Trying to find a fun way to brighten up your garden or patio? Look no further than inside your craft closet for some balloons, twine, Mod Podge, and spray paint. Seriously – with a few leftover Christmas lights, you can turn household craft items into easy DIY Garden Lanterns. These string lights take around 24 hours to dry, but kids will love helping to wrap the balloons in twine and popping the balloons once the glue has dried. To start your DIY Garden Lanterns, you'll want to round up the following materials:

  • A plastic tarp or cloth to protect the surface you're working on
  • 1/16 or 1/8-inch twine or jute rope
  • Balloons
  • Cooking Spray
  • A small paintbrush
  • Mod Podge (use waterproof, if your lights will be in a spot to get wet)
  • Glitter (optional)
  • Clear, fast-drying spray paint
  • Lantern or twinkle lights

Cover your work surface with plastic or a cloth for easy cleanup, as the Mod Podge can get messy. Blow up the balloons to the size that you'd like your lights to be. We blew ours up to about 1/3 of the normal size of a balloon, but this can very based on how large you'd like the spheres. Be cautious not to overfill, though, or else your lanterns will be oval-shaped instead of circular. Once your balloons are ready to go, coat them thoroughly in cooking spray. This will ease the process of removing the balloon once the glue has tried.

Using the twine, wrap both horizontally and vertically around the balloon, tucking in any loose ends and making sure that the twine is fairly tight around the balloon. You'll want to cover the balloon almost completely, as this twine will ultimately become your lantern. Be sure to leave enough room around the tied portion of the balloon to string your lights through.

Take the wrapped balloon and place it into a plastic bowl with Mod Podge. Rotate the balloon until the twine is completely covered. Use the paintbrush to fill in any areas that may have been missed. If you'd rather not use as much Mod Podge, you can apply all of the decoupage with a paintbrush – just keep in mind that it's much easier to miss spots this way, thus weakening the structure of your lantern. If you'd like to add glitter, sprinkle it onto your lantern while the glue is still wet.

Once the balloon is completely covered, suspend your lantern upside-down with twine, and allow it to air-dry for at least 24 hours. The easiest way to do this is to tie an extra piece of twine to the tied portion of the balloon. Be patient with your lanterns; sometimes the glue may take more time to harden.

After the glue has dried completely, your lantern should feel stiff. Poke a small hole in the top of the balloon through the lantern to let the air out, and then pull the broken balloon through the opening. Remove any excess glue that may have hardened in the gaps. Spray the lantern with a coat of clear, fast-drying spray paint and insert lights through the hole at the top. String up the lights with additional twine, and enjoy the sparkle in your garden.

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