DIY: Paper Cube String Lights

December 17th, 2010

I love string lights and their endless possibilities. I wanted a little something special to drape over our headboard, and a row of glowing paper cubes turned out to be just the thing!

diy paper cube string lights

First get a string of 20 lights (use LED lights if you are worried about this being a fire hazard) and 20 square pieces of paper (I used 8.5″ x 8.5″).

Then fold 20 cubes like this. (Click the image to zoom.)

diy paper cube string lights

Then poke each light into a paper cube. No glue necessary!

diy paper cube string lights

Easy and lovely! What more could you want?

diy paper cube string lights


  1. What a fantastic idea! Thanks for sharing the detailed how-to.

  2. Shawn

    Incredible and beautiful. I love them.

  3. Aaron

    Wow, these are pretty awesome!

  4. I was just trying to remember how to make an oragami box this afternoon!
    this is a great idea!

  5. Dear Wit and Whistle,

    I have featured this DIY project on my blog as I loved it so much and wanted to share it with my friends! I hope this is ok with you. Please contact me if it is not, and I will gladly remove the post. :)

    x Emmy

  6. I am the editor-in-chief of the monthly art newsletter, Balch Springs Unbound {} and I would love to feature this tutorial in our April issue. I hope that is ok? :)

  7. Wow! Magnifique! Thank you for sharing this great project.

  8. What a clear and exciting demo – very very good and such fun. I lov ethese atmospheric yet simple lights! So bewitching! Alison

  9. Thanks. What a great DIY. I followed your great instructions and this is the result:

  10. a must on my DIY day tomorrow, hope that’s okay! so sweet!


  11. Hannah

    these are so cute! i really want to make them for my apartment. I was wondering though if there is any danger of the paper burning?

    • wit & whistle

      Mine haven’t caught on fire, but I don’t leave them on for very long, and I don’t leave them unattended. You can always use LED lights to cut down on the fire risk, since LED lights don’t put off as much heat.

  12. Daniel

    i love it,but i can´t do step 15!! can someone help me??

    • wit & whistle

      To get to step 15 you just unfold what you have for step 14 a little bit. Essentially step 14 is just a squished version of step 15. You could probably just find the hole in step 14, blow in it, and skip 15 all together. Hopefully that helps!

  13. Daniel

    thanks for the help, it really works

  14. Frances

    I can’t seem to get my flaps to fit neatly in the folds like 13 and 14. What am I doing wrong?

  15. belen (from Argentina!)

    Hey! I love this! Thank you so much. I’m doing a bunch at the moment but I can’t seem to understand step 13. Anybody? Could you help me? Thanks!

  16. wit & whistle

    It’s kind of hard to describe how to fold things aside from showing a picture, so for those of you that are having trouble try Googling “origami balloon” for more tutorials. Maybe looking at a different set of instructions will help clarify the steps you’re stuck on.

  17. belen (from Argentina!)

    Did it! Thanks a lot!

  18. I put these on my patio lights and the turned out awesome! thanks! the instructions were easy to follow as well :)

  19. These are so lovely! I made a bunch tonight and shared them and this tutorial on my blog. Thank you!

  20. Loving this creative diy idea using normal string lights. Curious to know what other origmi shapes could be used – dragons, roses, endless possibilities. Such a versatile idea.

    I shared your tutorial on my blog here:

    When I fly home I am definitely going to be trying your other string light diy project, the one with the wine bottle. With so many different wine bottle shapes and colors, there will be a nice variety of lighting effects.

  21. You’re very creative! It’s very easy. and It’s perfect because Christmas is coming! I love it.

  22. Awesome idea! Can’t wait to share this with our friends on the JICC, Embassy of Japan’s Facebook page (>_<)Arigatou, ne!

  23. Thanks for the idea & easy instructions! I followed them and got nice christmas lights: (I added a link to your blog in the text).

  24. Wow. Perfect thing to discover on a Sunday – going to make them today! And I normally dislike little fairly lights. Thank you :)

  25. Pat

    Amazing!!! Thank you :)

  26. Rebecca Skelton

    i love these… im in the process of making them now… but will they set on fire??? xx

    • Amanda (wit & whistle)

      Mine haven’t, but if you are worried just use LED lights since they don’t get hot.

  27. sara

    Hi, we’d love to do this with origami cranes as part of our upcoming wedding (my fiance’s family is Japanese-Hawaiian. Any chance you could make a tutorial for that? I’m wondering how they’d fit on the light.

    • Amanda (wit & whistle)

      Unfortunately I don’t think this would work with paper cranes since they aren’t hollow.

  28. suzeannadanna

    I think cranes would be amazing also – I bet a crane could be designed that was hollow. in addition to or instead of a sting of lights you could make a swirling chandelier / mobile – whatever shape – and whatever colors -

  29. jazmin

    I love this idea and I would love to try it but I don’t get steps 11- 13 could you please explain?

    • Amanda (wit & whistle)

      It’s kind of hard to describe how to fold things aside from showing a picture, so you might try Googling “origami balloon” for more tutorials. Maybe looking at a different set of instructions will help clarify the steps you’re stuck on. :)

    • Zee

      I had to stare at it for a couple of minutes…basically all you do is take the loose portion (the side you can actually move the other side you can’t)fold that up and out to make an upside down triangle and then you fold that upside down triangle in half taking the extra piece hanging off the side and fold it inward and then tuck that it into the middle (the little pocket) of the piece it is on top of…and repeat
      I hope this helps others :)

  30. giovana

    Hey! I just loved the simplicity of this project so I did that for my room :D hugs from Brazil

  31. Beverly

    For those who are having a bit of trouble with the ‘flat pics’ like I did, here is a great how to on successful completion of the lantern cubes.

    Thank you wit & whistle for posting this cute light lantern.

  32. what do you do with 11 and 12??

  33. LOVE THIS…. so much so that I re-created my own version and posted about it on Little Miss Mama. COME SEE <3 Thanks so much for the idea. YOU'RE a Genius!


  34. LOVE! Just shared on my blog as NYE inspiration! Thank you!

  35. Barbora

    Hi, I can´t do steps 11 – 13. Can you help mi with it please?

  36. Ann

    love your DIY. I’ve just made ​​one for my daughter and shared your great DIY on my blog. Hope that’s okay: o)

    Best regards


  37. Susan

    I tried to make these. Let me say, the photo instructions start off great but lose something around step 8. I wasn’t sure what needed to be stuck where and so on. When all is said and done, not really my cup of tea. Too wrinkly. I do appreciate your taking the time to make the directions for us. Thank you very much.

  38. Dorie

    At first I couldn’t get pass step 13, I had to look at it for a few minutes only I understand, then I’m stuck at step 15 again only to realize I just need to blow through the hole.

    This is a wonderful guide, I’m gonna make one and hang over head bed.

    Thanks <3

  39. noor

    what I really love about it is that the lights you used are really small, (or does it just seems to?) and i wondered where you bought them?
    definitely going to make them!

    • Amanda (wit & whistle)

      They are just regular sized Christmas lights. I can’t remember where I bought them—it has been so long since I made this!

  40. Steph

    This is really really awesome. I don’t get steps 11-13 and 15 though. But other than that, thank you!! :)

  41. Rhiannon

    I’m confused on how u get from 6-7?!? A video woud really help

  42. Thank you so much for the tutorial ! Those cubes are so cute ! :)

  43. Laura

    I make these “waterbombs” out of Xmas papers and put them on my tree and in other areas that I am decorating with lights and garland. Dresses things up and customizes with a minimum of work!

  44. Gloria (Trinidad & Tobago)

    Thank you for this step by step tutorial. The results were fantastic!

  45. Tasleem (Dallas, TX)

    I absolutely loved the idea! I’m making mine now and can’t wait to see the finished product :)

  46. Hey Amanda! I really love your blog and recently mentioned this post on your blog in an article I wrote. It’s about String Light DIYs and it’s for a company I intern in. It would mean the world to me if you can check it out. Your creative DIYs never seize to inspire me :)

I love your comments more than I love chocolate (almost).


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