Nov 22, 13
A gathering of Carol Singers in front of the Christmas Tree in Trafalgar Square, London England. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The holiday season is upon us, and with it come decorative snowmen, a lush wreath on the front door, and of course, O’ Tannenbaum. While decorating your Christmas tree is a fun, family-oriented affair, ensuring your evergreen has the right amount of lights on it to put off that special glow can be a bit tricky: too dim and you can’t display your skillful ornament placement, too bright and you could induce a few seizures. So what’s the right amount of lights for your tree?
Up until about five minutes ago, I subscribed to the “there’s no such thing as too many lights on a Christmas tree” theory. Well, that may not necessarily be the case. There are many factors that go into properly lighting your tree, such as the height, diameter, type of tree, and even the type of Christmas lights. While there is no “right” amount of lights to use on your tree, the tips below merely serve as a guide to point you in the right direction, and you should use the amount and type of lights that fit your preferences.
Tree Size: Let’s start with the size of your tree. Clearly, the vertical height of your tree determines how many lights you’ll need. If you’re leaning more toward a conservative lighting approach, then use 100 mini lights per vertical foot. If you’re going for a brighter look, try using 200 mini lights per vertical foot. Keep in mind you won’t need to use as many lights for trees that are on the skinny side, but you may need up to 25 percent more lights for your thicker trees, like Spruces, Pines, and Firs. For example: for a standard 6-foot tree, you’re looking at 600 mini lights, while an 8-foot Alaskan Fir may need 1,000 mini lights. And for those of you with a 20-foot tree, be prepared to use 2,000 mini lights. Again, the above figures reflect a “medium” lighting approach.
Bulb Type: The types of light strings you use to decorate your tree plays an important role in determining the number of lights you’ll need to bring holiday cheer to your living room. Still use incandescent mini light strings? That’s cool. So do I. As stated above, for incandescent mini lights, it’s recommended to use 100 lights per vertical foot of your tree. For those of you that have made the switch to LED mini lights, not only will you need fewer lights to achieve the desired brightness, since they’re brighter than incandescents, but you’ll also be saving money. With that in mind, you’ll only need 50 lights per vertical foot of your tree while using LEDs. Looking to achieve that classic look akin to A Christmas Story or Christmas Vacation by using C7 or C9 lights? Go for it. As with the LEDs, you’ll need far less of the C7 or C9 bulbs, as these too are brighter than their incandescent counterparts.
The chart below illustrates the recommended number of lights based on your tree’s height, types of bulbs, and whether it’s an indoor or outdoor tree. Also, 1000Bulbs.com has created an excellent resource page with tips ranging from decorating your tree, roof, and even Christmas light maintenance.
Give us a shout on Google Plus, Twitter, or Facebook and tell us how many bulbs you use to decorate your Christmas tree and what your favorite types of Christmas lights are!
Nov 15, 13
One of the best things about the holiday season is the warm and cozy feeling that seems to charge the air during the winter months. Although this might be our bias talking, we at 1000Bulbs.com like to think those joyful feelings are somewhat attributed to holiday lighting setting the mood. In some households, illuminating the neighborhood by putting up Christmas lights has become a tradition. However, using traditional incandescent Christmas lights can not only have an impact on your wallet, but on the environment as well. So, before you buy more light strings and power up that holiday display you have planned, here are some of the benefits of switching to LED (light-emitting diode) Christmas lights.
Unless they’re the equivalent of a modern-day Ebenezer Scrooge, it’s safe to say that most people find Christmas light displays to be delightful. Although holiday lights are lovely to look at, they can lead to excessive amounts of wasted energy, not to mention a hefty bill in the mail. While it’s impossible to stay 100 percent green, using LED Christmas lights is a reasonable alternative.
Unlike incandescent lights, LEDs have no filament to burn out, which is why they are able to last for up to 40 holiday seasons, whereas incandescent bulbs have the potential to burn out after one. LED lights also consume less wattage and only burn about 10 percent of the energy that incandescent lights do. According to Energy.gov, the cost of lighting a 6-foot tree with incandescent bulbs for 12 hours a day for 40 days, is roughly $10.00. Using LED mini lights for the same period of time only costs $0.82. The Department of Energy estimates that Christmas lights use just as much electricity as half a million homes do in a month. If every household switched to LED lighting, the DOE also says that U.S. households could save over $400 million in electricity costs.
Not only do LED Christmas lights use less energy than their incandescent counterparts, but they are also much safer. Typically made of glass, incandescent Christmas lights are much more likely to shatter, increasing the risk of house fires. LED light strings, like wide angle LED mini lights, use epoxy lenses, or plastic, and are much sturdier and resistant to breakage. Again, because they have no filament to produce heat, LED bulbs are cool to the touch and reduce the risk of burns or combustion. Consuming lower amounts of energy also makes LED Christmas lights better for the environment. This is why large Christmas displays around the world, such as the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in New York City, use LED lighting. By switching to LEDs, the iconic tree has decreased daily energy consumption from 3,510 kWh per day to 1,297 kWh per day.
We know how easy it is to accidentally leave the lights on when you don’t really need them. To reduce your energy consumption even further, use automatic timers for both indoor and outdoor holiday lights. Set timers to turn lights on when it gets dark and off during a reasonable hour later that night. Having the ability to program your Christmas lights will eliminate the stress of wondering whether or not you forgot to turn them off before you left the house. Before plugging in and programming, make sure the timer is capable of handling the combined wattage of your lights. According to Energy.gov, keeping light displays on for less than eight hours per night will help you keep your energy costs low. If you don’t have a timer, being as frugal as possible with the number of hours your lights are on will make all the difference.
Do you have any questions about LED Christmas lights? Let us know in the comments below, or give us a shout out on Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus!
Nov 08, 13
It’s that time of the year again: we’ve gained an hour of sleep, it gets darker earlier, and the air has a particular fall crispness about it. These changes mean Christmas is inching closer and closer, and it’s officially time to start thinking about gift ideas. Not only does 1000Bulbs.com meet your every lighting need, but we can also meet your holiday shopping needs as well. Below are some things that are sure to make great Christmas gifts this and every year.
Warm White Icicle Lights- Not only are icicle lights great for decorating your home as they give a warm, wintery look, but they’re also great for decorating bedrooms and dorms. Christmas may come but once a year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use these white wire icicle lights in your bedroom all year round to give your room a relaxing, cozy feel as you study or read.
Mini Artificial Christmas Trees- Sure, full-size Christmas trees are great, but finding space for that big box can be tricky, especially if you live in an apartment or a dorm. Fortunately, we have just the solution for you: mini Christmas trees. Ranging in sizes from two to five feet, and coming in pre-lit, unlit, and even flocked trees, we’ve got the mini trees you need for a pint-sized Christmas.
LED Candles- Not only do regular candles not last too long, but being burned by hot wax is unpleasant. With that in mind, LED candles are the way to go. Battery operated, these candles have all the traits of traditional candles, including a “flame” that flickers, and most even have a timer for added convenience. Ranging in size from 6 to 12 inches in height and up to six inches in diameter, our LED candles set the perfect mood, whether for The Notebook or The Silence of the Lambs.
Novelty Lights- There’s quite a few different types of lights that make up our novelty lights section, any of which will create a unique and fun atmosphere. Want a southern vibe? Then our cowboy boot lights, cow skull lights, or shotgun shell lights may be for you. We’ve got the novelty lights for any feel you’re going for.
Authentic Models AS080
Model Planes, Boats, and Nautical Accessories- The 1000Bulbs.com website contains over 34,000 items, and among those 34,000 items are gifts for the aviation and nautical enthusiast on your list. Every inch of these models are amazingly authentic, and no detail has been overlooked. For the aviation enthusiast, check out the replication of the Dakota DC-3. Featuring an aluminum sheet covered frame with original detailing and a 3-foot wingspan, this plane will look great on a desk or bookcase. For the nautical enthusiast, the RMS Titanic is a truly stunning piece. Superbly displaying all the fine details, including the wires supporting the funnels and the ones running from bow to stern, this piece will make a bold statement on the fireplace mantle or on a bookcase. Ships and planes aren’t your game? Then have a look at our novelty nautical accessories, including compasses, nautical clocks, and weather glasses.
Tape Light- One of the easiest ways to spruce up almost anything, LED tape light is versatile and simple to install. Simply pull off the adhesive backing and apply it to almost any surface. Offered in a multitude of colors, including warm white, green, and blue, LED tape light is ideal for under cabinet lighting or making a home made baby man LED light suit.
Globe Lights- LED globe lights are a fun twist on traditional Christmas lights. Filled with tinsel, these globes are multi-color and some even cycle through cyan, green, purple, red, and royal blue for a truly unique experience. Capable of having 20 to 32 strings connected together, these LED globe lights are great for decorating porches, patios, and even fences.
LED Lanterns- Similar to our LED candles, our LED lanterns make great decorative pieces. Use our white and silver lanterns to further accent your holiday décor, bringing a cheery, festive look to every season. Looking to add a spooky touch to your Halloween? Then check out our black lantern. Whether you’re going for spooky or cheery, our antique-looking LED lanterns are great for any look.
What other great Christmas gifts did we leave off this list? Let us know in the comments below, or hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus!
Nov 01, 13
Using light to create luminous lines in photography is not necessarily a new concept. For as long as there have been film cameras, people have been able to capture streaks of light using long exposures and slow shutter speeds. As digital photography has evolved, light painting has become increasingly popular, with artists using the medium to create stunning images and animation. Light painting has turned into a full blown art form that is evolving just as quickly as the technology being used to create it.
There are those who consider themselves to be light painting artists, but you certainly don’t have to be one to create photographs with similar effects. Light painting is a fun and fairly easy activity that can be done by just you or with a big group of friends. We recommend having a group with you, that way you can create more complicated designs in one picture. After trying our hand at it, we at 1000Bulbs.com have compiled a list of basic materials and steps you’ll need to take to begin creating your own light paintings!
The Essential Items
- Darkness. Whether you’re indoors or outdoors, make sure you’re in a dark enough space that your lighting painting will show up.
- A digital SLR camera that has Manual or Bulb settings
- A sturdy tripod. This will keep your camera completely still. If you don’t have a tripod, you can try using any flat, steady surface, such as a table, to keep your camera from moving.
- A light source. This can include anything from a flashlight, LED tape light, light sticks, sparklers, etc.
If you are going to be light painting outdoors, make sure you have all of the necessary equipment to protect your camera from the elements.
Before you begin, make sure you are using the right camera settings. For the best results, use a digital SLR camera. These cameras have manual settings that allow you to control the shutter speed. The slower the shutter speed, the longer you have to draw your light painting.
For the light painting picture below, we used Manual or “M” setting, and put the shutter speed at F22, the highest F-stop. This keeps the shutter open for 22 seconds. If your camera has a Bulb or “B” setting, this will work even better. At the Bulb setting, you can keep the shutter open for as long as you like so that you’re not restricted by time. You will also want to turn your camera down to the lowest ISO level possible. This will minimize any noise, or visual distortion, in your picture.
The best way to know if your camera is capturing the light painting you want is trial and error. Take a few test shots at a regular shutter speed without the light source to make sure you have the correct exposure. When you’re happy with the exposure, change your shutter speed settings to the desired position.
Now, you can begin light painting! Once you’re positioned in front of the camera with your light source and ready to go, have a friend press the shutter release button for you. You can do this yourself, but having someone do it for you is much easier than stepping in and out of the frame each time.
Once the shutter release is pressed, begin moving your light source. To get certain spots brighter than others continually move your light source over that one spot as if you were coloring with a large crayon. Using all of the steps above, an LED flashlight, and an LED tape light suit (DIY tutorial here), we created the image below.
Light Painting from an LED Light Suit
Are you planning on creating any light paintings of your own? Tell us about it in the comments below, or drop us a line on Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus!