50 DIY Patio Lights to Brighten Your Outdoor Area

Adding decorative lighting to your backyard doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money. There are dozens of simple yet beautiful DIY projects that can help illuminate your backyard for a small price.

Not only will you be spending less, but these creative ways will also help you recycle old materials, unused items, and empty containers. From mason jars to tuna cans, you’ll be amazed at the different decorative lighting that can be DIY-ed.

Here are 50 outdoor lights you can recreate to lighten up and accent your outdoor area. If you want to see the tutorial or guide, click the link, visit the source page under the photo, or watch the video.

1. Clay Pot Lantern

You can add a simple and beautiful lighting decor in your patio with a pot from the one-dollar store, LED lights, and a chain.

2. Hula Hoop Chandelier

Why spend a lot of money on an expensive chandelier when you can create one for your backyard?

With a hula hoop, some lace, and christmas lights, you now have a simple chandelier.

3. Mason Jar Oil Lamp

You don’t have to spend so much on decorative lighting since you can create a lovely mason jar lamp for your backyard. You’ll need a mason jar, floating wicks, vegetable oil, and decors such as flowers and pebbles. You can even add essential oils, spices, or herbs to make it smell nice.

4. Party Cup LED Lights

Aside from containing your drinks, party cups can also be used to brighten up an evening get-together or to simply illuminate your outdoor area. 

Tip: Instead of buying new cups, you can recycle the ones from your last party.

Source: Home Talk

5. Glowing Glass Shade Orbs

If you have glass shades lying around, you can turn that into an outdoor lighting decoration. Insert some christmas lights in these shades and then you now have a glowing orb in your backyard.

6. Stained Glass (Pickle Jar) Lanterns

After finishing the last pickle from the jar, you can turn the container into a lantern! Cut some tissue paper into triangles and you can also achieve this stained-glass look.

Source: Hello Glow

7. Wine Bottle Lamps

Another container you can reuse for your outdoor lighting is a wine bottle. This can be converted to a torch lamp. You will need a wine bottle, tiki torch wick, copper coupling, Teflon tape, glass beads, and citronella-scented fuel for your tiki torch. Here’s a step-by-step video to guide you.

8. Flower Pot Centerpiece with Candle

Make your outdoor area look beautiful not just with lights, but with plants as well. Create a centerpiece for your outdoor dining table with a clay plot, plants, and a candle placed on a smaller pot (for safety measures). It would look great at night, especially with the light illuminating the leaves and bringing out the plant’s shadows.

Source: Hearth & Vine

9. Canning Jar Lights

Instead of spreading around your mason jar lanterns, you can bunch them together like this one. With some lights and translucent glass paint, you can create colorful lanterns that you can hang from the wall or tree branch.

10. Birthday Hat String Lights

Another item you can recycle after a children’s party is a birthday hat. Remove the base of the cone and poke some holes using a thumbtack. Wrap the finished product around the bulbs of string lights - and there you have it, birthday hat string lights.

11. Cupcake Liner Lights

It seems that birthday parties or events have many items you can recycle for your patio lighting. Another one you can use is a cupcake liner. Get some clear lights and place the cupcake liner around them. Make sure not to let the bulb and liner touch.

Source: Family Chic

12. Coffee Can Lanterns

Don’t throw away your coffee can after you finished the contents because you can still turn it into a beautiful lantern. Print out a design and tape it around the can, then use a nail and hammer to punch the holes. Once you’re done, place some light inside and you’ll see how it adds a rustic touch to your backyard.

Source: Design Sponge

13. Rope Sphere Globe Lights

Have you seen those gorgeous rattan ball string lights in stores? You can create a less expensive and simple version of it. Simply insert the bulbs of twinkle lights in grapevine balls and you’ll get the same effect!

Source: Crafty Butt

14. Twine Lanterns

If you don’t have grapevine balls, you can also create rattan ball string lights with twine, yarn, or hemp. You will need a balloon to form the ball shape with the twine. To harden the string, use a glue mixture, which you can easily create thanks to this tutorial.

15. Wooden Lanterns

These are expensive to buy from stores but you can also create them on your own. But you’ll need to put in more effort for this one because you will be building a wooden casing for your candle. 

Don’t worry, here’s a video on how to create wooden lanterns.

16. From Indoor to Outdoor Chandelier

A chandelier is expensive, but luckily, you can also create your own. If you have an old indoor light frame, you can convert that into an outdoor chandelier. Add some prisms and crystals to give it that chandelier effect. You can opt to use tea candlelights or solar lights for this decoration.

17. Petal-Shaped Bottle Lights

You don’t have to throw away your detergent bottles once it’s empty because you can turn them into these cute petal lights. You’ll need to cut rings from a bicycle inner tire, a broomstick, and tea candlelight. Cut the bottle from the corners until the middle, and shape each side like a petal.

18. Marquee Light

Decorate and brighten your patio wall with marquee lighting. Shape plywood into a letter or any design you want. Drill some holes that outline or trace the frame and insert the globe lights. If you have the time, you can spell out your whole name (hopefully, it’s a 5-letter name or less).

19. Tin Can Chandelier

Add a vintage touch to your backyard by creating these tin can chandeliers. If you have gallon-sized tin cans lying around, you can convert them into outdoor lighting. Here’s the full tutorial on how to create these chandeliers.

20. Water Drop Lights

This is another project that will take up a lot of your time and effort but the results will be rewarding. By using watering globes, you can create this water drop lighting effect. Here’s the full guide on how to create this outdoor decoration.

21. Fairy Ball Lantern

With wire hanging baskets, you can create these gorgeous fairy ball lanterns. Wrap the wire with fairy or christmas lights and you’ll have this huge ball of light.

22. Fabric Lamps

You will need some plastic cups and string lights to create these beautiful mini lamps. Find fabric with beautiful patterns to create the same effect.

23. Citronella Candles

Aside from providing light and aesthetics, you can also create patio lighting that will ward off those pesky insects. Citronella candles are a great way to prevent mosquitoes from biting you and brighten up the atmosphere.

Source: Garden Therapy 

24. Paper Lanterns

You can now have beautiful paper lanterns without spending so much money. The site, A Piece of Rainbow, has tutorials for different paper lantern designs such as dandelion and 3D designs. They have also made our lives easier by sharing their paper lantern template - for free! 

25. Basket Lanterns

It may look like an expensive patio lighting, but it’s actually an inexpensive basket turned into a lantern. With a chain and light, you can also have this simple but beautiful woven lantern.

26. Wooden Pallet Light Box

You can use wooden pallets as furniture and decoration. Shape it into a box and you now have a wooden pallet light box

Source: Fiskars

27. Wine Glass Lampshade

These may look expensive and complicated but it only takes a wine glass, sheets of vellum, tea lights, and candle putty. Find out how to create them here.

Source: Pop Sugar

28. Garden Gate with String Lights

Decorate and lighten your outdoor area with this arbor-like structure. By placing two ladders upright and one ladder on top of them, you can create a garden gate for your yard. Wrap the sides with string lights and climbing plants to make it look rustic.

Source: Kojo Designs

29. Orange Candle

Did you know you can turn an orange into a candle? With olive oil and a lighter, you can create this citrus-scented candle.

Source: Handimania

30. DIY Tiki Torch

You can always buy tiki torches, but you can create one to make it easier for your wallet. Find out how to build your own tiki torch here.

31. Wine Bottle Lights

Aside from torches, you can also use wine bottles as garden lights. Insert some string lights inside and then get a bamboo stick so you can stake it to your garden.

Source: More Organics

32. Glow Jars

You can make these beautiful glow jars with a piece of tulle, mason jar, and the contents of a glow stick.

Note: Be careful when handling the chemicals inside the glow stick. Wear gloves and protective eyewear.

33. Hanging Tiny Tea Lanterns

You can easily recreate this lighting with some tea lights, ribbons, and a tiny basket or container.

Source: We Heart It

34. Rustic Chandelier

Another simple chandelier you can build is this caged-candle lighting. You will need a tomato cage, hanging candles, and decorative crystals for that chandelier effect.

35. Paper House Lights

Increase the charm of your backyard with these paper house lights. You just need some tea light candles and the printed template of these houses. 

36. Jute String Lights

With a jute string and mason jar, you can create hanging glass lanterns for your patio. Find out how in the video below.

37. Garden Globe Lamp

You’ll need to visit the dollar store to build this outdoor lighting. Get a round candle vase, solar lights, flat glass marbles, silicone - and that’s it, you can create your own garden globe light.

38. PVC Pipe Lights

Who knew that you could turn PVC pipes into beautiful outdoor lighting. It will cost around $20 to $55 and 5 hours of your time. Here’s a tutorial on how they did it.

Source: Home Talk

39. Tuna Can Lanterns

Another container you can recycle for your patio lighting is a tuna can. This lantern doesn’t even look like a tuna can, right?

40. Plastic Bottle Lights

Creating your own patio lighting can help you recycle a lot of items in your house, even plastic bottles. With some glass frosting spray, your outdoor plastic bottle lights would look store-bought.

41. Paper Bag Lantern

Not paper lanterns, but literally, paper bags. With some tea lights and wire, you can hang this simple outdoor decor on some branches.

Source: Design Sponge

42. DIY Fire Pit

Fire pits are expensive, so you can try building one to save money. According to The Art of Doing Stuff, it takes $25, an hour of your time, and a piece of spaghetti.

43. Copper Patio Torch

To create this torch, you will need to visit your local hardware store for some supplies. Some of the materials you will need are a mounting post, oil reservoir, and wick holder. Here’s the full guide on how to create a copper torch.

Source: Garden Gate

44. Wire Basket Lantern

Here’s a simple lantern you can create for your backyard. You’ll just need a wire basket, light cord kit, and Edison bulb then you’re set.

45. Muslin Firefly Lights

With some muslin fabric and glass jars, you can create these beautiful outdoor lights. Here’s a tutorial that was extracted from the book Homemade Simple.

46. Glass Vase Luminaries

Have you seen those glass vases at the dollar store? This guide shows you how you can turn those into beautiful lanterns with some yarn, tape, and spray paint.

47. Glass Blocks For Your Walkway

You can easily lighten the path in your backyard with these glass blocks. It takes one LED bulb at the corner of the block to give this effect.

48. Watering Can Pours Out Lights

This patio lighting looks like it was bought from a store but you can easily recreate it. You just need an old watering can, steel wire, and LED string lights.

830205 ledivalot

Source: Style Room

49. Words in Rope Light

Make it simple and decorate your patio wall with rope lights. You will need nails to create a grid or frame to trace the rope light. Here’s a guide on how you can recreate the lighting below.

50. Wax Paper Lantern

These lanterns are easy to recreate. You just need wax paper and electronic tea lights since real fire will burn the wax paper. 

Source: Design Sponge

Kenneth Wilson
October 21, 2019
Ideas & Inspiration

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done.