Hello everyone! Are you ready for the 4th of July? I am nearly ready: just a couple of things left to finish up. I’m looking forward to the parades, fireworks, food, and patriotic fun with my family. Have you been enjoying the red, white, and blue soda floats from last week? I have soda and ice cream stocked in my fridge for the fourth. But as I was looking around my home, I discovered it needed a bit of American flair. I really enjoy twinkle lights and have them throughout my home. I decided to make mini shades for them and they turned out adorably!
I love them and I am planning to make more to go with my everyday decor. They are really easy and cheap to make for any decor or celebration.
All you need to make these Twinkle Light Mini Shades is:
- Twinkle Lights (aka Christmas String Lights: preferable with white cords)
- Small Disposable Plastic Drink Cups
- Ribbon in Various Widths and Patterns
- Wired Festive Garland
- Hot Glue Gun and Glue Stick
- Versatool (aka Soldering Iron)
That’s all it takes of these cute little shades. The first thing that you need to do is make the hole in the bottom of the cups that the twinkle lights will go through.
Begin in a well ventilated area. Let your versatool heat up. If you have one with a temperature control you can set it to either medium or high heat. It just depends on how fast you want the plastic to melt. The center of the cup is usually marked by a little divot from the plastic molding process. Press your versatool into the middle. Once you pierce the cup, melt the hole as large as you need it by moving the versatool around the edge in a circular motion.
Check periodically during this process to see if the light fits. You want the hole a bit snug around the socket. If it tends to slip out of the shade, you can use a twist tie wrapped through the wires to stop the light from popping out of the shade.
Continue this process until you have all the cup-shades you need.
To make the stars and stripes mini shade start out by creating ruffled ribbon.
This is super easy if you have wired ribbon. Without wired ribbon it would take much longer and you would probably have to sew the ruffles together.
With wired ribbon, first fold over the end of the ribbon for a nice clean edge. Then fold the ribbon under itself at the width you want the ruffle. I used my thumb as a guide for the ruffle width. Then fold the ribbon back on itself again to start the next ruffle. The fold overs create “z” shape which makes it ruffle-y. (See photos above)
To create the shade itself, apply a line hot glue along bottom half of the cup. This becomes the top half of the shade. I also using wired ribbon for the top of the shade; so I was able to gather the ribbon at the very top of the shade by pulling out some of the wire. Press the ribbon into the hot glue and continue glueing and wrapping the ribbon all the way around the mini shade.
When you get the end, cut off the excess and fold over the end of the ribbon. Overlapping the start of the ribbon, you need to glue the folded edge down for a nice finish.
Next is the ruffle part. Begin glueing down one end like the previous ribbon. Apply glue to the edge of the first ribbon so that the ruffle overlaps that edge. Continue all the way around. Trim, fold, and glue the end on the ribbon down. Now you have your first shade!
Next is an even easier shade made with wired garland. With the colorful and sparkly stars this little shade is so sweet!
Trim a couple star tabs off the end of the garland. Poke that end through the opening in the top of mini shade. Secure the garland by folding over the end like pictured above. Next bend the garland into a thin “V” shape that is slightly longer than the shade. Fold the bottom of the “V” around the edge of the cup. Create a wide upside down “V” that reaches just to the top of the shade. Repeat the flow of thin and wide “V”s all the way around the cup.
To finish the shade, either you can trim off the excess at the bottom of the shade and wrap the wire around the bottom of the first thin “V” you made. Or you can trim off the excess at the top, leaving enough of the wire to poke through the hole at the top of the shade again. Either way works and because it’s a mini shade there isn’t enough wire to weigh it down enough to fall off. But if you want to make it extra secure, you can always hot glue the top of the wide “V”s to the top of the shade.
Finally the blue stars mini shade is very similar to the stars and stripe mini shade above, but the varying ribbon widths is simply adorable.
For the blue ruffle, I used a wired ribbon again. It is the exact same technique as the striped ribbon above. Glue the ribbon end of the ribbon to the bottom part of the shade. For this shade continue glueing the ribbon on the BOTTOM edge of the shade all the way around. Fold and glue the other end as usual.
Because of the shape of the mini shade/cup, top ribbon toward the top of the shade is loose. You fix this by pinching the excess close to the shade and adjusting the overlap of ribbon. Secure everything in it’s proper place by hot glueing over the edge of the blue ribbon and the shade and pressing a thinner piece of ribbon into the hot glue. Finish by trimming, folding, and glueing the end again. And you have another pretty mini shade for your twinkle lights.
Aren’t they just the cutest! Depending on how many lights on on your string it may take a while to make mini shades for all of them. But they take very little ribbon and I was able to get the small plastic cups very cheaply. These would look fantastic at a campsite or a deck, a patio, or hanging inside.
If you have battery powered twinkle lights, you could take them along on a picnic and hang them from a gazebo. Right now at Heartland America, there is a great deal on a White 10′ x 10′ Alpine Tent Party Gazebo.
This portable gazebo has a powder coated steel frame, durable polyester canopy, and a 7’2″ center height so you won’t feel cramped. A portable canopy is great to have for camping or any outdoor parties.
Whether you are creating magical memories at a big party or in the backyard this 4th of July, everyone here at Heartland America wishes you and your family a safe and fun holiday weekend. And remember you are always welcome at Home with Heartland.