Entertaining Ideas

Delight your guests with easy lanterns, stars on the lawn, and tablecloths that glow in the dark

STAR LANTERNS

White bags and vellum stars make festive lanterns. Use a star stencil and colored vellum to make red and blue stars. Glue them to white paper bags. For beautiful (and safe) illumination, use a small tap light instead of a candle.

SECRET NIGHT LIGHTS

Get a nice glow going at your next garden party.

Eden Rodriguez, owner of End Design in Santa Rosa and Mill Valley, places garden stake lights or a battery-operated camping lantern under tablecloths. To hide an electrical cord, she parts the grass, tucks in the cord, and stakes it with a U-shaped piece of wire. If you're using electric lights, keep fabric 2 feet from the bulb. For extra shine, you can create a table covering from brightly colored ― and inexpensive ― taffeta. Use fusing tape to secure panels together and tuck unhemmed edges underneath.

LAWN STARS

This Fourth of July, let a few lawn stars brighten up your celebration. They're ideal alongside a walkway or next to your picnic table.

1. Use a craft knife and a metal ruler to cut a star-shaped stencil out of a large piece of chipboard or cardboard.

2. Mist the patch of grass with a spray bottle of water.

3. Place the stencil on the grass and, using a sifter or large strainer, sprinkle a very small amount of white flour into the stencil.

4. Carefully remove the stencil and dispose of the excess flour. For a longer-lasting star that can be walked on, use spray or marking chalk. To find suppliers, search the Web using the key words "spray chalk."