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.



  1. 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.

  2. says

    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!

  3. 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!

  4. casance says

    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 :)

  5. 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!

  6. Cami says

    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 :-)

  7. Megan says

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

  8. Jane Ritz says

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

  9. 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!

  10. ANN*H says

    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

  11. 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! :)

  12. Ashley C says

    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.

  13. Charlotte Raynor says

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

  14. Karen Hand says

    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.

  15. Agnes Dc says

    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! :)

  16. Agnes Dc says

    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!

  17. 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.

  18. Carol L says

    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

  19. 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

  20. 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!

  21. Marthalynn says

    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.

  22. says

    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.


  23. Courtney says

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

  24. says

    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.

  25. 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:)

  26. 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.

  27. 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 😉

  28. 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!

  29. 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.

  30. 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 !

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