How to Hang String Lights Without Nails?

String lights are the most popular indoor and outdoor decoration. You can wrap them around trees, headboards, and even ladders. These bendy strings with lots of tiny colorful bulbs turn any space into an aesthetic dreamland!

However, while decorating these lights on/around objects is easy, it is a challenge for smooth and straight surfaces. There aren’t enough irregularities to hang the string lights safely. Even if you manage somehow, they will keep slipping and falling.

Of course, using nails is an effective solution but a permanent one too. Once drilled, the nails leave tiny holes in your beautiful house walls and ceilings. What if you want to relocate the lights in the future?

It is why we’ve compiled this informational piece to guide you on how to hang string lights without nails. Read more to make decoration easy, fun, and safe!

how to hang string lights without nails

What Can You Use Instead of Nails?

As mentioned, the string lights require some sort of irregularity to hold onto their place. So, to hang them without nails, you will need a substitute.

Here are some great alternatives to nails:

1. Adhesive Tape

Tape is an effective and budget-friendly way to hang the lights. It has adhesive glue on its back that binds the strings to the wall temporarily. You will find different types of adhesive tapes on the market.

Some are regular one-sided, while the others are double-sided. Whatever type you select, ensure it is strong enough to withstand the considerable load. An ideal weight capacity would be 5-pounds.

Also, we strongly recommend choosing white transparent tape. It helps give the illusion of the string lights sticking magically to the wall.

That said, there’s no harm in using colored tape that compliments the house decor.

Usage Tips

  • Apply the tape on the wires only and not the string lights themselves. It obscures the light, which harms the atmosphere. Sometimes, it can lead to overheating and melting of the tape too.
  • Secure the lights using thick and long pieces of tape. Put another tape if a single layer looks flimsy.
  • We do not recommend using tape for patios, decks, or any other outdoor area. It will not withstand the different weather conditions.

2. Wire Suckers

One of the swiftest ways is to use the wire suckers. They feature a round suction cup attached to a hook.

So, you can stick them onto different places and hang the string lights using the hooks.

Please note these clips use the power of suction instead of glue. Thus, the surface needs to be smooth and clean.

Otherwise, the wire suckers will lose suction power and fall.

Usage Tips

  • Find a suitable smooth surface like windows, glass panels, tiles, closet doors, etc.
  • Clean it with a soap-water solution to get rid of any grease or dirt. Moisten the suckers a little before placement.

3. Adhesive-Backed Hooks

Unlike wire suckers, the adhesive-backed hooks are idealistic for all surfaces.

These clips have a strong adhesive on the back that allows them to stick on any surface easily.

You do not need to ensure cleanliness either.

Usage Tips

  • It’s best to opt for small-sized adhesive hooks to save space. Or else, you will find it difficult to install the lights in tight spaces.
  • Repetitively, removing and sticking the hooks can reduce their adhesive strength. Measure and mark the point before peeling the back of the hook.
  • Press the hook for at least 30-seconds after sticking.

4. Gutter Hooks

As the name explains, the gutter hooks are the S-shaped clips you use to hang string lights to the gutter.

It’s an amazing sight to see on Christmas and other occasions.

Plus, the hooks are easy-to-move so that you can try various installation styles.

But, you can practically use the hooks in any place other than gutters.

For example, you can use the hooks on a curtain rod, the fence, etc. All you need to ensure is a surface that lets the s-shaped hook hang.

Since there’s a diversity of hooks available, we recommend the plastic, transparent ones.

These gutter hooks do not destroy the overall string light look.

They are also weather-resistant and rust-proof so that you can leave them installed outside for the next occasion.

Usage Tips

  • Measure the length of string light to arrange sufficient gutter hooks. There should be at least one gutter hook after every 40 to 50 cm.
  • Install the gutter hooks facing the direction you want the lights to show. The s-shape can be a little complicated at times. So, be vigilant about the direction.

How to Hang String Lights Without Nails?

Depending on the place and decor type, there are several different ways to hang string lights without nails. Some creative methods include:

1. How to Hang String Lights on Ceiling without Nails?

String lights on the ceiling are a beautiful design element in your house space. They give a starry and dreamy effect to the ambiance.

Plus, you can hang string lights on the ceilings in different patterns.

Simple Outline

Step 1: Use adhesive hooks to place around the corners of the ceiling. Each hook should be around 2ft apart (24-inches). If using tape, measure and mark the intervals lightly with a pencil.

Step 2: Find an outlet and connect the string lights. Do not open the switch (only connect it).

Step 3: Run the string lights from the outlet to the corner of the wall along with it and to the ceiling. Secure the lights firmly with transparent tape at intervals. If you want to keep this connection to the outlet hidden, find a power source behind a dresser or table.

Step 4: Run the string lights between the hooks until the entire ceiling becomes outlined. Coil the light wire around each hook once to prevent loosening and falling. If using tape, apply at least two layers of tape at each interval.


Step 1: Find the dimensions of one side of the ceiling and decide the space you want between the string lights. Ideally, you would want to have a distance of 24 to 36-inches. Mark the distance using a light pencil or pen.

Step 2: On the opposite side, you will have to mark points that are not in line with the previously marked ones. Instead, these should be between the two previously marked ones. For example, if the marks on one side are 2ft apart, the points on the other side should have a distance of 1 ft.

Step 3: This particular marking would result in a zigzag pattern along with the ceiling. Please note that putting the lights closer to each other will offer more illumination. But, it will also require a longer string light.

Step 4: Locate a nearby power outlet, and start placing adhesive clips/hooks from it to the ceiling. Place the hooks on the marked points. Alternatively, you can use tape.

Step 5: Run the string lights from the outlet to the ceiling. At each interval, pull the light tightly and wrap it once around the hook. Cover the whole ceiling.

2. How to Hang String Lights on the Covered Patio without Nails?

If you want to transform your covered patio into an inviting and warm place, hanging string lights are a must. To do so, you will require some adhesive hooks or wire suckers. Use wire suckers only when a smooth straight surface is available.

Step 1: Measure the parameters of the covered patio and arrange a sufficiently long string light. Also, make sure a power outlet is present nearby.

Step 2: Mark points along the exterior or interior sides of the covered patio ceiling. There should be a distance of 12 to 24-inches between each. You will get a neat outline of string lights using this method.

Step 3: If you want to create a zigzag pattern on the inside of the covered patio, follow the same method discussed for the room ceiling above.

3. How to Hang String Lights on Fence without Nails?

In an outdoor space, most people prefer to wrap the string lights around trees and poles. But what if you didn’t have any of these pre-existing structures in your backyard or garden? Well, then just decorate them along the fence!

These tiny lights on the fence look pretty and elegant. Plus, you do not need to drill, create support posts, or anything. Just grab some large gutter hooks for the job.

Step 1: Measure the fence to determine how many string lights you need.

Step 2: Decide the space you want between each interval and mark the fence accordingly.

Step 3: Install the gutter hooks on the fence. If your fence is too thick for the hooks, make use of a stapler instead. The removal will take some effort afterward, but the lights will get fixed firmly.

Step 4: Run the lights along the fence, and coil it once on each hook. Connect it to an external power outlet or an extension cord.

4. How to Hang Fairy Lights on a Wall without Nails?

There are endless possibilities for fairy lights wall decor. You can hang it to outline the wall, create criss-cross patterns, and whatnot. Just grab some transparent adhesive tape and start styling!

Fairy Lights Curtain

Gather lots of string lights, and hang them vertically along a wall. Leave a distance of 12 to 24-inches between each string light.

Vertical Zigzag

Hang a string light in a zigzag pattern across the wall, and attach polaroid pictures for an aesthetic appeal. Make sure the anchor points are considerably far apart to hang the lights loosely. But, if you prefer neat looks, you can decrease the distance between marked points and hang them tightly.

Create Words

Have you seen those neon room lights spelling words like Good Vibes, Cool, Boss, etc.? Well, you can add an aesthetic touch and recreate them using string lights! Curve and twist the string lights to create words on your wall.

Final Thoughts

All in all, hanging the string lights without nails is a fairly simple process. Select the right substitute tool for the place, and you’re good to go. We hope this article helps you decorate the house space beautifully!