Lighting Tips for Outdoor Parties

Two mason jars hanging from a tree, each one filled with a small LED candle

Outdoor parties are practically essential come summertime and if these get-togethers slide into evening hours, you can easily keep the lights on with any of these lighting hacks.

  • One of the easiest ways to light up an outdoor party is to wrap Christmas tree lights around trees or deck posts or string from trees and posts in your backyard. You can also find outdoor party lights in any number of shapes and colors online or in stores.
  • Place candles (traditional or LED) in mason jars. Tie lengths of wire securely around the neck of the jar, then hang jars or lights randomly from tree branches. Their glow will add a bit of whimsy.
  • Candle-filled mason jars can also be used to line walkways, decorate tables and provide lighting to ledges and other shadowy spots.
  • Fill large beverage tubs, decorative washtubs and ice buckets with water, then place candles in small floating vases. If you use enough candles and vases to nearly cover the water’s surface, you’ll have a lovely blanket of candlelight in each container.

If you really want to impress your guests, take a bit of extra time to string up these Ping Pong Ball Lights:

Things You'll Need:

  • Paper towel
  • C-clamp
  • One ping pong ball for each bulb on the light string
  • String of colored Christmas tree lights in good condition (check for shorts)
  • Drill with bit that is just slightly smaller than light bulb on your string
  • Hot glue gun


  1. Fold a 1½” wide strip of paper towel over on itself several times so it fits on the plates of the c-clamp; tape one on each side of the clamp. Adjust the clamp so it holds a ball just firmly enough to keep it from slipping when you drill. The “give” in the paper towel will allow you to remove a ball and press another one in without having to readjust the clamp.
  2. Press the drill bit against the ball just to depress slightly, then drill at medium to high speed while applying light pressure. As always, exercise caution when using power tools.
  3. Test your drill bit size by making just a few of the balls and attaching to the lights. You won’t want to drill dozens of balls only to find out you’re working with the wrong size bit!
  4. Slide a ping pong ball over each light. If the holes are too loose, run a small bead of hot glue to secure the base of each light to the ball. If the holes are tight enough that they won't be easily knocked off, you’re good to go.
  5. Hang your new DIY lights and enjoy!