Skip to Content

How to String Lights in a Tent | No Need for Tools

Please share!

*This post may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclaimer for additional details..

String lights are extremely popular, and it seems like almost anyone who puts up a party tent or a camping tent wants to hang string lights from them.

Tents are great for keeping people safe from the elements but figuring out exactly how to string lights in them may pose a challenge.

Whether you are camping or having a party in your backyard, in a state park, or on a campground, at some point someone will suggest adding string lights to your tent. Lucky for you, there are several ways to string lights in a tent without needing any tools.

Little girl playing acoustic guitar under the tent

You do not have to be an experienced outdoor enthusiast to equip your tent with lights.

String lights are great additions to any tent and with a little help, you can easily string lights on your own, in your own tent, and without any tools.

Why Do You Need String Lights in a Tent?

The truth is, you do not have to have string lights on your tent, but you need them if you want to add some flair and glow.

Not only are string lights beautiful on any type of tent, but they also provide just enough light to see the immediate area around your tent when darkness falls.

orange lighted inside tent on mountain above city

Many people add string lights to their tents to add a little light without illuminating the entire outdoors.

String lights are for those people who want to preserve the nature around them while adding some ambiance to the mix.

There is no denying that when you walk up to a party tent or camping tent and see string lights, you know whoever hung them means business.

For some reason, these lights seem to enhance any activity where they show up.

Are String Lights Safe for a Tent?

String lights are safe for a tent if you take some precautions and keep an eye on things. Depending on how your string lights are powered, there is a small chance of fire or electrical shock.

When stringing lights on your tent, it is important to check the wiring and make sure there are no areas where the wires are exposed.

You should also be careful not to allow the lights to touch the tent canopy or any other cloth-like material.

Although the string lights should not produce enough heat to cause a fire, the important thing is to prevent any issues beforehand.

How to String Lights in a Tent Without Tools

The good news is that you do not need any tools to string lights on your tent, but you may need some accessories and a few pointers.

The following are five ways to string lights in a tent without tools.

Wrap Lights Around the Tent Frame

Tent with burning torch, lamps and wooden chair at glamping

The easiest option, especially if you do not have any accessories to help tie up the lights, is to simply wrap the lights around the tent frame.

You can just weave the lights around the tent frame being careful not to wrap them too tightly.

If you use this method, make sure none of the lights come in contact with the fabric part of the tent, just to be safe.

Also, keep in mind that the closer you wrap the lights, the less distance they will go.

When you wrap your string lights around the frame, you will find it pretty easy to remove them when needed; however, it may take a bit to unwrap them while also trying to prevent tangling.

Use Zip Ties

Black Plastic Zip ties

If you have zip ties on hand, you can use those to secure string lights to a tent frame.

Since string lights are not very heavy, you will only need a few zip ties for each side of the tent.

Use a zip tie wherever you see the string lights starting to hang lower than you would like.

You can use the zip ties to string the lights snuggly in a straight line across the frame, or you can allow them to droop a little in between each segment.

If you opt for zip ties, be sure to keep some scissors or a knife on hand to remove the zip ties when you need to take down the string lights.

Zip ties are almost impossible to remove by hand alone.

Use Velcro Strips

Roll of Velcro Tape on Gray Metal Surface

You can also use Velcro strips to secure your string lights to your tent by wrapping the Velcro strip around the lights and the frame.

Unlike zip ties, Velcro strips are reusable, and you can even leave them on your tent frame after each time you remove the string lights.

You can space the Velcro ties evenly apart along the tent frame.

Just like with the zip ties, you can secure the lights in a straight line, or you can let them hang a little between each Velcro strip.

If you use Velcro strips to string your lights, you will have a much easier time removing the string lights when needed than you will with zip ties or wrapping the lights around the frame.

Use Magnetic Light Clips

Magnetic light clips are made to clip onto the back of the individual string light sockets.

Once you secure the clips on every light or every other light, you can string the lights easily by connecting each magnetized light to the metal frame of your tent.

Hanging Christmas lights on roof edge with plastic clips

This will only work on metal-framed tents, so if your tent is made of another type of material, such as PVC, then this method will not work on your tent.

If you do have a metal tent, you will absolutely love how easy the lights are to hang once you connect the magnetic clips.

If you have very heavy lights, where each bulb is much larger than the standard Christmas light, then it is important to know these magnets may not work as well due to the weight of each light.

Use Twine Ties

Another option is to use twine ties to string your lights to your tent. You can buy twine in large rolls, and you likely will not need more than one or two rolls.

You will need scissors or a knife to cut each twine piece or cut them ahead of time and store them in a bag or container.

braided twine tied in a bow knot

You will need to measure the diameter of the frame you intend to secure the lights to just to make sure you are able to securely tie each twine string.

You can secure the string lights more tightly in a straight line or allow them to hang down in between each tie.

What Type of String Lights Should You Use in a Tent?

There are several different types of string lights that you can choose from, so make sure you select the correct one based on your specific needs.

Solar String Lights

Solar string lights are very popular, and they are a great option for most people.

All you need to do is make sure the solar panel gets sunlight while you are walking, so they collect enough electrical energy to power your lights.

Lamp garland of light bulbs on a tree branch

You do not have to plug in solar-powered lights, which makes them much easier to string up since you do not need to worry about making sure they reach the power source.

You will also save on power and batteries since they run on sunlight.

Battery-Operated String Lights

Battery-operated string lights are another great option for tents since you do not need an electrical outlet.

The only downfall is that you will need to replace the batteries every now and then, but just remember to keep backup batteries on hand.

 battery operated lights

This type of string light set is great when you do not have time to set up your solar lights during the day or an electrical power source is unavailable.

If you have the correct size of batteries, you can use battery-powered string lights anytime and anywhere.

Plug-In String Lights

string lights on a tree at night decorations

Of course, plug-in string lights are exactly what you think; you must plug them into an electrical power source.

These string lights are a little more difficult to hang and you will likely need an outdoor extension cord.

As you hang this type of string light, you will need to keep in mind where the electrical outlet is so that you can make sure it will reach the power source.

The downfall of these lights is that if you cannot find an electrical outlet nearby, you may not be able to use them at all.

Final Thoughts

Stringing lights in a tent is relatively easy, even without using any tools. All you need is some zip ties, Velcro ties, or an open frame that will allow you to intertwine the lights around it.

It does not matter what type of tent you are stringing lights in, now you know exactly how to get the job done.


I used my own experience camping in tents and setting up party tents, as well as the following sources to craft this article.

Please share!