These DIY string light poles are extra sturdy and they look unlike any string light poles we’ve seen, with tree trunks taking the place of wooden or metal poles in the concrete bases.
Jessica Gregg, one of the three “Sorelle Sisters” of J. Sorelle, created these string light poles for our Cement DIY Challenge– with concrete being an important ingredient in the project. The lights are a lovely addition to her rustic and nature-inspired patio decor.
If you don’t have Aspen tree trunks, you can certainly use regular wooden or metal poles. You can also use these concrete bases for volleyball nets, tether ball poles, umbrella stands, or anything of that sort.
Follow the easy step-by-step instructions to create your own string light poles, and take inspiration from the rest of Jessica’s patio decorating ideas.
DIY String Light Poles
I love DIY projects, but I have never worked with cement before this Home Depot Cement DIY Challenge. As is the case prior to any challenge, I was slightly intimidated, yet eagerly said, “Bring it on!” Having had no experience with concrete, I finished this project having learned five things.
1. Concrete is heavy.
2. Concrete is easy to work with.
3. I love my DIY concrete light stands.
4. I want to create more with concrete.
5. I can shop at The Home Depot all day.
I live in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, where the landscape is covered in snow 75 percent of the year; the other 25 percent is sunny and wonderful! My family and I try to spend as much time as possible outside during the warm summer months before the chill of winter returns.
My goal was to create an affordable and cozy outdoor setting for the whole family to enjoy alfresco dining. I wanted backyard ambiance, too.
For my DIY Challenge, I created DIY string light poles to hang a strand of clear globe lights across our outdoor picnic table. For this post, it really was all ’bout that bass…that concrete base.
We created an organic setting in the newly lit outdoor space to compliment the surroundings. The centerpiece on our picnic table is an herb and vegetable garden, and the place settings are fresh carrots and a radish, along with a DIY custom initial wood slice.
The space also holds sentimental value for me because the trees I set inside the concrete bases were cut down from my Nani and Papa’s house. Now, I have a piece of them in my backyard, which is special for me.
Here’s how you can easily do this, too.
- 5o lb. Quikrete Fast-Setting Cement
- Herbs and vegetable plants
- Wood planter
- Outdoor Clear Hanging Garden String Lights
- 2 — 5-gallon buckets
- Aspen tree trunks, or wood
Prep your 5-gallon buckets with WD-40. Spray it generously to cover the entire inside of the buckets.
Follow directions on the Quickrete bag. We used approximately ¾-gallon of water per bucket, which is more than advised on the bag (½ gallon), but you can adjust as need be.
Pour ¼ or slightly more of the cement into the bucket, then add a small amount of water and mix well.
Repeat until you have used the entire bag of cement, and make sure it’s mixed well. This is quick-setting cement, so work in a swift manner. Once the cement is mixed well, insert the tree trunk fully into the center of the cement mixture.
Make sure the trunk is straight, and hold it in place for about 15-20 minutes, until it no longer moves. The concrete will not be dry in 15 minutes, but it will hold it in place.
Repeat this same step with the other bucket. The cement is fast-setting, and our trees were set after about 45 minutes to one hour; however I recommend waiting at least 12 hours before removing from the buckets to ensure the trunks stay in place.
After 12 hours, you can do on of two things.
1. Lightly hammer the sides of the bucket to loosen the edges of the concrete from the bucket and remove from the bucket.
2. Use a utility knife to cut the buckets from the top to bottom for a clean break.
We chose option #2 just because it was heavy, and easier for us to remove.
Place the concrete stands where you want them to be.
Drill a small, shallow hole into the top of each trunk, and screw in small hooks.
Hang the string lights from hook to hook.
Plant the herbs and vegetable plants in the wood planter box with a little garden soil. Recruit the kids to help.
Set the table, using the planter box as a centerpiece, and fresh vegetables and wooden accessories as place settings.
Prepare the food, and enjoy.
While we planned dinner dates with friends and family, the kids made sure the new space was up to par…and I think it passed with flying colors.
Photography: j. sorelle
See more photos of these unique string light poles and this rustic patio at Jessica’s blog.
This string light pole project is part of our Cement DIY Challenge series here on The Home Depot Blog. We challenged some of our favorite DIY and decor bloggers to come up with a DIY projects using cement.
Jessica Gregg is one of the three sisters of j. sorelle, a blog about lifestyle, entertaining and DIY and craft projects. Jessica lives in Colorado.
Check out more DIY projects here on The Home Depot Blog. Browse our Cement, Concrete and Masonry Department for your next project involving concrete.