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How to Make Seasonal Patio Lights from Plastic Bottles

Plastic bottles can take anywhere from 400 to 1,000 years to break down in a landfill. This is a very disturbing fact when you consider that only about seven percent of all the plastic consumed in the United States gets recycled. The best way to stop the cycle of waste is to reuse and recycle any plastic bottles that you use. Luckily, there are many fun, creative ways to make your bottles into usable art. The holiday season is the perfect time to start experimenting with making lights out of used plastic bottles. You can avoid the high cost of pretty seasonal lights for your patio and have the satisfaction of knowing you created something that is good for the environment. Use your spare bottles to try these holiday projects that make your patio shine with the warmth of the season.

Globe Light

Simply blow up a balloon to the size you want your light. Cut your bottle into strips and glue them to each other around the balloon. Be sure to use heat resistant glue for this step so that your light source does not melt the adhesive. Get as creative as you wish with strip size, color and placement, but make sure to leave a hole at the top for the light. When you achieve the desired look, pop the balloon and put a pendant light into the hole in the top. You can also make several small globes, and put them on string lights to give your patio a magical outdoor glow.

Cage Lights

These make a wonderful modern addition to your outdoor festivities. Simply pour a little paint of the desired color into a plastic bottle, and agitate it until there is a thin layer on the inside of the bottle. Remove the excess paint, and wait for the bottle to dry. Remove the top portion of the bottle with a knife or a pair of scissors, and put a small hole in the bottom. Use a craft knife to cut equally sized, evenly spaced rectangles in the body of the bottle until you achieve the cage effect. Turn the bottle upside down and put a pendant light through the hole you made. The squares of light shining through the bottle add a wonderful atmosphere to your patio.

Projector Lights

This is a really fun and simple way to turn your house into a festive projector. Cut the top off of your plastic bottle, and coat the inside with opaque paint. When the paint has dried, use an awl, nail or other sharp tool to punch holes in the side of the bottle. Form your holes into the shape of a star, snowflake or any other design that you like. Do this to several bottles. Place a tea light candle in each bottle and space them at even intervals along the edge of your patio. The outside wall of your house will show an enlarged, candlelight version of the shape you chose. This is a great holiday project to do with your children.

About Teri

Teri Hardy is a 30-something married, mom of 7 and the face behind the popular online publication, Motherhood Defined as well as the founder of Mom Powered Media. Known as the Iowa Mom blogger by her local peers and “The Fairy Blogmother” worldwide. She loves to write, doodle & go, go, go. Control freak, master multi-tasker and shopaholic. Ms. Hardy has professional experience in working closely with clients on brand ambassadorships, client outreach services, content creation and creative social media advertising exposure.

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  1. meegan whitford says:

    This is such a creative and fun idea!

  2. Jennifer Mae Hiles says:

    Those look awesome. I bet this would be a fun project for me and my girls and I have the perfect place to put them. Where I live, we do not have garbage pick up so everything possible gets recycled – this would be a great way to upcycle some of our bottles.

  3. wow! these look really cool. what a great way to recycle. alot of time, i find myself seeing recycled DIY projects and thinking that they just look like junk, but this is a REALLY cool idea!

  4. What a fun, creative, awesome idea!!! If I can find someone that drinks pop I am so doing this!!

  5. Julie Thompson says:

    This is an interesting idea but I would be worried about them melting or starting a fire. Thank you for your wonderful reviews and giveaways. Happy holidays!

  6. Okay this is just too neat and great for hosting a holiday party. I like this craft ideal and I am pinning it. I wonder if you could use a similar ideal, like on a Christmas tree, but with smaller bottles. I am really going to experiment with this one, thanks for sharing :)

  7. I saw this on pinterest last night and went back to to pin and. Ouldnt find it.! Thank you for this :-)

  8. Shelbie Johnston says:

    Love love love it! I’m a trash into treasures kinda gal, and this fits perfectly, plus helps the enviroment! TY for sharing this with us!

  9. Thanks, I’ll try that!

  10. I saw this in pinterest last night went back to find it thinking it would be fun for me and my son. And couldn’t find it. Thank you for posting this blog :-)

  11. chelesa sims says:

    what a great idea. I love how it is so different and it uses bottles.

  12. chelesa sims says:

    Great idea

  13. Nice idea. I might try this.

  14. Andrea Byrne says:

    this is such a fun idea! i tweeted it!

  15. Theresa Reed says:

    Great ideals for the plastic bottles. :)

  16. Very fun – being creative will also ensure that your lights are different from everyone else’s in your neighborhood!

  17. Christina Kelbel says:

    This is an awesome idea! I am definitely trying this. I love the recycling aspect.

  18. Lisa Paone says:

    What an awesome idea! I absolutely need to try this! Love it!

  19. This is an amazing idea! We get to save the environment too. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Looks like a fun Idea! Great for summer parties!

  21. That is a Great idea. That would be fun for me to do with the grandchildren. It’s amazing how pretty they look.

  22. Keep on recycling!!!! Very good ways to keep kids involved and re-use items.

  23. Andria Marie de Guzman says:

    Perfect and its enviromenmental friendly .,.,.

  24. Mary Blanton says:

    This is such a neat idea. We have get togethers ALL the time here and this would be SO perfect for our porch or our garage. This is just too neat! Thanks for the great idea!

  25. That is really cool. My husband and I are going to try that this weekend. Thanks so much

  26. Wow i never knew it took that long for plastic bottles that many years to break down in a landfill. This fact alone should make people want to recycle as much as possible. These light are such a cool idea. They would be nice for patios lights and lights for parties to. Heck even for something different for Christmas lights. Thanks for the great idea and the instruction how to make them

  27. Tammy Crews says:

    These are great ideas!! They save money and the environment! Thank you for taking the time to share these ideas with us!! We can make it family time doing these ideas and have fun doing them! :)

  28. Brandi Price says:

    Those are REALLY cute!

  29. Another way to do projector lights is to use empty cans from vegetables or canned soup. Just make the holes by using a hammer and nail. We used to do that when I was younger.

  30. All great ideas but I particularly like the projector one. Thanks for sharing

  31. Charlotte Raynor says:

    What a fantastic idea. Those lights are really pretty and would work perfectly. Thank you for sharing this idea.

  32. I’m all for recyling and these ideas are a great way to recycle. Personally, I like the projector light idea, although the others are just as good. Certainly will light up your patio with color and shapes and very economical as well. Thanks for the idea.

  33. Carren Larsen says:

    This is an awesome idea and it looks fantastic! I think it will look great in my yard next summer. Thanks

  34. What an eco way to decorate!

  35. This is a cool idea!

  36. This is a very creative and inventive way for patio lighting. It not only helps the environment but its beautiful also.

  37. These are cute, I am not sure I understand the concept of the balloon directions but i can certainly do the others

  38. Kimberly Davis says:

    Recycling is so great for the world.

  39. This is so creative! i wish i have a space at home where can i project this and my kids will enjoy the serene look. Good job on this one! :)

  40. This is so fun! great project … i wish i have a space at hope to do the same light abnd stuff and kids will enjoy the serenity of the lights. Good job!

  41. Nena Sinclair says:

    Great ideas! They’re so colorful! My dad used to make patio lights out of plastic planters and they were very nice, too.

  42. This is an awesome post. It’s incredible to think that only 7% of platic is recycled. I love these ideas. I can’t wait to show my older daughter so she can do this for her patio. Thanks.
    Carol L

  43. Loris Ayoub says:

    looks beautiful + if we did more stuff like these, we would be helping mother earth is a way of recycling and reusing resources

  44. craftgirl83 says:

    Wow, these look amazing! What a great idea, pretty and green at the same time.

  45. Huguette E. says:

    That’s cool and creative. Love having some fun and different for my patio.

  46. Robin Quick says:

    How fun! These would be cute for a birthday party on the patio/deck at night. The things you could use them for is endless ! You could do your team colors for that super bowl party. I think my favorite would be the globe lights. I would love to make these! Thanks for sharing!

  47. Jason R. Rabino says:

    wow.. that’s very creative.. its cute! :)

  48. Mary Beth Elderton says:

    Wow! So creative!

  49. denise smith says:

    what a great idea thanks

  50. Katherine G says:

    This is so cool!!!

  51. Katherine G says:

    This is so cool and so creative!!! I love it!!

  52. holy cow this is a great idea. it would help me from throwing the bottles away

  53. Rebekah Mercier says:

    What an awesome idea. I think my daughter and I will start saving bottles to do this for her party.

  54. How fun! I love these ideas! I think the cage lights and the projector lights could be so easy to do. My son would love to help with these projects too.

  55. What a great idea!

  56. I was just shopping for lights with my friend last night. She wants some for her house. She kinda narrowed it down, but didn’t buy anything yet. So seeing this post is good timing for me to share it with her.


  57. This is sooooo cool! Thanks for the great idea!

  58. These are really cool! We were at a restaurant the other day and they had a chandelier made out of wine bottles – very cool! :)

  59. Kristi Morris says:

    This is really neat!!! I’ll give it a try soon.

  60. How to Make Seasonal Patio Lights from Plastic Bottles–great idea. I have wanted to use outside lights around the camper but did not want to spend the bucks until now. Crfeative, innovative, smart.

  61. cylina williams says:

    I love this idea , thanks so much!

  62. this would be great to use the xmas llight with t the clear bottle

  63. Love this:)Beautiful and i think i will give it a try!

  64. I love this idea!!!
    Me and my daughter love doing crafts, and this is a very useful craft.
    I can’t wait to get started on ours :)

  65. Jeannie Eplion-Holley says:

    I love hanging lights on my patio and these look absolutely amazing. It isn’t only cute but also a great way to recycle plastic, thumbs up:)

  66. Thanks! Very helpful and creative idea! this will help me save money and make the plastic bottles more useful :)

  67. rochelle johnson says:

    wow, this is sooo cute. ty

  68. Kasey Unruh says:

    This is an amazing way to make festive lite on a cheap budget! :) I’m so going to try it this year. Now all my bottle won’t go to waste this year.

  69. this is a great ideal for recycling plastic bottles

  70. Sabrina slater says:

    This is a cute idea just wish I was crafty! Lol love home made stuff

  71. Sabrina slater says:

    This is a cute idea just wish I was crafty! Lol love home made stuff I mess everything up I try to make 😉

  72. Anita Leibert says:

    I just love the idea and the fact that this would save items from going to the landfill. Very creative!!

  73. I showed this to my daughter and she loved it. We will be doing this. :)

  74. Rebecca Sinclair says:

    This is such an adorable – and money saving idea. It would be a super decoration for a fun party! Thanks for sharing your wonderful idea!

  75. That is such a creative and cool idea!

  76. Michelle C says:

    This looks so cool and I bet I could save up plastic bottles to use quickly.

  77. sandy weinstein says:

    what a great idea….recycle and reuse…..

  78. What an awesome idea, it looks cool and would be fun for the kids to help.

  79. Donna George says:

    I love ideas that recycle! Thanks for sharing and allowing me to pin

  80. Sylvia Ortiz says:

    What a great DIY that’s colorful and helps you to contribute to keeping our planet green.

  81. don’t get it why cut bottles guess i need to ssee oneelol

  82. Stephanie Thompson says:

    I am going to have to do this. I like colorful things, so I might not wait until summer and try it in my basement this winter just to warm it up a little.

  83. such a cool and creative idea!:)thx

  84. Great idea and so colorful

    sibabe64 at ptd dot net

  85. Faith Bosnick says:

    This is such a neat idea and a great idea on how to recycle bottles! I LOVE it!

  86. These are soooo pretty.What a great idea for left over bottles. I can’t wait to try out some of these ideas.

  87. I first saw this idea floating around with Halloween – to stick green glow sticks in milk jugs and you hide them in bushes but these ideas you have can be used year round! Thanks for the tips!

  88. Very cool, creative, and colorful idea that’s awesome! I’m stealing your idea I must try this! Thanks! :)

  89. Renee Harris says:

    This is so cool and creative!! Might give this a try!!

  90. Renee Harris says:

    This is very cool and creative!! Might give this try!!

  91. Betty Melton says:

    This is such a creative and fun idea!

  92. Karina Lee says:

    very cool

  93. Renata Lopes says:

    What a great idea I will try, thanks.

  94. Christina Sunday says:

    This is a really creative idea and i like the fact that your reusing the bottles to make something creative and fun to look at ! thanks for posting !

  95. so nice it is

  96. Toni Cosgrove says:

    I think these would be so great for aa summer BBQ,,,or a cool pool party.

  97. Fee (Phyllis) Roberts says:

    I love the idea of reusing plastic bottles to make seasonal lights =D

  98. Shannon says:

    I love this craft. Thank you for sharing this with us!

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