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DIY Portable String Light Posts

Do you love those fun string lights hanging over a patio or garden area? I do too and I’ve wanted some for so long but we don’t have anything to attach them to. Also, I didn’t want to have a bunch of poles PERMANENTLY blocking my view of the Ponds. What to do, What to do?

Here’s how we built our portable light posts and what we learned along the way. Yes, we made some mistakes but all is well that ends well. Follow along and I’ll share all the dirty details.

Step 1 – find containers

We first found some 5 gallon buckets to use as bases for the portable posts to sit in. We got lucky and found these in a trash pile.

Trash to treasure - Using trashed buckets, we made portable string light posts for our patio area.  Farmhouse style and country living.
Step 2 – Paint the Buckets

Next, I painted the buckets with a gray spray paint in order to conceal the beautiful graphics. You can’t complain about the graphics when they are free buckets, but since these buckets will be used around our concrete patio area, I wanted the color to blend with the area. If you love trash to treasure projects, you may enjoy this one here.

Step 3 – add posts

For this project we choose to use 8 foot round posts because they were lighter weight and less expensive than a 4×4 post. We used a 50 lb. bag of Quikrete concrete mix for each bucket.

Step 4 – level and brace posts

Once you have the poles in the concrete, it’s important to make sure they are level and braced to allow the concrete to set up. We choose to place the posts along the back side of our outdoor kitchen and use nails attached to the beams to hold the posts in place.

Step 5 – Attach Hardware

After a few days, the posts were securely set in the concrete and it was time to attach the hardware. For this step we used heavy duty Eye Screw Hooks and snap hooks to attach the string lights to the post.

Begin by using a cordless drill and drilling a pilot hole near the top of the post, approx. 1 inch from the top. Now attach an eye screw hook into each pilot hole.

Then you can attach one of the snap hooks to each eye screw and these will be used to attach the string lights.

Step 6 – place Portable String Light Posts in Position

Everything had been going as planned until this step. Here are some lessons that we learned during this process. First, the portable post must be placed on a solid and level surface because soft ground or any sloop will result in the pole tipping once any weight or pressure is put on the post. In addition, you may need to add some anchors to the posts to prevent this from happening. We added an additional Eye Screw Hook to the post and used a metal stake and nylon cord to anchor any of the poles that didn’t feel stable. Note: Although all the posts didn’t need the anchors, as a precaution we anchored them all anyway. The weight of your lights and distance between each pole will be a factor in determining whether anchors are needed.

The DIY Portable String Light Posts may need additional anchors to prevent tipping.  Perfect for the patio area.  Country Life, Farmhouse Style
We had one post that carried the most weight due the distance between the posts and as added security, we anchored it twice. Better safe than sorry is our motto.
Step 6 – Attach your string Lights to the Portable Poles

Finally, use the snap hooks at the top of the poles to attach your string lights. We had a large area to cover and used two sets of lights. We also invested in a dimmer for more subdued lighting.

DIY Portable String Light Posts made from trashed buckets and wooden posts look great over the patio area.  Farmhouse Style, Country life

When attaching the String Lights, it’s important that they are pulled tight so they don’t sag. We found that the time and energy to set up of the posts and string lights was a little more involved than we had hoped it would be. Therefore, moving them around to other locations on the property will not be as easy as we had originally planned. Although the portable string light poles are not as portable as we had originally anticipated, we are loving the new look for our patio area.

Fun Outdoor entertaining area gets new string lights with these DIY portable posts.

This view of the outdoor entertaining area and kitchen makes all the hard work so worth it. If you’d like to see more before and afters of the outdoor kitchen, link here.

DIY Portable String Light Posts made from trashed buckets and wooden posts look great over the patio area.  Farmhouse Style, Country life
Take a look at the first Fall event we hosted using the new lighting here.
DIY Portable String Light Posts made from trashed buckets and wooden posts look great over the patio area.  Farmhouse Style, Country life Outdoor Kitchen and entertaining area.  Alfresco Dining, Fire Pit, outdoor Dining Area

Va in NC

Tuesday 7th of September 2021

I just love this!!! So creative ... going on my wish list. Thank you so much for sharing all the details for us. Will make anyone who does this job easier. Kindness is great.

I would like to know what length between posts would you consider the max one should go.

Thank you again for sharing your beautiful creativity.

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Wednesday 8th of September 2021

It's really an individual choice. I try to post a min. of 3 times a week. Some times more depending on my calendar.

Michelle @ The Painted Hinge

Thursday 3rd of September 2020

Oh wow I just love this! It looks so pretty at night! Thanks so much for sharing it with us at Farmhouse Friday!

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Thursday 3rd of September 2020

Michelle, Thanks so much. Rachel

Miche Ortega

Tuesday 25th of August 2020

That looks fabulous! I will definitely be trying this on our small patio. Thank you.

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Tuesday 25th of August 2020

Miche, If your patio is small, this will be a much easier project. Our problem was the distance between each post. Thanks for stopping by.


Sunday 23rd of August 2020

Rachel, this looks so soothing & inviting! I’m wanting to string lights around our pool. I hadn’t thought of the lights & poles being in our view all the time. We dont want to block the deer:)! My husband just retired!. I’m so looking forward to doing projects! I’ve already told him I want an outdoor shower like yours 😂 I better progress slowly so I don’t scare him off! Thanks for all you share. I love how you & your husband work together, we think that’s fun too! Enjoying country life together☺️

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Sunday 23rd of August 2020

Phyllis, We are very happy with the results but portable is a bit of an exaggeration. LOL Good luck with your projects. BTW! The outdoor shower was about as easy as these lights. Rachel


Saturday 22nd of August 2020

Beautiful, good job!

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Sunday 23rd of August 2020

Darlene, I really appreciate your comments. Thanks for stopping by. Rachel