I absolutely adore being outdoors, especially when the nights are warm. We spend so much time outdoors here that my indoors sometimes get lonely. That said, I’ve always wanted to really light up my outdoor living spaces with beautiful lanterns and lights, so I started looking for DIY garden lanterns that I could make myself. I was so excited to come across all of these 35 luminous garden lanterns. There is something in here to suit every home and every preference.
From repurposed chandeliers to full on DIY lights from twine and grapevine, there is definitely a lantern project in here that you’re going to want to make. Here in the South, the bugs are horrible during the warmer months and getting outside at night can be a battle, which is why I’ve included a few citronella lanterns so you can enjoy your outdoors without worries of bugs and crawly things. I really do love any project that I can do myself, and particularly when it’s a recycling or repurposing project. Oh and if you really want to dress up your outdoors, be sure to take a look at these 30 backyard succulent gardens.
Whether you’ve got a huge patio, a small deck, or something in between, there is going to be a lighting project in here that is perfect for it. I love being outside with just a soft glow of lights and many of these will give you the perfect glow without being too overbearing. Nights are for enjoying the stars, after all so you don’t want too much light, right? You can upcycle some amazing things like glass bottles, tuna cans, and so much more to create your beautiful lights and you have plenty of time to get them done before the summer months are over. Also, if you want a soft glow with a bit of warmth, be sure to check out these 30 easy fire pits that you can DIY, too.
If you can’t wait to sit outside and enjoy the warm weather, and you want to add some beautiful lighting just to give your outdoors a little pick me up, this is definitely the collection of ideas you want to see. I can’t wait to hear which ones you have tried and which ones are your favorites!
1. DIY Grapevine Garden Lights
These gorgeous grapevine lights can be made from a grapevine wreath, a balloon or deflatable beach ball and some floral wire. You’ll also add lights when you’re finished. It works sort of like paper mache. You form the grapevine around the ball or balloon, holding it all in place with floral wire. When you’ve finished forming your garden light ball, just burst the balloon or deflate your ball and pull it out – then add your lights.
2. Mini Fabric Garden Lamps
Fabric scraps, clear lights and some Mod Podge help you to turn plain plastic cups into these amazing mini fabric garden lamps. These are perfect for hanging on the deck or even stringing throughout your flower garden. The process is so easy, too. You just drill a hole in the bottom of the cup and use Mod Podge to adhere the fabric. Then string the cups up with your clear Christmas lights and you’re all set.
3. Upcycled Beer Bottle Garden Lights
Those empty beer bottles – or wine bottles if you prefer- can be used to create stunning lights for your garden. This is such an easy and quick project. You simply take empty – and clean – beer or wine bottles, line them up and then fill them with
clear or colored Christmas lights. You get beautiful lighting for your outdoors and you get to upcycle those empty bottles at the same time.
4. Birthday Hat Café String Lights
Colorful birthday hats – or heavy cardstock – can be used to make lovely string lights for your patio or garden that are perfect for parties or just anytime you want something fun outdoors. You can punch patterns into the hats or leave them as they are and string them onto a clear set of lights. They’re perfect for hanging from the porch or a tree limb.
5. DIY Mason Jar Chandelier
I love doing projects with mason jars and this outdoor chandelier may just be one of my favorites. You can use as few or as many mason jars as you can fit together. Just tie them together by drilling holes in the caps and stringing lights through. You can paint these to give them a lovely translucent color or if you have old ones that are already colored, those would be beautiful as well.
6. DIY Outdoor Cupcake Lights
If you have a party coming up, these outdoor cupcake lights will be perfect for lighting up the backyard or garden. You make them with cupcake liners and they’re as useful as they are adorable. Just cut an X in the bottom of the liners and then string lights through them. These are quick and easy to make and really do light up your outdoors with some sweet lighting.
7. Repurposed Shot Glass Nautical Lights
If you love the beach and want to give your garden area a coastal theme, these nautical lights made from repurposed shot glasses are perfect. They have anchors, sailboats and other beach themed designs and they’re glass so they’re great for outdoor use and safe as well. They’re also battery operated so there’re no worries of trying to find somewhere to plug the lights in. You can get these on Etsy for just over $20.
8. DIY Fabric Chinese Lantern
You can use those leftover fabric scraps from other projects to create these great Chinese lanterns. I found this project on Pinterest and it looks really easy to recreate. Just cut those fabric scraps into strips and wind them around wire to create the globes. You can make them in whatever size you need and then use Christmas lights to string them all together and light up your garden area.
9. Upcycled Outdoor Tuna Can Lantern
I absolutely love turning trash to treasure and this tuna can lantern idea is definitely one of my top picks. You can take an old tuna can, a really cheap glass globe and paint stick and turn them into gorgeous garden lighting. You can find glass hurricanes and other globes at yard sales and thrift stores for just around a dollar or so each and if you have empty tuna cans, this entire project won’t cost more than a couple of dollars per lantern.
10. DIY Glowing Garden Light Orbs
Some old glass shades and clear Christmas lights can be used to make these amazing glowing garden light orbs. You just stick the lights into the shade and that’s it. You can find these white glass shades at most home improvement stores but if you don’t want to buy them new, look around at thrift stores and yard sales. Light them up and stick them throughout your garden for wonderful nighttime scenery.
11. Easy Glow In The Dark Planters
Turn those ordinary planters into beautiful garden lighting when you add a coat of glow in the dark paint. You’ll need a can of glow in the dark spray paint and a handful of planters. Just add four or five coats of paint to each planter, letting them dry well between coats, and then set them outside in your garden or on your patio for beautiful lighting at night.
12. DIY Hanging Railing Lanterns
You’ll need some old jars – of all shapes and sizes to keep it really unique – some wire and a few other supplies to make these amazing hanging railing lanterns. They use votive or small pillar candles to light the way and you could opt for battery operated candles if you really don’t want to have to light them all every night. These are great for hanging off your porch railing or the side of your deck.
13. Easy Succulent Chandelier
What better light for your garden than one that is also a planter? This succulent chandelier is beautiful and the perfect way to add some low key lighting to your patio or garden. Build the chandelier from leftover wood and then add your succulents. The lighting comes from candles or battery operated lighting that you stick in jars or small candle holders and the entire look is beautiful.
14. Hula Hoop Garden Lighting
Turn an old plastic hula hoop into a gorgeous chandelier for your back deck or garden. This is a project that really doesn’t take much time or effort and you only need a handful of supplies. You’ll wrap clear Christmas lights around an old hula hoop and that’s about it. You need to hang your chandelier of course, which you can do with rope or twine – which you also use to wrap the hula hoop to give it a really elegant look.
15. Solar Powered Steam Punk Style Lighting
I love unique and one of a kind items and this garden lighting made from old metal pipes is certainly that. It has a nice steam punk feel to it so if you are into that style, this is a great lantern for your garden area. It’s an old metal pipe with a handle fixture on it and it’s completely solar powered. This would be quite an interesting lantern for your garden area and you can get it on Etsy for $135.
16. Upcycled Liquor Bottle Light
Turn an old whiskey bottle into a great garden light – or use vodka, rum or any other favorite liquor. Many of these bottles are very decorative and would make lovely lighting for the yard and garden area. It’s pretty easy to turn them into lanterns and then you can hang them directly from the porch or out in the garden from a post.
17. DIY Decoupage Mason Jar Lanterns
These decoupage mason jar lanterns are the perfect way to light up your outdoors. You can use whatever pictures you want – from magazines and old newspapers to actual pictures of your family – and then add them to your jars with Mod Podge. Have I mentioned how much I love Mod Podge? Once your pictures are all added, just stick in a tealight or small votive candle for lighting and hang or sit the lanterns wherever you need them.
18. Rustic Twine Jar Lanterns
Old mason jars – or whatever jars you have on hand to use – wrapped in twine make beautiful lanterns. This is one of the easiest and most gorgeous projects on the list and it’s perfect if you’re looking to add a bit of rustic charm along with garden lighting. Just wrap the bottom of the jars in twine and add some to the top for hanging. Then add tealight or votive or even battery operated candles for light.