Light Columns How-To 1. Purchase a bamboo stick or dowel that’s 6 feet long and 1 inch in diameter. Drive the pole deep into the ground until it’s solidly anchored. Run a 50-bulb string of lights up one side of the pole and down the other, securing it with masking tape. 2. Stack paper lanterns (ours were 14 inches in diameter) over the stick. Secure the lanterns to each other with tape.