5 easy party light ideas

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Inspired by my 4th of July party lights, I decided to come up with a few other ways to use recycled materials to perk up twinkle lights for your back yard or patio.  These ideas are quick and easy and require little more than scissors and glue.

Colored lights work better with heavier material.

No. 1: Egg crates

Cut an egg crate apart into individual cups.   Color the cups by soaking them in water, vinegar and food coloring, or let the kids get involved with markers.  While the cups are still damp, poke a hole for the light and bend the tips to look like flower petals.




I wish I had a star hole punch for these.

No. 2: Yogurt containers 

Always remember, upcycling is all about multiples.  I eat a cup of yogurt every morning, so I decided to save them up, wash them out, and use them as light shades.  Leave them plain, decorate with markers, or punch decorative holes to create light patterns.




I can’t tell you how many cute cupcake wrappers I’ve bought and then never made the cupcakes.

No. 3: Cupcake wrappers

While this is not technically a recycle because these wrappers were not used, it is quick, easy and cheap.  All I did was poke a hole in the back of cute papers and attach them to the lights.





I used this same pattern mixed with real flowers for my wedding bouquets.

No. 4:  Paper rosettes

Using recycled paper, cut out simple flower shapes with six petals each.  Fold along the lines between the petals to create a 3D look.  Cut from the outside into the center like a radius, then overlap the petals on either side of the cut and glue together to make a five-petal flower.  To make a 4 petal flower, remove one petal and overlap the adjacent ones.  Don’t look too closely; I made these from my husband’s old medical school notes, so some of the content may be less than romantic.


I’m really into origami now. More plastic origami to come.

No. 5: Plastic origami

Using heavy plastic shopping bags (the ones from the department store, not the grocery store) make a simple origami shape like these boxes.  Just like with paper, it’s important to measure carefully and press with something hard like a pressing tool or a coin.



Just goes to show, you don’t have to be good at math to be inspired by it.

Bonus: Plastic origami Lampshades

I discovered this really cool modular origami unit called the PHiZZ unit, created by Tom Hull.  I’m not mathematically inclined enough to explain why it is so cool, but just trust me, it is.  I used just 30 PHiZZ units to construct this little sphere and slipped it over a bare bulb.  As with all these projects, test carefully to make sure your light source is not too hot for the surrounding decoration.