hours at a time. Some of the materials will burn so don’t leave the lights unattended. I use low-heat lights whenever I can.

Vellum Globe Lights

Vellum Globe Lights at Night

This is one of the simplest DIY light strings to make – perfect for that last-minute garden party!

Start with a string of globe lights. Then, cut one-inch strips of vellum, placing two strips under a light make an X. Bring the strips around to the top of the light, and tape or staple them together. Take another two strips and repeat. After you have the four strips around the light attach the base of the globe light to the vellum globe with hot glue. Repeat this easy process with each of the lights.

Vellum Globe Lights Tutorial

Paper Lanterns

Paper Bag Lanterns

Check out this new twist on a class DIY light string. These paper lanterns use gusseted flat-bottom paper bags.

The first step is to make a slit through both sides of a bag two inches from the top with a utility knife. Now, open the bag and cut an X in the middle of the bottom. Pull a two-foot length of 1 ½-inch-wide single-face satin ribbon. The colour is up to you; best make it bright and cheery.

You are now ready to push a bulb through the X so the socket is completely inside the bag. Seal in the wire and socket using tape. Do this with all the bulbs.

DIY Paper Lanterns

Pineapple Lanterns

Pineapple Light String

We haven’t figured out how to make DIY string lights from real pineapples – not yet, anyway – but you can make lights that look like more or less like pineapples from yellow plastic Easter eggs.

First you have to paint the eggs to look like pineapples – black diamonds on a yellow background.  You can use a permanent marker for this.

Separate the two halves of the eggs. Use a drill or awl to make two holes in the pointy side of each egg; this will be the top. The holes need to be big enough for a string light to fit through.

For the pineapple leave you can use green floral picks or strips of green paper. Put the “leaves” through one of the holes.

Insert a string light into the pineapple egg, using a drop of hot glue to hold the light in place at the top of the egg.

 DIY Pineapple light string tutorial

Jute Twinkle Lights

DIY Jute Twinkle Lights

For a natural-looking touch try these jute twinkle lights.

For each light on the string cut an X on the bottom of a small plastic Dixie cup. Turn the cup upside down. Run a thick bead of hot glue around the base (small part) of the cup, outside of the X.

Start coiling double-sided braided just twine around the cup, adding glue and jute until the whole cup is covered, plus one row above the top rim. Slip these jute cups over twinkling Christmas lights for a lovely display.

 Jute Light String Tutorial

Colourful String Lantern

DIY Colourful Light String

You get to pick the colours of these string lanterns. (Hint: You can’t go wrong with primary colours.)

First you dye cheesecloth. Then you cut the cheesecloth into squares big enough to cover the café-style light bulbs on your strand. You need one square per bulb.

Unscrew the bulbs from the strand. Cover a bulb in glue. Now, place a glue-covered bulb in the middle of a square of cheesecloth. Drape the cloth around the bulb, press to make it stick, and trim off the excess cloth.

Wrap all the bulbs, let the glue dry, twist the bulbs back into the sockets, and hang up your lights.

 Colourful Light String Tutorial

Like these ideas? Then follow Alicia Thompson on Twitter. She’s got great plans for DIY light strings and other fabulous summer living projects.

Pictures and Tutorial Credits:
Vellum Globe Lights: Brit+Co
Paper Lanterns: Martha Stewart
Pineapple Lanterns: Blogher
Jute Twinkle Lights: Ella Claire Inspired
Colourful String Lantern: Buzzfeed

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