Give a celebration extra twinkle using repurposed holiday strands.

By Real Simple
Updated April 05, 2006
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Ellen Silverman

The last time you hosted a party, you forgot to add decorations to your shopping list and all you had on hand for your discriminating aunt’s 50th was a leftover Bob the Builder happy-birthday banner. Next time opt for these do-it-yourself lantern-like party lights. They put your holiday light strings to use year-round, can be assembled in minutes, and adapt to any occasion, whether the guests are dressed in diapers or draped in pearls.

To assemble: Use a utility knife to cut an X in the bottom of three-ounce plastic or paper cups (select fun colors for a festive look), then slide one over each lightbulb.

Looking for more fun summer party ideas? Find creative themes, menu ideas, decorating tips, and entertaining shortcuts.