Chances are they spend 11 months of the year tangled up in a box. We say, bring them out! String lights should not be winter-only decor. They're perfect for making a patio, backyard, table top, feel magical. Traditional white lights plugged into extension cords, battery-operated LED lights, bulbs shaped like stars, snowflakes or jalapenos -- they all work.
Here are some ideas for how to use what you already have to bring sparkle to your next outdoor occasion.
1. Welcome guests with lights. Emphasize your front walk, front door, driveway. Hammer stakes into the ground a few feet apart and string lights in between each one.
2. Add blossoms with muffin cups. You know those paper cups you bake muffins or cupcakes in? Yes, those. Cut a hole in the center of a cup, then poke a bulb through it. Do the same for a the entire string and now you have a flowering vine that you can wrap around railings, fences or porch posts.
3. Turn a vase into a lantern. Coil up a string and "fill" a cylindrical vase with twinkling lights for a magical centerpiece.
4. Give trees a glow. Decorate your evergreens if you have some for a Christmas-in-July effect or just wrap them around the trunk or branches of any tree like a candy cane stripe.
5. Create a light ceiling. Bring the stars a little closer by creating your very own night sky. String two clothesline in between trees, then drape a strings of Christmas lights from one end to the other in rows. Alternately, use an outdoor umbrella as a center point and string lights outward like spokes on a wheel.
6. Design your own art installation. "Draw" your initials in a hedge. Use a string of lights to outline a favorite object like an oversized planter or a piece of patio furniture.
7. Make a light curtain. Think disco beads in a doorway. Let strings of lights lead guests to your outdoor space or use several "curtains" to create a "room" in your backyard.
Do you have any creative lighting ideas for summer parties?
Image ©iStock.com/Michael Witman