With the holidays right around the corner, it’s never to early to start thinking about holiday decor. One area where people spend a lot of time, and money, to decorate is outside, especially during the winter season. The tradition of adding lights to the darkest part of the year has been handed down from one generation to the next, and today we have so many bright and cheerful options available to us. That’s why we’ve put together this tutorial on making an affordable outdoor lighted present that can add to your light display. Affordable and fairly simple to make, these presents can be the center of your display, or simply add the finishing touch.
With tons of personalization and customization potential, lighted presents are popular and expensive. Thankfully, this version only takes a little bit of time and offers a huge reward without breaking the bank.
What You’ll Need:
1 roll of chicken wire
1 bag of zip ties
2-3 strands of BrightTouch string lights
Aviation Snips or Wire Cutters
Ribbon or Tulle
High Temp Glue Gun and Glue Sticks (low temp glue guns will not hold as well)
What To Do:
First things first – chicken wire can be sharp, especially when you’ve cut it into the size that you need. Always wear gloves and be aware of where the sharp edges are at all times. Use a hammer to bend the sharper points inward to save you injury and to prevent the box from tearing the fabric in later steps.
As you begin the process, decide how big of a box you want to make. A 1 foot by 1 foot box turns out just as beautiful as a bigger box and takes up less space. A larger box can add more ‘wow’ to your outdoor display, but it takes more materials to make and can be difficult to control as you shape it. Consider your work and display space and then decide how big you’d like your box to be, and then gather your supplies.
Once you know this, measure out one side of the box. Use a table to bend the chicken wire at this point. Measure another equal side and use the table to bend it again. One more time will give you the third side, and then measure once more and make your cuts. Use the aviation snips to cut down the length of the wire, leaving you with a rough square. If you want the box to be tall, like ours, leave the height alone. If you want a perfect square, measure down and then make your cuts around all four sides to the height you want.
Take zip ties and connect the two free edges together. We used a zip tie every few inches to ensure that it would hold well and not come apart. Use your snips or a good pair of scissors to trim the edges of the ties, and then turn them inward to maintain a flat outer edge for the fabric to eventually lay on.
You’ll need to cut the top to fit the size box that you’ve decided to make. If you’re making a 1×1 foot box, you’ll need a 1×1 foot top. We made a 2 foot box, so our top is 2×2. You’ll only need one, as the bottom is made to be left open. Use zip ties to attach it to the box.
String your lights through the box. The best way to get an even amount of light involves making an “X” pattern with the lights. Since our box was so big, we used 2 strands for this. One strand made one part of the X, while the other was the other part. Start at the top of the box and use your zip ties to attach the lights in one corner. Run them to the opposite corner and attach them there. Then, run them back and attach them a few inches below the first attachment. Do this every few inches until the lights have run all the way down the box.
Do the same for the opposite part of the X with the other set of lights. For smaller boxes, just use the same strand and run it back up the box on the unused sides.
Once all of your lights are in place, you should have a nicely lit, wire box.
Gather your fabric, ribbon or tulle, and glue gun. Another strand of lights will serve as the light for the ribbon.
Loosely measure your fabric around the box and cut it so that it goes all the way around with some slight overhang.
Start at one corner and put hot glue along the wire. Doing a little bit at a time, stick the fabric to the glue until the length of fabric is attached to one full corner.
Move on to the next corner, being careful to stretch the fabric taut so that it is flat on the side panels. Do this all the way around the box. Glue the overhang to the fabric it falls on to complete the square.
Fold the bottom edge up into the box and secure it with hot glue as well.
Place the box so that it sits upright and trim the fabric so that you have only one long side that will cover the top. Use hot glue to secure the three short edges to the top before folding down the big flap and completely covering the top of the box. This process does not need to be perfect to look amazing, so don’t worry if your cuts aren’t perfectly straight.
Take your tulle and wrap it with the final strand of BrightTouch lights. I used green tulle and warm white lights to tie the project together. Use a dab of hot glue every few inches to keep the wrap together. You can also do this with ribbon if you choose.
Use hot glue to secure the end of the tulle/lights combo and then run it up the side of the box. Secure it at the top of the box with another dab of glue. Do this down the other side as well. At the bottom, run the ‘ribbon’ to the adjacent side and do the same so all four sides of the present have a green stripe down their middles.
Double back and run the ribbon back up to the top of the ‘gift’ box. Use the remaining length to create a bow at the top of the box. We made a pretty big box and had plenty of lighted ribbon left to make a fairly sizable box. If you have extra lights or you don’t want a huge bow, you can always double up on the sides and make the side ribbons bigger before running it to the top for the bow.
Finally, shape the bow how you want it and use hot glue to secure it if needed. Turn off the lights and behold your new decoration! Ours turned out amazing and we know yours will too!
Be sure to visit our facebook page and share yours. We’d love to see what you come up with!