Glowing Jellyfish: Outdoor Halloween

Here we go again! It’s time for my Halloween tutorials!

I’m always working on our Halloween display. This year I decided I needed jellyfish! I love spooky stuff but the creepy, gory, sicko type stuff just doesn’t light my fire. However, glowing awesome jellyfish sounded way too cool to pass up! I got this idea several months ago and ordered what I needed in September. You really do need to think ahead if you are going to make something from scratch. There’s a lot of awesome stuff out there and and a lot of cheap ways to do it. But you’ve got to tie those two things together to be successful, and that usually takes some planning.

With just the black light. The light strings light up even without batteries when they are exposed to the black light bar I bought. These are not turned on in this picture.

This jellyfish idea is another one of my big, impressive, yet cheap to construct, projects. They were fairly easy to make. This is what you need:

A clear umbrella. (I bought a package of six here: )

Clear packing tape

Box of battery powered fairy lights (here: )

White netting (here: )

Long strips of bubble wrap. ( here: )

Two white, tall kitchen trash bags.

Saran wrap type cling wrap.

White wide ribbon. (here: )

T-post (from a big box hardware store)

Strong black duct tape (I used gorilla glue brand here: )

Optional: T-post driver. It is possible to pound in thinner posts but the heavy duty t-posts really need a driver.

Black light bar.

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To start: cut vents in the clear umbrella so wind doesn’t break them. I cut slices on every side that were 5 or 6 inches long on the umbrella. Then I reinforced the slit with packing tape. After you wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap you will need to cut the holes back open and tape the opening for more reinforcement.

I bought EL wire strip lights from ebay. I am impressed with them and also found them at a great price. If you want to use these they come in three pieces: a battery housing with connector, the splitters (I bought 5 split light strand connectors) and then I needed 5 of the actual light strands. You have to buy each piece separately. I was concerned that they might not match up because I bought the cheapest ones I could find, that ended up being different brands. However, it looks like they are pretty much generic and interchangeable. So all of my purchases work together.

I checked the lights, as I went, by going into our half bath and turning off the ceiling lights and turning on the jellyfish lights and the black light bar. You can see these EL lights look lit just with the black light. Something to consider if you’d rather not construct the 3 parts of the light string, the battery box and the splitters.

Next, I taped fairy lights into the canopy of the umbrella. I have found that I hate fairy lights. They are almost as frustrating to work with as chicken wire. But at least you don’t get all scratched up with fairy lights! I ran a long strand and looped it along two of the interior umbrella canopy sections. My umbrella had 8 sections so I used 4 battery operated fairy light strands. This was the most frustrating part of the jellyfish. Make sure you have easy access to all of the on/off switches for your lights.

You can see all of the switches are taped at about the same place so I can turn these on and off with ease.

Once the fairy lights are taped in (I only taped strips of the light string for a 3d effect.) put some cheap white netting into the umbrella canopy. I taped some of it down but it is mostly just loose in the top.

Next I took packing tape and taped across the canopy opening. This holds the netting in place but also is what I tied all of the hanging strips to.

I then tied a mix of things to the strips of packing tape that I ran across the opening of the umbrella. I used some things that I recommend using (strips of bubble wrap and strips of tall, white kitchen bags) and something that I don’t recommend (glittery, white. netting ribbon. It gets tangled and sticks to itself.) I ran all of the hanging strips in circles outward until I was happy with the look. I ended up using two shredded trash bags and a bunch of bubble wrap from a roll I had left over from a move. Then I had a layer of ribbon and I tied the bubble wrap into the umbrella with the loose ends of ribbon. I tied everything (that’s hanging down) instead of taping because I knew that wind would be rough on them.

In the daylight.

Then, per my previous experience with my packing tape ghost: I knew the canopy would show up better with lots of clear layers to reflect the black light. So, I sloppily ran plastic cling wrap around the exterior of the umbrella canopy and taped it as I went.

Lastly, drive your t-posts into the ground. Then get some help and have your helper hold the loose strands out of the way. Duct tape the umbrella handle securely to the T-post.

Get your tape tight and thick.

Here is the finished look:



This was really fun, and easy and cheap. I’m really glad I put some time into making these! They are currently my favorite part of my display!

Let me know if you make these and how they turned out for you!


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