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Ultimate Christmas Light Guide – Part 2

Ultimate Christmas Light Guide – Part 2

Christmas lights are few of our favorite things. We’ve already decked the halls of the house in part one of our Christmas Light Guide with incandescent and LED mini lights strings. Now we are heading outside to bring illuminating good cheer to front doorways and rooftops. Part two of our guide will cover what to do with battery-operated lights, the drop spacing of your icicles lights, and net lights.

Battery Operated Lights                                

snowman shape made of grapevine wreaths and white christmas string lights

Battery operated Christmas lights take your mini string lights and make them available for uses far from the home outlet. Wreaths, vases, birdcages (sans the birds), picture frames, signs, and costumes are just a few of the items that could easily incorporate these lights. The only things you need to worry about are spare batteries and hiding the battery pack. In addition to turning the lights on and off, many of the battery packs also offer a twinkle or chasing light pattern. While commonly indoor-only rated, battery operated lights will do fine in any dry location that does not expose the battery pack to moisture. Shorter light lengths are ideal for small crafts while the longer lengths could be used for bigger DIY projects. Battery operated lights add charm beyond the holiday season, bringing their magical twinkle into wedding receptions, parties, and other memorable occasions. Below are the most common types of mini string lights:

Incandescent Mini Light Strings - Most lengths of incandescent lights shorter than 50 feet are known as “craft lights”. Plug-in incandescent craft lights forgo the female end plug and have only a male plug on one end. Both battery-operated and plug-in mini incandescent lights have very consistent color and brightness, regardless of which type you choose to use.

LED Mini Light Strings - These mini LEDs have the similarly faceted, colored cap covers of their plug-in brethren and maintain an equivalent brightness and purity of color.

Wide Angle LED Mini Light Strings - All the benefits of traditionally capped LED mini lights but with the added advantage of a conical cap design. The concave covers spread the light more evenly for 180 degrees of viewing pleasure rather the pinpoint illumination of the classic incandescent mini lights and their LED replicas.

Ultra-Thin Wire LED Lights - Thin wire LEDs ditch the cap covers and wire insulation for small drops of silicone incasing the diodes. The extremely slim design makes the wire vanish and dots of light seem to just marvelously appear wherever they are placed. These lights with are a great and unobtrusive way to weave extra sparkle into your mantle garland or door wreath.

LED Supernova Lights - These mini lights branch out on individual wires or fingers. They could also come with a 6-function controller, allowing you to choose your light pattern from a “steady on” to chasing or a subtle shimmer.

Holiday Ribbon LED Lights - If you combine the ultra-thin wire LEDs with a pretty ribbon, you can get these craft-inspiring lights. Due to the wiring, it is not recommended that you tie the lights into bows or do any complex wire bending. However, you can wrap them around items to create your latest holiday art piece.

Icicles Lights

icicle lights on gazebo

Icicles lights provide that postcard-ready, crystalline effect. Historic homes like those with Victorian architecture and their varying roof elevations look particularly gorgeous with clear lights on white wire. Draping the lights from your roofline, eaves, and rain gutters can give your home a luxuriously grand shine. It’s important that you know a few terms to make choosing your icicle lights a little easier.

Notice the spacing measurements between each bulb and drop string.

Both incandescent and LED icicle lights have several length and spacing attributes. The drop spacing refers to the wire length between each drop or individual strand of bulbs. A common drop spacing is 6 inches. While the lighted length, is the length of string that actually has bulbs. For example, you may have some string lights that are 13 feet long but 5 inches of wire on either end of your light string has no bulbs. This empty space, called lead and tail lengths respectively, is significant enough to take into account when installing your lights to avoid any “dead” spots in your display.

Net Lights for Shrubs and Tree Trunks

There’s no reason to leave your landscaping bare. Net lights are string lights that have been wired in a pattern to create a uniform grid of lights. This grid will give you an even dispersion of lights on your tree trunks, fences, or in your shrubs. Sold by the square foot, net lights typically have green or white wire and come in a multitude of colors. Tree trunk wrap lights usually have brown or green wire. Both types of lights can be found in preset sizes like 4 x 6 feet for shrubs or the longer, 8 x 2 feet for trees. If your tree trunk is larger than 2 feet in diameter or you have a particularly long shrub to cover, you can use wire ties or zip ties to link sets together. Net or tree trunk lights can be found in either incandescent or LED versions.

Are you ready to outdo your neighbor’s holiday display? We have more outdoor holiday lighting for you to consider in part 3 of our guide. In the meantime, write questions about Christmas lighting, suggestions for more DIY projects, and remarks on the best motion sensor floodlight to catch Santa’s delivery in the comment area below. You can find more lighting know-how, news, and images on Facebook, TwitterGoogle Plus, LinkedIn, or Pinterest. With less than 100 days to go, the 1000Bulbs.com staff is anxiously counting down to Black Friday, the day our Christmas lights will bedazzle every cubicle and break room.  

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