Sunday, August 7, 2011

Deck Lighting: Lanterns & String Lights

I've been inspired to create a dreamy deck atmosphere for some time now- not just for actually hanging out on the deck, but also because the deck basically acts as wall art for an entire wall in our living room. 

Since my obsession with Pinterest started a few months ago, I've been ultra inspired by the dreamy backyard and lighting photos as such:

From here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
I was particularly struck this National Geographic winning photo I mentioned here:
I've been so inspired by this photo that Tim and I are even planning on traveling to Chiang Mai in Thailand during the Loi Krathong festival next year
So finally, after I amassed enough mason jars, I decided to take on this Pinterest Challenge of my own.

I found a super simple image on Pinterest of a string of Christmas lights stuck inside mason jars that I decided to replicate.  The whole set up is selling for seventy freaking dollars on Etsy- literally for six mason jars, a set of string lights, and a pack of hooks.  You can create a DIY version for as little as free or as much as $10!  I happened to have all the needed materials laying around the house, but if you don't, then check with your parents/grandparents for mason jars (they always have lots laying around), or pick up a pack of 12 jars for about $10 at a craft store.  You can buy Christmas lights for $1.  A pack of hooks, $2-3.   No sense wasting $60-70 on something that a five year old can make.

So, the first thing we did was pick up a light socket converter for $1.99 at Lowe's and screwed it into the light socket on the deck.  It was extremely simple.

Then, I just started hanging up mason jars.  The method I used was to take a roll of floral wire and wrap it around the mouth of each jar to secure it, then create a big loop to hang it.  Then I took a $2 pack of little screw hooks from Lowe's and after hammering in a tiny nail for a starter hole, I screwed in the hook and just just hung the mason jar from it.  I started with seven jars and sort of placed them sporadically around, but they ended up basically in two lines with the jars from each line staggered slightly with the jar in other line.

Then, I just plugged the lights into the new plug, and shoved a couple lights into each jar as I led the strings to met at the other end of the deck.

For right now, the lights I'm using are a little wonky because I have one really short strand and one really long strand, and they're different colors.  Once Christmas decorations start hitting stores though, I'm planning on picking up some icicle lights that will fill the jars much easier.

I'm also partly torn over keeping the mason jars and dying for these lights (which I've always lusted after but have never bought)
However, our downstairs neighbors have the same exact lights!  It doesn't really matter, but at least this way our lighting is a little more unique.  I may even still mix in a strand or two of those with the mason jar set up down the line.  We'll see!
Right now, I am in LOVE with this project!  It was a $5 project that adds so much oomph and atmosphere to our living room.  Summer nights in the condo just got a little prettier!

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