Design Holidays & Celebrations

10 Inventive Outdoor Lighting Projects to DIY for the Holidays

While a few lights around the windows or doors are a classic way to display holiday cheer, you might be feeling like it's time to amp things up a bit. If you're stuck in an outdoor decorating rut, try one of these incredibly simple yet charming lighting ideas to add a bright and festive touch to your home.

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Magical Mason Jars

The holidays are all about re-creating that warm and fuzzy feeling, and this project is perfect for pulling that off. Gather a few oversize mason jars, some black adhesive film, a craft knife or other cutting implement, a cutting board, and candles. Then, cut a holiday silhouette or landscape on the back side of the black adhesive (the more cutouts, the better). Remove the paper backing and attach your design to the front of the jar. Pop a candle or LED light inside, and boom—holiday magic!

Related: 9 Easy-to-Make Garden Luminaries

Oversize Ornaments

Add an oversize ornament to your outdoor decor for an enchantingly lit front porch or pathway. All you’ll need is a globe light, a screw eye, and an empty tuna can. Remove the label and paint the can the color of your choice, then drill a hole slightly smaller than the diameter of your screw. Screw in the screw eye, add an LED light or two to the inside of the globe, and then place the can on top to complete the look. For a personalized punch, consider using stencils and paint to emblazon the globes with merry messages.   

Related: 25 Insanely Easy-to-Make Holiday Ornaments

Twinkling Trees

Your front yard will look like a professional light show when you wrap individual tree trunks with strands of glittering LED lights. To start, set the male plug at the base of the tree and work your way up to the top, loosely wrapping the lights around and around the trunk. Use only about half of the strand on the way up so you’ll have enough to wrap down again. Follow the same approach for every trunk; if you run out of lights, just attach another strand. Connect the male plug to an extension cord at the base, plug it in, then stand back and admire your work.

Related: 7 Ways to Transform String Lights from Holiday to Every Day

Raised Wreaths

While a wreath on the front door is a classic holiday touch, consider shaking things up a bit by displaying your greenery overhead instead. First, screw a few heavy-duty hooks into your porch ceiling. Next, decide how low you want your wreath to hang, and cut lengths of rope accordingly. Loop the ropes through the wreath to create two handles on opposite sides, and then hang the handles onto the ceiling hooks. Suspend your wreath over a light fixture or pair it with a second wreath for an elegant yet understated holiday display.

Related: 12 Totally Unexpected Ways to DIY a Holiday Wreath

Simple Snowflake

Shelf liner and a water heater pan are the secret ingredients in this giant snowflake display. First, cover the base of the pan with shelf liner. Proceed to trace or print out a snowflake pattern onto paper, center the pattern over the pan, tape it down, and then use a craft knife to cut around it. Drill a few holes into the pan so lights can show through, and then spray-paint around the stencil. Mount your snowflake high up on your house for all to see.

Related: 10 Easy Ways to Add Christmas Curb Appeal

Orb Decor

Planning a
holiday party? Make any room more enchanting by hanging a handful of these luminous orbs. Requiring only chicken wire, wire cutters, and a set of string lights, these festive fixtures may be the easiest way to imbue your spaces with holiday charm.

Related: Hanging by a Thread: 9 Inventive Ways to Hang Pendant Lights

Winter Walkway

Guide your guests through a winter wonderland by lining your pathways with these charming holiday luminaries. Drill holes into 10-inch plastic cylinders in a pattern of your choosing, then pop in small battery-powered lights for a glowing finishing touch. Perfect for the front steps, driveway, or garden path, these bright creations are sure to invoke the spirit of the season all winter long.

Related: Garden Paths: 16 Easy-to-Imitate Stone Walkways

Tomato Cage Tree

To execute this incredibly simple and inexpensive DIY, all you need are a couple of tomato cages and a strand or two of outdoor LED lights. Stack two tomato cages on top of each other to make the “tree” extra sturdy, then gather the tips together and secure them with rubber bands. Tightly wrap the LED strands around this structure to create a dense cover of lights, making sure the male plug ends up at the base. Display your creations outside your front door for a festive (and well-lit!) welcome.

Related: The Tree-Free Christmas: 14 Alternatives You Can DIY

Candy-Cane Charm

A little PVC pipe goes a long way in this holiday lighting idea. Purchase P-traps, an elbow, a drain, and pipes in your desired lengths, and then assemble the pieces into a candy-cane shape. Wrap the assemblage with painter’s tape to create the classic twisty, striped pattern, cover with a few coats of red spray paint, and then remove the tape. Finish by drilling holes that are large enough to accommodate your lights, and string them through. Display wherever you need a bit of holiday cheer—indoors or out.  

Related: 10 Easy DIY Candles for a Festive Season

All Aglow

Ice lanterns may not be suited for everyday holiday displays, but they’re lovely while they last. Gather some natural treasures from your backyard, such as greenery or sprigs of colorful berries. Next, find two empty plastic containers of different sizes and nest one inside the other (a large yogurt container and a narrow shampoo bottle, for example), and fill the space between the two containers with water and your chosen flora. Pop your creation into the freezer for a few hours to let this botanical beauty take shape, then drop in an LED light for the glowing finishing touch.

Related: 9 Bright and Colorful Houseplants You Can’t Kill