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Temporary Garden Lights for Your Next Outdoor Function

Updated on August 25, 2009

Believe it or not, utilizing the temporary garden light idea I’m about to share with you can dramatically alter the vibe of your next outdoor get-together.  And the best part about it is that it won’t cost you a lot of money, it’s not difficult to do, and what I’m about to share with you is just the beginning...  From here you can let your imagination run wild and create all kinds of cool variations on the theme.  In fact, leave a comment below about what you plan to do with this idea for your temporary garden lights (or where ever you plan to use them).

One thing to keep in mind if you’re not particularly mechanically inclined… It doesn’t matter!  You can still do this!  Don’t let the discussion of the involvement of a little bit of electronics scare you off.  It’s all super basic and it WILL be worth your while to give this a shot.  I already know of one young lady who took this idea and ran with it, even though when she first heard me talk about it she shied away thinking it was too technical for her.  When it was all done she laughed at how easy it really was!

flickr image by oskay
flickr image by oskay

Quick disclaimer: I am not responsible for coming up with this idea. I was looking for a solution for what to do with my own personal garden lighting plan when I came across this information. And in fact, the site where I found it had borrowed it from another site. So ultimately, I need to give credit for this to the “Evil Mad Scientists” at In fact, you can go there to see good, illustrative photos of the process of putting these together.

OK, so what am I talking about? Simple. We’re going to take small, inexpensive LED lights and attach them to small, inexpensive lithium coin style batteries (like you find in a watch) with electrical tape. This will illuminate the LED light, which gives off a surprising amount of light considering its very small size. In addition, LED lights require so little energy that this little beacon will stay lit for days on end. Maybe up to a week or more!

Both the LED lights and the batteries can be purchased online or at a store like Radio Shack (online will no doubt be cheaper). For the light you’ll want to get an ultra-bright white LED with a “diffused lens”. The diffused lens will permit the light to go out in all directions. For the battery you’ll want to ask for “CR2032 lithium coin cells” (3V). By shopping around a bit and buying in bulk (and by ‘in bulk’, I’m talking about 10 or more, not talking about needing to buy thousands of these things), you can get your price per ‘lit light’ for around or under $1.

flickr image by oskay
flickr image by oskay

Great.  So now you have your little light.  Now what?  Again, simple… place it inside a container of your choice.  The original example talked about taping it to the inside of the lid on a mason jar (you know, the kind used for canning and pickling).  This gives you a water-proof light that is easy to place just about anywhere you want.  Under some plants, hanging from trees, lining a walkway… you name it. 

Now you might be thinking that having a bunch of mason jars as garden lights doesn’t sound too attractive.  I have two things to say to that.  First, considering it is a temporary light, you might be surprised at what an interesting and unique look it provides for your evening (I’m picturing a more casual bbq style get-together).  Second, the mason jar is just the example that was originally provided.  You can use whatever you want.

For example…  how about beer bottle lights lining the path or hanging from the tree?  How about placing those bottles inside of small paper bags to create a luminaria effect?  Or how about this… Place them inside of a latex balloon and either fill them with helium and have floating lights, or… place them inside a balloon filled with air, tied off with a string and an anchor and placed in a pool underwater!  Seriously, the options are almost endless!

And to think that all these fun, inexpensive, easy and creative options came up out of a search for some plain old backyard outdoor garden lighting ideas…  what a score!


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