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DIY: Hanging outdoor string lights

June 1, 2017

Here in California, we're lucky to be able to spend a good portion of the year outside, which means patio lights and fire pits are must-haves for most back yards. 

 

If you love the twinkly look of hanging globe lights but don't have the perfect number of trees in your yard to hang them from, then you're in luck! In this DIY tutorial, I'll quickly go through a few ways to support hanging string lights without breaking the bank. 

 

 

No matter how you configure your lighting, you'll need a permutation of the same materials:

  • Posts or something tall to mount the lights to

  • Wire to run the lights along (keeps lights taught, rather than hanging in the wind)

  • Eye hooks

  • Eye hook with turnbuckle (to hook to the end of the wire and tighten

  • If using metal fence posts, I used chain link fence toppers to guide the wire around the corner and keep things contained

  • String lights

  • Outdoor rated extension cord

  • Wire (ex: 14 or 16 gauge hobby wire) 

Quick How To:

  1. Lay out your light configuration -- remember, most string light sets only support 2-25ft strings together at a time, so be creative with your math and where your outlets need to be 

  2. Dig your posts / poles to support your lights

  3. Screw in any brackets to your house / structure needed to support your light

  4. Run your wire through your posts and brackets -- this should outline where you want your lights to be

  5. Tighten your wire using the turnbuckle -- be careful to not overtighten as snapping the wire can be VERY DANGEROUS

  6. Hook your lights to the wire so they hang taught across your yard 

  7. Enjoy!

More details:

In my yard, I have my lights framing my deck (see below) and suspended at the end, using metal fence poles. 

 

 The posts were sunk into the ground using gravel to support them, but could also have been fastened to the deck using a pole stand. For a temporary solution, you can also fill a 5 gallon bucket with concrete and place a post in the middle of it. This allows for easy mobility around the yard (and, fun configuration!) 

 

No matter how you attach the post, I used chain link fence toppers to help guide the wire around the corner, and keep things moving. This also helps solve the issue of drilling into posts or figuring out the exact right angle for a hole, as you can set the post and then twist the cap on after, when you're threading the wire through. 

 

For my house, I also ran a series of eye hooks under my rafters, to help keep things consistent and add support. You'll want to pre-drill the holes for your eye hooks and make sure they're sturdy enough hooks to support the weight of your wire and the pressure. 

 

Then, go ahead and hook the lights to the wire and enjoy! 

 

There are also globe light suspension cable kits available for sale on Amazon if you'd like to save the trouble of gathering the various pieces. 

 

 

 

 

 

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