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Outdoor String Lights

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Almost everyone loves to entertain outdoors, and nothing makes your exterior space more inviting than dozens of glimmering outdoor string lights. Whether it’s daytime or the sun is creeping behind the horizon, rope lights and string lights can create a fascinating ambience or centerpiece for your table. With a bit of creativity or ingenuity, you can create your own warm, inviting outdoor gathering space with outdoor patio string lights. Here are some ideas to get you started.

• Get clever with tin cans and a punch. If you have a few tin cans lying around, rescue them from the recycling bin and peel off any leftover labels or stickers. Here comes the important part: Before you start punching, fill your cans with water, then place them in the freezer. The ice will help your cans hold their shape while you work. Once the water has frozen, carefully punch holes in any pattern you like: trees, swirls, a star — you name it. Once you’ve punched out your pattern, let the ice melt, dispose of the water and hammer the bottom back into shape. Place string lights inside once everything has dried, and voilà! You’ve got a cute, custom light for your patio. If you like, you can play around with painting the cans or decorating them with washi tape and other crafty items as well.

• Put cupcake wrappers to use. If you have a set of globe string lights, you can enhance your cafe lighting scheme with colorful cupcake wrappers. Simply cut an “X” in the bottom of each wrapper and slip it over the light globe. Small paper cups can look cute as well, plus you can decorate them to your heart’s content with washi tape, paint, stickers or markers. If you’re planning a child’s birthday party, try repurposing those conical party hats into festive party lighting.

• Brighten up an old vase. If you have an empty vase or apothecary jar lying around, tuck some string lights inside to create a festive centerpiece. You can create a similar look with a set of of old beer or wine bottles as well. Try colored LED string lights for a fun effect.

• Create a colorful masterpiece. Use your rope lights to mark the edges of garden beds, pathways and stairs. If you have a long rope to work with, try creating a lighted maze for guests to find their way out of.

• Make LED rope light orbs or spirals. Using zip ties, bundle your rope lights together into an illuminated orb, which can be hung from a ceiling or tree branch or placed on a flat surface. You can also borrow old tomato cages and wrap your rope lights around them in a spiral to create a topiary effect.

Find a wide variety of patio string lights on Houzz.