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Shaded String Lights




Holiday strands trace every slat of a porch trellis; the bulbs are covered in shades made from chartreuse and turquoise vellum. The table is lighted by pillar candles, each protected by two vases (one inside the other); blue-tinted water fills the space between glasses.



  1. Step 1

    Draw a clamshell-shaped template on a piece of cardboard or print and cut out our template with scissors.

  2. Step 2

    Fold an 8 1/2-by-11-inch sheet of vellum paper in half. Place template on vellum so that clamshell "hinge" abuts the fold.

  3. Step 3

    Trace, and cut out. Position shade over each bulb, securing them to the bulb's plastic base with a small binder clip. String the lights along a ceiling, securing them with tape or thumbtacks.

Martha Stewart Living, July 2006



Reviews (12)

  • Pjboots 15 Jun, 2013

    How do I get to the how too part? I see the same picture of the lights and people sitting in chairs with only comments at the bottom.

  • lecroy 10 Jul, 2011

    We have a new RV and are just getting into camping. Ive decided to make these and use them as Awning lights..instead of the tacky ones you see in stores..Plus I can change colors when ever I wish!!!

  • mydoghasvelvetears 26 Jul, 2010

    There was just an entry about using IKEA (already printed and painted) cupcake
    papers over the larger rounder bulbs... target has them.. think Martha Stewart used to sell them, may still at Kmart.

  • omaannie 26 Jul, 2010

    Love this idea! And so easy to do! Thanks so much!

  • El_Kat 26 Jul, 2010

    Poking a [filtered word] in the center of the paper might work with string lights with bigger bulbs. Just make a [filtered word] in the vellum paper in the center of the fold, take the bulb off and slip the shade on. Then put the bulb back in. I'd use only LED lights that don't get hot though.

  • organicmama 24 Jul, 2010

    I think the bulb is sandwiched between the 2 halves of the paper. Bit I was very confused at first too. I think I'd try simple paper clips to see if they'd work. It would be a lot cheaper than binder clips.

    Love these ideas Martha and crew, but often times the directions are much too vague. We some times need more help than you think ;o)

  • turtle72701 24 Jul, 2010

    Linda- it looks like the fold goes from the backside of the strand of lights and over the light bulb, then secured with the mini binder clips

  • Tomkitty 24 Jul, 2010

    The instructions are lacking, I enlarged the picture, but still couldn't determine if the little bulb was inserted through a tiny [filtered word] in the vellum or what. Where does the light bulb go? In the photo, it looked like velum was rounded on the bottom and formed a "bowl bottom" effect. Please be more specific in the directions. Photos of each step would be helpful.
    Thank you,

  • laurenmacc 20 Feb, 2009

    lesvan -- they look like they are Harry Bertoia's classic Diamond Chairs. You can google it and get orignials or reproductions

  • faith929luv 6 Sep, 2008

    Eco-friendly tip: use LED mini-lights.

  • faith929luv 6 Sep, 2008

    Eco-friendly tip: use rice paper instead

  • lesvan 19 Apr, 2008

    is there a way to find out where I can buy the chairs in the picture?? my email is