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Lighted Snowflake Holiday Decoration

The snowflake outline stands out against a metal background by day. Lights make it shine at night.

Lighted snowflake outdoor decoration.

Project Overview

Skill Level


Estimated Time

1 weekend

Estimated Cost


Tools & Materials


  • Drill and bit set
  • Wire cutters
  • Pliers
  • Scratch awl or large nail
  • Hammer
  • Crafts knife and fresh blade
  • Painter’s tape


  • 24-in aluminum water heater pan, #543480
  • 24-in x 5-ft white adhesive shelf liner, #174006
  • 18-gauge steel wire, #62933
  • Valspar gray spray primer
  • Valspar white spray paint
  • 50-count LED mini lights, white

Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

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Project Resources


Step 1

Remove the plug from the drain pan. Thoroughly wash the pan with a grease-cutting detergent, rinse, and let dry. Use a large nail or scratch awl to make a hole along the edge of the pan opposite the drain plug hole. The hole should be just large enough to accept two strands of the wire you’ll use to hang the ornament.

Good to Know

When punching holes in the metal, place a piece of scrap wood firmly against the back surface to accept the sharp point of the nail or awl once it penetrates the metal.

Step 2

Add shelf paper to the drain pan.

Cut a 32-inch-long strip of shelf liner. Starting at one side of the center of the pan, carefully press the shelf liner against the metal as you work toward the edge. Remove any bubbles and wrap the paper around the edges to protect them from paint overspray. Cut and apply a second strip to cover the rest of the pan.

Step 3

Print the Lighted Snowflake Pattern, cut where shown, and assemble it with clear tape. Center the pattern on the liner so that one leg points toward the small hanging hole at the top and one to the drain hole at the bottom. Fasten the pattern to the shelf liner with painter’s tape.

Step 4

Make holes in the metal at the light locations.

Stack scrap wood underneath the drain pan to support the metal, and hammer a large nail or scratch awl through the metal at each location marked on the pattern. Holes should be no more than about 1/16 inch wide.

Step 5

Cut out the snowflake shape.

Use a crafts knife to cut through the pattern and shelf liner along the pattern lines. Carefully remove the areas inside the lines to leave the shape of the snowflake in the bare metal. Note that you’ll leave six diamond shapes around the center as you peel off the shelf liner. When you’re finished cutting and peeling, remove the rest of the pattern.

Step 6

Drill holes in the drain pan.

Choose a drill bit that’s close in diameter to the clear tips of the LED lights -- slightly smaller is better than slightly too large. Drill a test hole in a piece of scrap wood and check the fit of the light in the hole. It should be snug without damaging the light. Then flip the drain pan upside down and place it on a piece of scrap wood. Drill holes at each small hole you made with a nail or awl.

Good to Know

To keep the bit from wandering, press it into the smaller hole enough to flatten the metal slightly. Then drill as you brace the pan to keep it from spinning.

Step 7

Remove the shelf liner after painting.

Turn the pan over so the masked surface is facing up and carefully press the edges of the shelf liner against the metal for a crisp painted edge. Apply a coat of primer, let dry, and spray on two coats of white paint. Then peel off the shelf liner.

Step 8

Push the lights through the pan.

Turn the pan upside down and place scrap wood around the edges to lift it off the work surface. Use the Lighted Snowflake Decoration, Light String Layout as a guide to insert the LED lights through the pan from the back. Organize the layout so the plug end is as close as possible to the drain pan plug hole.

Step 9

The painted snowflake holiday design of this ornament is reinforced after dark by 50 LED lights. --Lowe’s Creative Ideas

Cut a length of wire to hang the ornament at the height you want. Fold the wire in half to form a loop, and push the ends through the hanging hole in the pan from the outside. Use pliers to twist the ends together and curl the twisted end around to make a shape that can’t be pulled back out through the hole.