How to Make Outdoor Decorative Lighting to Hang From Trees

Decorative outdoor lighting sets the mood for any event, from evening weddings to late night parties. By hanging decorative lights from trees you can light up even large spaces with enough light to see walkways, illuminate seating areas and brighten outdoor dining spaces. A simplified and cost-effective way to make outdoor lighting utilizes glass mason jars, wire and chain and allows you to make as many lights as necessary to set the mood and light up the night without breaking the budget.

Things You'll Need

  • 20-gauge wire
  • Tape measure
  • Wire cutters
  • Mason jar
  • Pliers
  • S-hooks
  • Small chain, 1-inch links
  • Sand
  • Tea light or votive candles


    • 1

      Measure and cut one piece of wire to 6 ½ feet long for each jar you want to hang. Loop the wire into a circle and hook the two ends of the wire together, using pliers to secure the circle.

    • 2

      Center the circle of wire around the neck of the jar just below the lip so there is about 1 ½ feet of wire extending out from both sides. Twist the wire against the jar on the left side three times, then do the same to the right side, to hold the wire tight around the neck of the jar.

    • 3

      Stabilize the wire along the jar with one hand while you continue to twist the wire on the left or right side. Twist the length of wire until all but the last inch is twisted which will leave a small loop at the end. Repeat this step to twist the other side of the wire together until there is only a loop remaining.

    • 4

      Hold the jar between your legs or have someone else hold it while you draw the two twisted portions upward and bring the looped wire ends together, centered over the mouth of the jar. Slip an s-hook around the two loops to connect them and hold the wires above the jar.

    • 5

      Determine how far below the trees you want to hang your lights. Cut a length of chain to equal that distance plus twice the diameter of the tree limb you’ll be using. Loop one end of chain around the limb and secure the end of the chain to the body of the chain with an s-hook.

    • 6

      Loop the s-hook connected to the twisted jar wires to the bottom link of the chain where it hangs at the tree. Fill the bottom of the jar with 1 to 2 inches of sand and nestle a tea light or votive candle in the sand, and then light the candle.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use jelly jars with a quilted pattern to create an interesting effect as the candle tosses light at different angles around your outdoor area.
  • Burn unscented tea lights or votives if you’ll be cooking or eating outdoors or if any of your guests are sensitive to the smell of scented candles.
  • Do not burn your candles if high winds or gusts are in the weather forecast.
Related Searches


  • Home Made Best Made; Readers Digest
  • Outdoor Entertaining; George Dolese, Chuck Williams and Jim Franco
  • Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Lifesize/Getty Images

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