How to Hang String Lights

How to hang string lights

The inviting glow of our vintage string lights can make any outdoor gathering all the more magical. And when you leave them up year-round, you’re always ready for a get-together with friends.

As long as you have the right tools on hand, installing string lights can be a very simple project. However, there are a few considerations you’ll want to take into account beforehand.


First, if you’re stringing your lights across the yard, rather than around the perimeter of a porch ceiling, for example, then it’s best to secure your string lights to a tension wire for additional support.

Secondly, make sure you have secure anchor points for your light strands. Your porch roof, a tree or even an umbrella stand can all work as anchors. Our starting point was inside a pergola. From the corner of the roof, we ran a tension wire with the string lights across the yard that attached to a pole firmly planted in the ground (and cleverly camouflaged by shrubbery).

Lastly, measure the distance to see how many strands you’ll need. Please consult your instructions to see how many strands you can safely connect to one another. It’s typically 3 to 4 strands.

Once you’ve got your game plan — and your lights, of course — you’re ready to install. Let’s get started.


Step 1:  Install the tension wire.

We made a loop on one end of the wire using wire clamps and attached the loop to our anchor point, the pergola roof, using a screw hook. We ran the wire and secured it to the second anchor point, the pole.


Step 2: Secure first end of strand lights to first anchor point.

We ran part of a strand inside the top of the pergola. Depending on the type of lights you have, you may need an eye bolt. We were able to hang our lights from a screw.


Step 3: Hang string lights from wire.

To secure our vintage string lights to the wire, we used cable ties. If you are using more than one strand, connect each end to continue installation to the next anchor point.

Now it’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy the cozy ambiance of your new string lights! You should probably invite a few friends over, too.

 Find more How To basics on or browse ideas on our Pinterest boards. 

How to Decorate Team

How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.



  1. Reply


    May 13, 2016

    What size wire and clamps did you use??

  2. Reply


    February 22, 2016

    HI, I recently bought two strands of these great Vintage lights for my restaurant. Wanted to see how pretty the bulbs looked before hanging and quite a few of the sockets are not working😕 Am I doing something wrong ? Has anyone else had this problem or did I get a lemon?

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      February 22, 2016


      I am so sorry to hear this! Please send us your contact information so we can fix them. Send your information, and order # if you have it, to

      We definitely want to get you so working lights!

      The How to Decorate Team

  3. Reply


    November 2, 2015

    I am going to be running 4 lines of light strings of varying lengths across my screen enclosure above my pool. Each line will be starting from the same corner and will be plugged into an outlet high in the corner. The different line lengths are 27′, 32′, 26′, and 21′. Do you sell these custom lengths or is there a way to shorten the 30′ lengths? I don’t want any over hang of lights.


    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      November 5, 2015

      Hi Chuck,
      Unfortunately we do not sell custom links of our Vintage String Lights, and we don’t recommend shortening them.

  4. Reply


    October 25, 2015

    I am concerned that you have shown plastic zip-ties to connect the string lights to the stranded cable. I know these cable or zip ties will deteriorate and will eventually give way under the sun, especially here in South Texas. I am worried these will break and my lights will fall to the ground after a period of time. Any other ideas for securing the string lights to the cable?