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Outdoor Lighting: Shooting Stars

To create striking outdoor lighting this holiday season, string several of these shooting stars in your yard.




We hung our comets in trees that were 10 to 12 feet apart. To determine how many feet of lights you will need, measure the distance between the trees, add 8 to 12 inches (so the tail forms a swag), and multiply this number by 8.

For more ideas and installation tips, see Nights All Aglow.


  • White spray paint
  • 24-inch star-shaped wire wreath form
  • 12-foot strand of rope lights
  • Small zip ties
  • Drill with 3/16-inch bit
  • 44-inch-long strip of 1-by-2-inch pine
  • Six 2-inch binder rings
  • Large, heavy-duty zip ties
  • 100-bulb strands of white wire mini lights


  1. Step 1

    Spray paint star-shaped wire wreath form. Let dry.

  2. Step 2


    Plug in rope lights, and secure end to an outer point on the star with a small zip tie. Trim tie end. Wrap rope lights around outermost wire of star; secure strand with small zip ties (rope lights will not wrap an even number of times around the star). Trim tie ends.

  3. Step 3


    Drill 5 holes into pine strip, spacing the first hole 2 inches from the top and other holes 10 inches apart. Place binder ring in each hole.

  4. Step 4

    Attach 2 adjacent outer points of star to tree trunk with large zip ties. (If necessary, thread zip ties together to reach around tree.) Trim tie ends. Attach remaining binder ring to inner point of star, opposite side fixed to tree.

  5. Step 5

    Attach strip to second tree by lashing it vertically to trunk with large zip ties, positioning strip's top 3 to 4 feet lower than bottom of star. Trim tie ends.

  6. Step 6


    To make comet tails, secure prong end of mini lights to top binder ring on strip with small zip tie. Trim tie end. Pass light strand through binder ring on star, below left, and back toward strip, below right, plugging in more light strands as needed. Insert strand through next binder ring down on strip, and loop it back through star's ring. Repeat, finishing at strip's bottom ring.

Martha Stewart Living, December 2007



Reviews (19)

  • jlsexton 22 Dec, 2013

    This was so inexpensive and easy to make and is really striking in our yard.

  • CindyOTR 10 Dec, 2010

    thta is great about A.C. Moore but I couldn't find it anywhere, help.

  • lsjewelrygurl 15 Dec, 2008

    Here's another idea: A.C. Moore has 18" pre-lit stars. I paid $3.60 for one!

  • savart 14 Dec, 2008

    I'm putting this project together now....since the white lights can't plug into the rope lights, that means an extension cord is needed for the ail

  • savart 14 Dec, 2008

    I'm putting this project together now....since the white lights can't plug into the rope lights, that means an extension cord is needed for the ail

  • lsjewelrygurl 8 Dec, 2008

    RebeccaE., thanks so much for posting the site. I had looked all over the web...Can't wait to do this.

  • RebeccaE 4 Dec, 2008

    Anyone looking for the wire Wreath Shape Frames for the star, I found a web site caller They have a frame - 24 inches tall x 24 inches wide. Made of 10 gauge green painted steel.
    Price per each. $12.00 Item #: SWS24
    "Happy Crafting"

  • coolrunnin 4 Dec, 2008

    Where can you purchase the star-shaped wreath frame?

  • movcharov 3 Dec, 2008

    What a beautiful idea! Thanks!! Merry Christmas!

  • hayleeshotmom 2 Dec, 2008

    I LOVE this idea!

  • planty 12 Nov, 2008

    OMG this is so pretty. I think if you cant find the wreath you could make a star out of wood easily. that is if you have the tools. Im going to do this this year I cant wait

  • tawnyat 18 Jan, 2008

    Bought three 35" stars and several strands of white lights. Zipped ties the stars in the trees at the trunk. Then zipped ties the light strands to the tree trunk too. I gathered the lights so they would "swag" the zipped tied the end of the lights to another tree. Simple! Tons of cars drove by and the neighbors loved it! Thanks Martha Stewart Mag. for the idea! Loved it!

  • mocassin 11 Dec, 2007

    Seems as if the wreath is sold out, i still wanted to do the project so i used an alternative way to create the star. i also do not have trees! so i hung the star on my house. Great project!

  • mef1957 6 Dec, 2007

    Go with the bamboo. The only one I found are at and they are sold out for the season!

  • luebob 6 Dec, 2007

    Please tell us where to find the star-shaped wreath forms. I have been all over the internet and in every craft store and floral supply store and nursery in the New Haven area. Please help. Love the project and want to do it.

  • GrandmaBoots 30 Nov, 2007

    I too have had trouble finding the star shaped wire wreath form so I am going to use the bamboo garden stakes as well. I am positive they will look as great as Martha's. Great idea!

  • Stackof5 28 Nov, 2007

    I made 3 of these today and they look beautiful. I couldn't find a wreath form so I made the stars from bamboo garden stakes cut in 2ft pieces. I only had 3 strands of lights in the comets tail for fear of overloading the circuit and they still look wonderful. Thanks for the idea!

  • teresamnj 24 Nov, 2007

    Oh my goodness, these shooting stars are beautiful!! I can't wait to try them.

  • heidielizabeth 17 Nov, 2007