A Pair of Pears shows how a mini DIY bunting (hello, cuteness!) makes an understated cake especially celebratory.
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3. Pick the right bulbs. LEDs won’t attract insects like incandescent bulbs can because they don’t emit infrared light (plus, they last much longer — upwards of 18 years per bulb). But remember that LED bulbs won’t always fit older lights. Visit your hardware store with a photo of the fixture in hand to get help picking out the correct bulb. It’s also helpful to know if your light runs on line voltage or low voltage. Typically, surface-mounted fixtures, like your porch light, run on line voltage while landscape lighting typically runs on low-voltage.
1. Clean with caution. Chemical-laden cleaners can ruin special finishes on metal lamps, so stick to regular dish detergent, water, and a wascloth to get rid of grime (and just to be safe, turn off the power before you wipe lights down).
5. Check labels on string lights. Not all string lights are suited for your patio. Most (like holiday lights) are UL-approved for wet environments, but it’s essential to check the package to ensure that they are approved for extended outdoor use. Look for the UL/ETL/CSA safety labels.
Add some twinkle and glow to your next outdoor shindig with these cool ideas from some of our favorite bloggers.
Glass vases (and wine bottles) are great candidates for the spray-painting treatment. Tonya at Love of Family and Home tried four different colors for her arrangement, and this aqua hue certainly suits a pool party.
We love that Hannah at The Homesteady looked at a pile of skewers and thought, “Placemats!” With a little dye and some jewelry cord, these kebab staples get a whole new cookout role.
A classy conversation starter, these carefully cut wine-bottle spouts impress guests and protect candle flames from evening breezes. Get the tutorial from Invite & Delight »
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A Step-By-Step Guide To Creating Your Own Foraged Evergreen Wreath
With just a couple hardware-store staples and some inexpensive mini mason jars, you can whip up a slew of charming candle holders to surround your space. Get the tutorial from Jennifer’s Mentionables »
Kellie at a Nest of Posies upgraded dollar-store votive holders with acrylic paint in colors meant for a bright tablescape.
Molding this garden decoration is a cinch once you know the secret: Rapid-set cement won’t bond to plastic. These tea-light holders were made with disposable food containers and yogurt cups. Get the tutorial from Centsational Girl »
These bloggers wowed us with their creative ideas for decorating a backyard bash.
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6. Keep off the grass. Don’t place fixtures directly on your lawn, since mowing around them will be difficult. Instead, place them in flower beds. If low-voltage wiring is buried, don’t cover the dirt with wood chips. The wire can resurface over time, and if it makes contact with mulch, it can cause a fire.
Outdoor sconces, lamps, and string lights are great for adding ambiance (and extra visibility) to your yard. But if you don’t install and maintain them correctly, they can quickly turn into safety hazards. Here’s how to keep your well-lit yard danger-free.
All you need is some plain white paper and nimble fingers to create this festive display. For safety, chose a string of LED bulbs, which don’t heat up. Get the tutorial from Wit & Whistle »
4. Change all the bulbs at once. If you use halogen or traditional incandescent bulbs for your landscape or porch, swap them out annually to fully brighten your yard, especially if your fixtures are on for over six hours per night.
Lil Mrs. Tori demonstrates how to make your yard glow with a set of string lights that add some starry twinkle both day and night.
Kelly at The Sweetest Occasion proves that an ordinary kids’ paint set and some white paper can come together to create a chic banner.
It may look other-worldly, but this bright orb uses some garden-variety supplies: a thrift-store light-fixture glass shade, a flower pot, and some mini string lights. Get the tutorial from Hot Child Studio »
Raid the recycle bin for soup cans, and tap a pattern of holes in their sides to create these radiant cylinders. And don’t forget this clever trick: Fill the cans with water and freeze them first to avoid denting the cans as you puncture them.
Get the tutorial from Grow Creative »
Leftover paper napkins from parties past get a second chance at being part of the fun when you turn them into a garland, like Jacks & Kate did. String them over a buffet table or create a photo op backdrop on a bare wall.
7. Place lights with safety and security in mind. Ideally, there should be at least four points of light in your yard: Mounted fixtures on your porch and garage doors, and landscape lighting along paths and steps. For lighting a path, expert Adam Zambanini, Vice President of Marketing at Trex, an outdoor living company, recommends staggering posts in a zig-zag pattern. The pools of light should overlap (think Olympic rings). And consider where you put tall fixtures. Placing them at the end of the driveway, or other places children play, can create an accident-prone environment.
Kelly at Studio DIY (queen of the inventive pinata), created a version that would be right at home in a backyard luau.
Look closely: This graceful table topper is made from chandelier light shades! Find some at a flea market (or your garage, perhaps?) and flip them over to use as votive holders. Get the tutorial from Your Cozy Home »
2. Maintain finishes. Outdoor lighting fixtures are designed to be weatherproof, but they’re not infallible. Moisture in the air encourages rust (beach towns have it the worst). Try using a simple solution of water and vinegar to remove it.
These candle-lit lamps emit a soft glow, thanks to a super-simple frosting process. Add wire for hanging, or group together as a table centerpiece. Get the tutorial from Little House in the Suburbs »
Here’s a double-duty DIY we can stand behind: Radiator covers create beautful beams when wrapped around candles. Who knew? Get the tutorial from Ruffled »
I Love to Create used one fruit to create another — this juicy watermelon tablecloth was stamped using an apple!