How-To & Diy

DIY String Lights for a Summer Party

July  9, 2014

Every other week, Anna Hezel talks about the innovations, decorations, and other quiet touches that make a party memorable.

Today: A quick way to turn a string of lights into an elegant garden party decoration.

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When you're rearing up to have a summer party, it’s easy to become consumed with menu planning. In the week before the party, there are ingredients to buy, dishes to prep, and logistics to map out.

So when it comes to decorating, sometimes you need a quick, effortless way to dress up your party space that goes above and beyond a last-minute scattering of tea lights. Whether you're working with a garden, a deck, a patio, or even a living room, this 10-minute project will give an old string of lights a summery upgrade.

More: Get handsome outdoor lighting ideas (from mason jar lanterns to hurricane lamps) in our shop Provisions.

If you can dig up a string of white lights left over from Christmas and a stack of paper cupcake liners from your baking cupboard, then you can make this absurdly simple decoration. The cupcake liners create fluttery little lampshades for the lights and soften the light a little bit -- a great atmospheric addition to any outdoor setting.


- a string of white string lights
- a package of mini cupcake liners


Spread the string of lights out over a large, flat surface, and separate the cupcake liners.

One by one, poke the lights through the bottoms of the cupcake liners so that the cupcake liners create little lampshades around the lights. Be careful not to push the cupcake liners past the light bulbs' plastic bases -- if the hole in the paper gets too large, they will fall off and blow away.

More: For your next trick -- make your own mod paper lanterns too.

Photos by Anna Hezel

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Anna Hezel

Written by: Anna Hezel