paper christmas light strand tutorial

Paper Christmas Lights Garland [Tutorial]

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Hi, friends! It’s cold, windy, and snowing outside. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas so we might as well get started on Christmas crafts, right? This kind of weather bums me out so I went with a brightly colored craft to share with you today. One that comes together quickly and doesn’t take a lot of supplies.

Let’s get started.

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Supply List:

  • Gray cardstock
  • Colored cardstock in colors of choice
  • Glue gun or paper glue
  • Hole punch
  • Scoring blade or other scoring tool
  • Twine, ribbon, or yarn

Cutting Your Cardstock:

  • Cut out your gray cardstock in 1 1/4″ x 4″ strips
  • Cut out your colored cardstock in 1″ x 8.5″ strips

Putting Our Lights Together:

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Take your gray cardstock and score it every 1/2″. Make two marks a half inch down at 1 1/4″ and 2 3/4″.ΞΎFold your paper on the score lines and use a paper punch to punch two holes where we added pen marks.

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Take the two ends, overlap one 1/2″ flap onto the other end’s last 1/2″ flap and glue.

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Now onto shaping the bulbs. My eight year old came home from school and I recruited her to help. Ignore her out of lunch money stamps. πŸ™‚

Take your strip of 1″ x 8.5″ cardstock and fold in half lightly pressing at the crease.

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Pinch your two ends together and push the paper onto your palm. When you bring it back up it should resemble a Christmas light. If not try it again until you get the shape you like.

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While still pinching your ends together use your hole puncher to punch a hole through both layers about a 1/4″ down. Make sure it’s centered.

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Now let’s start stringing our lights together. Stick it through one hole of your gray light top and then insert your bulb in the center and string your twine through both holes of your bulb. You can push your bulb paper up high to make it easier.

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String it through the other side of your gray cardstock. Repeat for as many lights as you need to get the garland length you’d like. Make sure to keep the side you glued in the back on all the bulbs while stringing them together.

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And that’s it. Now display them somewhere fabulous and admire your quick and easy Christmas lights garland. I think they turned out pretty darn adorable. I hope you do too.

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Yep, fun Christmas crafts like this help me find the snow a little more tolerable. I’m just a big baby when it comes to being cold. Thanks for crafting along today!

92 thoughts on “Paper Christmas Lights Garland [Tutorial]”

  1. Ok I think I’m having a mom brain moment! The picture shows it scored every 1/2 inch but the directions say every 1/4 inch. And 1/4 of an inch does seem kind of tight. Which one is correct? I seriously love this garland and will be making a ton! Such a unique idea!

    1. Oh goodness, thank you so much for pointing that out!! It is every 1/2 inch. I’ve updated the post so it’s correct now. πŸ™‚

    2. Awesome craft. Completely clever. Thanks. Didn’t have gray stock paper so I spray painted a large empty frozen food package gold. Turned out great!

  2. Where can I purchase the scoring board you have pictures? I’m drooling over it!! It would make holiday crafts so much easier to create!!!

    1. I used a thick twine that has those little hairs that stick out all over the place. If you really want them stationary I’d recommend after going through the two holes of the bulb looping over the top and going through those two holes again. Hope that helps!

      1. I was going to ask the same thing but it looked like the twine was just thick enough to stay in place. The looping thing is a great idea. I can just raid my yarn stash rather than my husband’s garage twine stash.

  3. These are fantastic! I think I need to make up a set to drape over something, not sure yet, but I’m sure I can find a surface that isn’t already decorated πŸ™‚

    1. Ha! The more the merrier, right!? Just start layering all your banners up. πŸ˜‰ I totally know what you mean! I want to make everything and then when I’m done I have to make a place for it to actually fit.

  4. You could staple the twine to the ‘light’ inside the gray part to hold it in place and still be out if sight. We are going to make these with my Girl Scouts. Thanks for the idea.

    1. Thanks! For girl’s night last year my friend’s husband free handed them and cut them out for us. πŸ™‚

  5. Every year, I get so many Christmas cards. What am I to do with them after Christmas is over? Next year’s paper lights would be a great way to recycle them. I think using those cards for the decorations in this craft idea, would be awesome!

  6. I do crafts as a part of our Recreation Therapy program at a nursing home. I’ll have to do the prep for this, but what fun it will be to share this with our residents. They will love being part of making such unique & festive decor. Thank you!

  7. Here’s a tip to make stringing them easier…roll about 2 inches of the end of your string in glue and let it dry. You’ll have a nice self-needle to stick through all those holes. You’re welcome!

    1. When placing a large order for card stock I order form For individual smaller projects I buy my cardstock at Joann’s, Pebbles in My Pocket, or American Craft.

  8. Adorable! I immediately started making these for the elementary library that I volunteer in. We have these 8 large windows along the hall and these will look perfect! I’m just sad that I didn’t use as many lights as you did. I have 10 on a 6′ strand. Contemplating redoing the 3 strands I already finished….

    I think you’ve created a monster. πŸ˜‰

  9. Absolutely brilliant.recently purchased a hole lunch to make edible confetti so can’t wait to use it on the paper project as well! Thank you for the share

  10. They stamped her hand? So everyone knows she’s overdrawn on her lunch account? That’s awful.
    Love the garland, thought. Am thinking about a little puffy paint on the edge.

    1. Agreed! She hates getting stamped and I’m not very good at remembering when she’ll run out of money on her card. :S

    1. I’m not sure. If you can find an old window just paint straight on the glass with chalk paint. That’s what I did. πŸ™‚ Worked like a charm.

  11. I LOVE this!! can’t wait to do it with my girls! Shared on fb, Insagram and pinteres!
    Thanks so much for sharing!!

  12. Oh how cute is this! I think I might be able to fit this in my crafting schedule…I have just the “right” spot for it too! Was just wondering- is there a print option so that I can just print out the instructions instead of copying the whole thing? Not sure if this was answered already…thanks for sharing! I LOVE this!

    1. Sorry, I don’t have a print option. So glad you like it. I know what you mean about your crafting schedule. HA! I can’t seem to fit it all in.

    2. Joanne — try highlighting/copying the text you want, then go to Print/Print Selection. Stand by to hit “stop” on your printer when all the comments start printing out! Just the instructions will be 11 pages.

      1. You can highlight the directions, copy it, then paste it into a Microsoft Word document (or something similar). That way you can adjust the size of the pictures and the font to fit on less pages. Then print it. 😊

  13. So cute. I am going to one for home an done for school. For school, I am going to have each student complete one for each book they read and then hang the garland up

  14. This is off the scale brilliant! My daughter and I made a garland this morning, for her to hang in her dorm room at school. Thanks for sharing this fantastic idea!

    1. Thanks for bringing this up, Tiffany! I just installed this, so you should be able to pin directly from any of the images in a blog post.

  15. These are so great! I’m going to use these to decorate at work, where power source for real lights are in high demand and short supply!

  16. A friend posted a picture of hers on Facebook, so I had to come looking for the instructions online because this is just too cute! I love paper garlands, and this is such a simple idea. Since I just moved into a new place, I didn’t plan on really decorating for Christmas, but I might just have to make a strand of these before I host Christmas Eve dinner. Thanks!

  17. These are adorable! At first glance I thought they were made out of recycled toilet tissue tubes,which would also work as well, I believe but just paint them.

  18. I loved this idea for christmas and made some for work. However my daughter has just brought home “100 days brighter” project for kindergarten and guess what this is perfect!!! Thanks again f9r brightening up my day with this project!

  19. Just found this, this morning and I’ve already made 3 strands for my house ! So cute and my kids love it πŸ™‚

  20. Oh my goodness! A friend just shared this on Facebook and I am so happy.

    What a sweet, cheerful, craft!

    Question: What is this magical little scoring tool we see pictured here? That’s pretty cool!

    I love how bright your card stock is. It really makes the bulbs pop!

    Sharing! πŸ˜€

  21. This is the absolute cutest!! We make a paper chain each year but this puts a new spin on it especially since the kids are older LOVE this! Thanks for sharing !

  22. Love, love, LOVE this! I’m going to send a garland to my granddaughter, along with supplies to make more lights. Thank you.

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