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DIY Party Lights for a Cheap Dinner Party

The right party lights can turn any event into a lively bash. Create your very own party lights using coffee filters - get the DIY here!

Mood lighting is a great way to make your dinner party feel special, and these coffee filter party lights will create beautiful ambience for your get-together—without any extra expense.

The coffee filters act as little textured paper shades for white Christmas lights. Subtle ombre color is achieved by dipping them in food coloring or watercolor—which also means that they can be customized to match any color scheme. You probably already own everything you need to make this, and won’t need to spend a dime to get the look.  Here’s how to do it!


Strands of white Christmas lights (2 or more)

Coffee filters (about 33 per 100-light strand)

White twist ties

Food coloring or watercolors

Small Command hooks


Step 1: Cut a small “x” in the bottom of your coffee filters. For one standard 100-light strand, you will use 33 filters.

Step 2: Poke the first light on the strand through one coffee filter.

Step 3: Bunch the coffee filter around the base of the light, and secure with a white twisty tie.

Step 4: Continue attaching coffee filters down the strand, one every three lights. You can adjust the spacing according to how full you want the strand to look. Repeat this process for the next strand. I would suggest making at least two, but you may want more depending on the size of your party space.

Step 5: Decide what color you’d like the coffee filters to be.  Pour some water in a bowl and use food coloring or watercolor to mix the desired color.  Dip the end of each coffee filter quickly in the mixture and hang the strands to dry.  (Do this outside in the grass so you don’t have to worry about spills or drips). 

Step 6: Once dry, fluff the filters to reshape. Use small Command hooks to drape the party lights in zigzags above your dinner table. If you’re dining outdoors, these would also be really pretty hanging from a deck, pergola, or some nearby trees.

For more cheap party décor, consider making a bamboo table runner, a nature centerpiece, and rope napkin holders.

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Meet our Writer
Jennifer Geddes
Celebrations Writer

Jennifer Kelly Geddes has hosted Christmas cookie swaps, New Year's open houses, Thanksgiving for 22, and all manner of dinner parties in her Manhattan and Ghent, NY homes.

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