80 Cheap & Easy Outdoor Christmas Decorating Ideas - Page 2 of 3 - Backyard Boss
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80 Cheap & Easy Outdoor Christmas Decorating Ideas

Table of Contents

Make Snowflakes out of Plastic Clothes Hangers

Clothing Hangers
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Many of us have a collection of clothes hangers tucked in the back of our closets, adding to them from each time we head out shopping for clothing. To make these large decorative snowflakes, you will need 16 plastic hangers, zip ties, a glue gun, scissors, and any decorations that you want to add to the final product to bring it to life. To begin, you take 8 hangers and lay them in a circle, alternating between placing them base to base and hook to hook. With your zip ties, secure each of the hangers in place.

Do the same with your remaining hangers as a second layer, however, this time you should place the base connections over the hook connections and vice versa. After all your hangers are zip-tied together, tie a large ribbon loop to the top to hang it. You can decorate your snowflake by adding tinsel or white battery-powered lights, giving it a little extra shine. These large snowflakes look great hanging from tree branches or the along your exterior walls.

Line Your Front Walk with Ice Lanterns

Ice lantern
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A great way to bring the holiday spirit to your outdoor walkway or entry stairs is by adding a festive glow with your own DIY ice lanterns. This is a fun activity for the whole family, simple enough for even young children to participate. For each lantern, you will need two containers of different sizes, small weights for the inner container, water, a battery-operated tea light, and decorations.

Fill the larger container approximately ¾ full before sitting the smaller container in the middle. Use your weights to hold the container down in the water leaving a narrow base between the bottoms of the two containers. Place small items in the water to decorate your lantern. In addition to small ornaments or figures, you can also add glitter, beaded garland, evergreen boughs, holly berries, or food coloring. When you’re done decorating, allow your lantern to freeze though. Remove the lantern from both containers and place your battery-operated tea-light in the space created in the middle of the smaller container.

The great thing about these lanterns is that they will continue to stand strong as long as the winter temperatures remain. As the weather starts to warm up, your lanterns will melt away leaving the ornaments behind to be used again next year.

Hang Garland to Create a Tree on Your Exterior Walls

Christmas tree garland on the wall
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Holiday garland is a great low-cost decorating option, readily available at your local dollar tree or budget shop. There are a wide variety of different styles and colors ranging from traditional garland designed to look like gathered evergreen boughs to brightly colored tinsel, meaning that it is a decorating solution that can be made to fit any space. One way that you can use garland creatively is to hang it on a large flat surface, like an exterior wall, creating an image or design such as a Christmas tree, a snowflake, or a large festive tree ornament. Combine the garland with a string of LED lights before hanging it to add some additional sparkle to your holiday display.

Create Light Balls with Chicken Wire

roll of chicken wire
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Do you have a large yard space that you are looking to decorate? Larger ornaments and decorations often come with a larger price tag, especially if you’re purchasing something that includes lighting for a fun nighttime display. However, if you have access to chicken wire, these holiday light balls are a cheap yard decoration that will impress the whole neighborhood.

Cut a large rectangle of chicken wire with a length and width ratio of 2:1. The larger your chicken wire, the larger the light ball. Bring the ends of the cylinder together and secure them, then form a ball shape by carefully bending the ends in. Once you are happy with the shape, it’s time to start adding your lights. Carefully wrap your LED Christmas lights around the light ball, spacing them out to create an even ball of color when the lights are glowing. Not only will the ball itself glow beautifully when the sun goes down, but they will also shine their bright light over the snow around them. Combine light balls of different sizes and colors to create an impressive holiday display.

Add Evergreen Boughs and Holiday Decorations to Your Flowerpots

flowerpots Evergreen Boughs
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If you are an avid gardener with potted flowers on display during the warmer months, this is a great option to repurpose those pots for a little extra holiday cheer. Festive planters are often for sale this time of year, but the cost can add up if you’re looking to add multiple planters to your yard. Instead, you can make your own by following these simple steps. Gather up some branches and evergreen boughs and arrange them in the pot to fill out the space as evenly as possible. When you’re happy with the arrangement, add garland and Christmas lights in and around the pot. Finally, you can add some Christmas ornaments and a large decorative bow at the front to tie it all together.

Transform Plastic Garden Ornaments with Spray Paint

Dwarf Garden Ornament
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With the arrival of the colder winter weather, many stores are now selling off their garden ornaments and basic yard decorations at an all-time low. You can leverage these clearance prices to create some fun and unique holiday decorations with spray paint and a few holiday accessories. Choose a few cute holiday animals such as a deer or a bear. Choose a color of spray paint that will match with the rest of your holiday decorations, such as a bright Christmas red or an elegant gold, and paint the decorations, covering any existing details on the ornaments. When the paint has dried, add a little festive cheer with your holiday accessories such as tying a holiday-themed ribbon around their neck with some evergreen boughs attached, or wrapping some LED lighting around. These decorations are a great way to add some fun to your garden or front porch.

Decorate with Inexpensive Lanterns

Christmas Lantern
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When you’re out shopping this holiday season, keep your eyes open for lanterns on sale. You can often find these popular holiday decorations in craft stores or thrift shops. The great news about using lanterns in your decorating plans is that they can easily be adapted to any holiday, event, or decorating style simply by changing the items that you place inside. For a whimsical Christmas display, fill your lantern with brightly colored holiday ornaments and colorful LED lights. If you prefer a more traditional decorating scheme, place some evergreen boughs and holly berries around the base of the lantern and finish the look with a tall battery-powered pillar candle in the center. When the holidays are over, you can either pack your lanterns away until next year or start looking for items to represent the next holiday on your calendar.

Repurpose Inflatable Balls to Make Oversized Ornaments

Christmas tree near the window, inflatable gold balls. new year 2019
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We’ve all heard the phrase ‘go big or go home’, but have you ever considered applying that to your holiday decorating? Your house will be the talk of the neighborhood with these giant ornaments on display. They can be hung from garland on your patio or from an outdoor tree or placed in your yard to add a pop of color to any space. To make your oversized ornaments, you will need a large plastic children’s ball, a small deli container, wire, and E5000 glue.

Carefully poke two holes opposite one another close to the base of the deli container. Place the container upside down in front of you. Take the wire and create a large wire loop extending above the container using the holes to secure it to the container. Spray paint this continuer silver or gold, depending on which color best fits your decorating scheme. Put a thin line of E5000 glue around the opening of the container and securely place it on your ball. When the glue has had time to dry, you can now display your ornaments for all to see.

String Popcorn for Decorative Garland and Feed Local Wildlife

Handmade Popcorn Garland on Indoor Christmas Tree
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Not only does this traditional decoration allow you to create a fun and festive display without breaking the bank, but it’s also a great way to care for your local wildlife. The practice of stringing popcorn to make decorative garlands can be traced back throughout history before we were even considering the invention of modern garland and LED Christmas lights. During the winter months, birds, squirrels, and other wildlife face a greater struggle in their search for food. A string of popcorn may not be enough to feed them all season, but it’s a helpful snack to help tide them over.

When selecting your thread, it is recommended that you use a strong upholstery thread. Avoid fishing line as it can pose a danger to wildlife after the popcorn has been eaten and it’s no longer visible. In addition to stringing popcorn, you can also include other festive items like cranberries and other types of fruit. Just make sure that you take the time to remove all of the string from your trees after the holiday season is over.

Hang a Pinecone Cluster from your Patio Lights

Brown Pinecones Composition Closeup Background
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If you have pine trees on your property, then there is a good chance that you have a large supply of pinecones laying on the ground every year. When it comes to low-cost holiday decorating, these are a great option. Take the time to gather them up and give them time to dry safely indoors. Using a hot glue gun, attach a small length of ribbon to the base of 6 or 7 pinecones. Tie all these ribbons together allowing them to hang at slightly different levels yet close together. Finish the look by attaching a large decorative bow to cover the knot. This simple decoration can be hung on your door as a wreath alternative or from the bottom of your porch lights for a rustic or traditional decorating aesthetic.

Make Tomato Cage Christmas Trees of All Colors

Colorful tomato cage
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Are you looking for fun Christmas tree ideas that can be customized to match any porch display? If so, this is a great option. You can make adorable mini-Christmas trees using a wire tomato cage from the dollar store and some festive garland. Turn the tomato cage upside down so that the stakes of the cage are sticking up in the air. Tape these ends together, making the cage into a cone shape. Attach your garland to the bottom wire, at the base of the tomato cage, and carefully wrap it around until you reach the top. If you wish, you can then decorate your tree with lights and ornaments, or just leave it as is. If you are looking to go all out on your Christmas porch this year, consider making multiple trees in different colors and pairing them together as part of a larger holiday display.

Create an Ornament Display in Your Bird Bath

Bird Bath
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The birdbath in your front yard probably doesn’t bring feelings of the holiday season to mind. This doesn’t mean it can’t be part of your decorating plans this year! Have you ever considered turning it into a festive statement piece? Clear your birdbath out and use it as a staging area for an adorable holiday display by adding fresh greenery, pinecones, and holiday ornaments. You can incorporate some LED Christmas lights if you are looking for a little extra festive flair. Make sure that whatever you choose can handle being covered in snow for an extended period as your birdbath will contain any snow that falls in the coming weeks.

Share Festive Messages with Wire and String Lights

Illuminated Merry Christmas sign
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Share some holiday spirit with your whole neighborhood by displaying festive messages for everyone to enjoy. This is an easy DIY project that requires nothing more than a length of wire and some holiday lighting. Start by choosing a word that reminds you of the holiday season and selecting a font that fits with your overall decorating aesthetic. This can be done as large block letters or decorative cursive. Carefully bend your wire to the shape of your letters. If you are having a difficult time with this, consider writing the word out on paper in the size that you want your finished display to be and lay the wire on top of this stencil when bending it into shape. When you’re happy with the word, it’s time to add lights. You can use a rope light attached to the front of the wire, or wrap fairy lights around the wire, depending on what options you have available. Hang your message up on a wall or fence, plug in your lighting, stand back, and enjoy!

Turn Paper Lanterns into Holiday Ornaments

Two paper lanterns on Christmas Tree
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For these decorations, we are going to look at our summer décor stored away in the garage. If you use round paper lanterns during the warm weather to light up your patio or seating area, these same lanterns can be transformed into festive holiday ornaments for Christmas. The best part about this option is that the transformation can be done in a way that is temporary, allowing you to use them once again when patio weather returns.

You will need round deli-style containers or empty yogurt cups, depending on the size of your lanterns, to serve as the top of the ornament. Carefully poke a hole in the top of the container to allow the hanger from your lantern to be strung through, holding the container in place on top. Alternatively, if you have purchased cheap lanterns from the dollar store for this purpose, you can follow the instructions above for the giant ornaments to attach the top of your ornaments permanently. Spray paint your ornament top in silver or gold to match your style and hang your glowing ornaments to light up any space.

Recruit the Grinch for an Easy Light Display

Grinch figure
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Many of us have felt the struggle of the holiday season, where we want to decorate our home in a fun and festive way, but our time is limited. This comical option is proof that less is sometimes more. All you need is a single strand of Christmas lights and a cutout or figurine of the Grinch. Looking to DIY your display? You can cut out and paint a wooden cut out to stake in your yard! Sting half of your holiday lights along your porch or across the front of your fence, allowing the rest to hang down. Set up your Grinch by the hanging lights and place the end in his hands. Your family and friends will enjoy a laugh at the image of the Grinch removing your holiday décor right in front of their eyes.

Stick to the Basics and Build a Snowman

Funny Snowman on Sky Background
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Let’s take it back to the basics for a moment. Rather than investing a lot of money into holiday décor and yard ornaments, why not make use of the supplies that are freely available to use during the winter months? Building a snowman is a fun activity that we often associate with childhood, but it can be enjoyed at any age! This holiday season, gather the family to build a snowman in your yard and incorporate some festive accessories such as a Santa hat or holiday garland as a scarf. Not only will it be fun to create, but your snowy greeter will welcome your visitors and bring a smile to their faces. If you have a large yard, you can even go all out with a full snow family.

Repurpose Vines and Branches to Make a Traditional Wreath

Vine wreath and flowers
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Grapevine wreaths are a popular item during the holiday season, hanging from doorways across the country. They can often be purchased at a surprisingly low priced and decorated to match any holiday style. However, you can cut that cost down even further if you have vines growing in your yard. Gather all your vines up and give them a chance to soak in water. This will make it easier to bend the vines without breaking anything.

To start, create a circle with the start of a long vine, securing it with a small piece of wire. This will determine the size of your wreath. Start wrapping the vine around this original circle, occasionally looping it around or through vines that are already in place. When you reach the end of the vine, securely tuck the end into the wreath, then start another in the same way. Continue to add vines until your wreath reaches the size and level of fullness that you desire.

This same technique can be used with evergreen branches if you have them growing in your yard or available in a large enough quantity. Use a small piece of wire where needed in the beginning to create a solid foundation. As you continue to build out your wreath, secure the branches by looping them around one another to create a traditional wreath of greenery.

Make Single Board Snowmen

Wooden Board Background
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This adorable decoration is incredibly simple and will add a fun whimsical touch to your outdoor space. All you need is a single board of wood in the size that you want your snowman to be, a narrow piece of wood for the brim of his hat, some fabric for a scarf, and paint in white, black, and orange. To begin cut the corners back at the top of the board to give a slightly rounded effect. Mark a line on the board where you want the hat to end, then, moving down your board a little further, mark where the snowman’s head will end, and body will begin. Cut a small triangle into each side at this mark to create your snowman’s neck.

The real magic in this decoration comes with the painting. You want to paint your whole board white except for the top. Starting from the line that you drew for the base of the hat, paint the top black. You will also need to paint the small piece of wood for the brim of his hat black. After that paint has dried, go back in with your paint and create a festive snowman face with an orange carrot nose and a big smile. Glue or nail the piece of wood across the base of the hat and tie your scarf around your snowman’s neck to complete the look.

Transform Concrete Blocks into Holiday Gifts

Concrete Boxes
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Do you have any old concrete blocks sitting around your property from recent home improvement projects? If so, these can easily be repurposed as festive presents to add to your outdoor décor. They are also a great option for weighing down and securing other lightweight decorations, preventing them from blowing over during a winter storm.

All you need for this project is your concrete squares, painter’s tape, spray paint in two colors, and a large bow. To begin, spray paint stripes in your accent color along the sides of your box on both sides and along the top. Don’t worry too much about lines at this point as the following steps will clean it up. Using your painter’s tape, tape off the stripes that you want to keep. Spray paint the entire block in your main color and allow it to dry. As you remove the tape, your lines of ribbon will be revealed. Top your block with a large bow and it’s ready to display.

Paint Sticks and Branches to Create a Festive Display

White branch
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Would you believe that decorating for the holiday season could be as easy as displaying some branches that you found in your yard? All you need is a touch of paint and a little imagination. Choose a color of spray paint that will complement the rest of your outdoor décor. Larger, complex branches work as a great accent piece while smaller branches can easily be added to an outdoor planter or window box. If you want to dress them up a bit, consider draping a set of LED Christmas lights in the branches or hanging small, colorful ornaments.

Fill a Planter with Oversized Candy Canes

Christmas Candy Canes in Cup on Wooden Table
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Another surprisingly simple decoration, this cute collection of candy canes is a great way to add a festive touch to your front porch. Search your local thrift shops and bargain stores for an oversized vase in a color that matches your outdoor décor, or spray paint it the color that you desire. Wrap a ribbon around the neck of the vase, tying a large bow in the front. Finally, fill your vase with several decorative candy canes from your local dollar store. This can be used as a stand-alone decoration or incorporated in a larger holiday display. The best part about this option is that it can easily be updated to use as outdoor décor the rest of the year by changing the candy canes for something different that matches the season.

Turn Your Old Ice Skates into a Wreath Alternative

FREE Stylish christmas wreath, white wooden sleigh and ice skate
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If you’ve been holding onto a pair of skates that no longer fit, this is a great option for you! This holiday season, trade-in your standard holiday wreath for something a little different and outside the box. All you need is a pair of ice skates, some boughs of greenery, a large ribbon bow, and any other Christmas decorations that you’d like to include to match your decorating style. Take the laces of your ice skates and tie them together securely. You will hang your wreath from these laces, so be sure that they aren’t going to come apart. Taking your greenery, tuck the boughs into your ice skates like a vase, creating a festive display coming out of the top of each skate. This could also include holly berries, pinecones, or even some LED Christmas lights for a little holiday glow. When you hang your ice skates, place your large decorative bow up at the top of the laces to hide the nail or hook that it’s hanging from, and you have a beautiful wreath alternative.

Decorate an Older Wooden Ladder

The wooden ladder decorated with Christmas lights
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Antique wooden ladders are currently a popular decorating trend, often used for displaying blankets in a living room or bedroom space. However, these basic wooden ladders are also a great choice for creating a festive porch display. Set up the ladder leaning against the wall and then use it as a blank canvas, decorating it to fit with the rest of your outdoor decorations. You could wrap brightly colored Christmas lights around it, decorate it with garland, hang a wreath or stockings from it, or even string up ornaments on the steps. When the holiday season comes to an end, it can once again return to its off-season role of displaying blankets where they are easily accessible.

Hang Snowflakes Made from Paint Stir Sticks

Open Paint Can with Stir Stick
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To collect the supplies for this next DIY project, take a trip to your nearest home improvement store. Paint stir sticks are often given away for free with the purchase of a can of paint. But these disposable wooden sticks can be used to help transform your outdoor space into a Winter Wonderland. All you need is a pile of paint sticks, a glue gun, white spray paint, and a string of battery-operated Christmas lights.

Lay out your paint sticks in a way that resembles a large snowflake on the ground, overlapping each pain stick slightly. When you’re happy with your design, take your glue gun and glue everything together securely. Don’t worry if it’s not quite perfect. After all, no two snowflakes are the same! Spray paint the whole snowflake white, front and back. When the paint has dried, tie a ribbon to the top for hanging. It can be used as-is, or you can add some extra glow by wrapping your battery-operated lights around it before hanging it outside.

Freeze Water Balloons for Colorful Accents

Soap Bubbles Freeze in the Cold
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This is a fun way to include the kids in your holiday decorating plans while adding some bright colors to your front yard. For this project, you will need food coloring and balloons. Fill your balloons with water and add some food coloring to the water. You can stick with one color or let your kids mix and match as they see fit. This is a great way to teach color theory. Tie off the ends and place your water balloons in the freezer or outside in the snow, leaving them there until they have had a chance to freeze solid all the way through. Using a pair of scissors, cut the balloon off revealing the colorful ball of ice inside. These can be placed anywhere outside where they will remain on display until the warmer weather comes in, melting them down.

Create Starburst Ornaments out of Plastic Straws

Colorful drinking straws
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Many of us are guilty of hoarding drinking straws, tucking them away in a drawer in case we need them at some point down the road. While our intentions are good, they often sit there unused and forgotten. It’s time to dig those straws out and transform them into a fun Christmas tree ornament. For each ornament, you will need approximately 25 drinking straws, a zip tie, a pair of scissors, spray paint in your color of choice, and a string or ribbon to hang your ornament.

Trim your straws to remove any bendy ends and to make them all approximately the same length. They don’t have to be exact, but you need to remove any dramatic differences. Holding them together in a bundle, take your zip tie and pull it as tight as you can around the middle of the bundle. As you do this, you will notice the plastic straws starting to bend up towards one another in a starburst shape. You can bend each of the straws as needed to fill out your starburst. When you’re happy with the shape, spray paint your ornament in your chosen color and then add a string or ribbon for hanging. These are surprisingly quick making it easy to make many ornaments in a very limited time. They can be hung as ornaments or strung together to make a starburst-themed garland.

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