At your next evening soiree, skip the staples like candles, lanterns, or string lights. You are the the hostess with the mostest, and that means having your guests ooh-ing and ahh-ing from the moment they walk in to the time they leave.

Brit is stocked with many fun and funky ways to pump up a party, from these LED centerpieces to this collection of party planning tools. But before you dive into the details, consider the essential, signature part of any party: balloons.

Timeless and appropriate at any age, balloons are a must-have for any celebration. But as a tech geek and lover of anything with an on/off button, I couldn’t help myself when I realized that LED lights paired with balloons would result in instant glowing lanterns.


– LED lights (DIY or repurpose a dollar store keychain)

– Balloons

Step 1: Gather your LEDs

This part can be as simple or complicated as you desire. One option is to craft your own LED lights, while the other is to purchase them powered and ready to go.

If you choose to get geeky and craft your own LEDs, you’ll need the following:

– 5-10 small LEDs (available online or at Radio Shack)

– 5-10 3-volt batteries

– Tape

To assemble the LEDs, place the “legs” of an LED on either side of a battery. It should light up right away. If it doesn’t, flip the battery around. On the day of the party, tape the LED to the battery to secure it in place. Repeat this process until all your LEDs are lit.

If you choose to purchase powered LEDs, head to your local Dollar Store or party supply store and hunt for LED accessories. I was able to find LED keychains that pulse a variety of colors when powered.

Step 2: Assemble the balloons

If you plan to blow your balloons up with helium, grab your LEDs and head to the party store. Before you fill a balloon with helium, turn on an LED light and insert it into the balloon.

Once they’re tied and attached to some string, scatter the balloons around the party and watch as your glowing balloons light up the scene.

The life of any given LED will vary, but expect your LED balloons to last at least 24-48 hours.

If your LEDs are still glowing by the time your party ends, pop the balloons, remove the LEDs, turn them off, and save them for your next celebration.

How do you add a dose of geekery to your party decor? Send ideas our way by leaving a note in the comments below or by sending pics to us on Twitter or Facebook. We’ll post the best of the best on our blog.

As CNET’s resident How To expert, Sharon Vaknin covers technology tutorials and guides. With her geek knowledge and a knack for layman’s terms, she shows the tech-savvy and tech-phobic how to make the most of their personal gadgets. Be sure to follow her on Twitter and Facebook for more techie tutorials.