6 magical DIY outdoor lighting ideas

tin lanterns on an alfresco table

Illuminate your outdoor space with these super simple, low-cost DIY garden lighting ideas.

1. Create tin can lanterns

Place a flickering tea light in an ordinary clean and empty baked bean tin can that’s been skewered with small holes (a hammer and nail will do nicely). Spray paint and hang from fences or trees to add an instant bohemian feel to your garden. Arrange the holes in wavy patterns and basic shapes, or spell out words with multiple cans. Tip: filling the can with water and freezing it before you make the holes will prevent buckling.

2. DIY citronella candles

Slice an orange in half, scoop out the flesh and cut out a hole in the centre of one half (a cookie cutter will do perfectly) then stick in some cloves around the hole. Place a tea light in the complete half and rest the other half on top. The scent of the orange and spicy cloves, will deter those pesky flies and provide a pretty glow. This video below will show you how.

3. Paint pebbles with glow in the dark paint 

Add funky dots of light throughout your garden by painting individual pebbles with glow paint (ensure you read the back of the bottle for any indications of toxins) and scattering them around a rockery or flowerbed. Paint a coat on paving stones as well to light up a path across the lawn.

4. Make giant fairy lights 

Cut small Xs in ping pong balls and place them over the individual bulbs on a string of outdoor fairy lights to instantly double their impact. 

Outdoor fairy lights

5. Create magic fairy jars with glow sticks

Make it look like you’ve caught a family of pixies by wrapping a glow stick with bubble wrap and popping inside a Mason jar. Adding a piece of netting on the inside of the jar will give the impression that the ‘fairies’ are floating in mid-air.

6. Get extra value out of cheap solar lights

If your solar lights have lost their glow, paint a layer of clear nail polish over the solar cells. This hack even improves old lights that have already been weather damaged. Make them look extra fancy by hanging them from ornate basket hooks on your garden fences and walls instead of sticking them in the ground.

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