How to Hang Christmas Lights
"How Do You Hang Christmas Lights Anyway?"
Maybe you're a new home buyer, or you're looking at an unmarred coat of paint on the walls. Maybe you are a renter, or this is your first time putting up Christmas lights. You're probably wondering, "How do people put up indoor Christmas lights?"
It seems to be a given that everyone knows how to hang up Christmas lights, but to us novices, it is a feat of mass undertaking. I have accumulated vast amounts of knowledge in this quest to master the task of Christmas. Here is everything I have researched, learned, or tried.
Decide Where You Are Putting up Your Lights
Common Places One Puts up Christmas Lights:
- Window frames
- In/on windows
- Doors frames or hallway entrances
- Gutters/edges of the house
- Around the garage door
How Long of a Strand Do You Need?
- Locate the power source where you would like to plug in your lights, and determine if you will need an extension cord or power bar.
- Measure all sides of your window or hanging surface area, including length needed to reach the power source.
- Find the dimensions of your light strands, then pick the correct light strand length accordingly, so you won't fall short or have too much excess.
If you do not have a measuring tape, use a piece of string to measure your window. Then hold it up against a ruler to find out your length.
If precision and measuring is not your style, feel free to wing it. Sometimes, math skills and measuring are not your forte, and you end up re-doing at least one strand anyway.
What to Use to Hang Outdoor Christmas Lights
- Gutter Hooks: These are plastic clips that fasten to the edge of gutters or shingles. They are easily found in many stores.
- Metal Hooks or Nails: You can tie the light strand onto every few nails or hooks in preparation for winter winds.
- Zap Strap: Use these to strap lights to railings.
- Staple Gun: Extra caution should be used to not pierce the protective lining of electrical wires.
- Garland Clips for Banisters and Railings: Place the garland onto the hook.
- Battery-Powered Light Strand: You can use these for wreaths. Weave the strand around the wreath. Then hang the wreath on the door with a plastic, metal, or decorative wreath holder that is well-fastened to a nail or hook.
Hooks, Floral Tape, Floral/Garden Wire, or Zap Straps: These are great for posts and poles.
What to Use to Hang or Fasten Indoor Christmas Lights:
- Small nails
- Cup hooks, picture frame hooks, or other small hooks
- Clear thumb tacks
- Blu Tack
- Masking tape or painter's tape
- Clear tape, clear packing tape, double-sided tape
- Staple gun
- Cable clips
- 3M stick-on hooks or stick-on cord organizers (these stick on your wall but are easily removed, leaving no adhesive behind)
- Suction cups (for windows)
- Zap straps, garden twist ties, or floral tape or wire (for posts, railings, or banisters)
Of all of these options, my personal preference is clear thumb tacks and clear tape on the sides. I will also use masking tape if it's a big job.
Masking or painter's tape and Blu Tack can be painted to match your walls.
Tips for Suction Cups on Windows
Do you have difficulty keeping your suction cups stuck to your windows? Here are some tips:
- Clean window and suction cups thoroughly with Windex.
- Clean suction cups with dish detergent.
- Dip misshapen cups briefly into hot/boiling water, let them drip, and stick them immediately to the window.
- Use a mild abrasion—like a mixture of toothpaste and water or baking soda and water—to remove any imperfections on the plastic that may be breaking your seal.
- Use several suction cups when hanging something heavy.
- Moisten the backs of the suction cups with water, but don't use too much.
- Try small amounts of oil or Vaseline with your suction cups.
- Use Elmer's glue (water-soluble) to fasten the cups to your window.
Ways to Hang Lights With Garland on a Railing:
- Twist the lights around the garland and hang them both up on the railing using garland clips.
- Place the garland and lights straight along the railing and fasten in place wrapping it all with zap straps (cable ties).
- Tie the lights to the garland with twist ties or bows.
- Fasten the light strand and garland to the railing by wrapping them all with ribbon or beads.
Your Christmas Style
What do you use to hang your Christmas lights up?
Indoor Christmas Light Installation Process
- Plug your strand in to make sure all lights are working. Make any repairs needed and replace any bulbs that are burnt out. Plan for the extra time it will take to go through and fix any of your light strands.
- Once everything is in working order, start at the outlet with the lights plugged in and work your way up and around.
- Insert push pins, nails, or small hooks above your window or door frame. My preference is to insert them right in the small crack where the frame meets the wall so that it is less noticeable if you remove them.
- Once your lights are fastened at the top (this will be your most secure point), fasten strands to the sides and below your window or door with your choice of fasteners.
Use caution when using any sharp item, such as a nail, push pin, or thumb tack. Do not insert them into the light strand as this may touch the live electrical wire.
When do you hang your Christmas lights?
How to Repair Your Lights With the Lightkeeper Pro
Label Your Lights
Before storing Christmas lights or as soon as you take the lights out of their boxes, place masking tape near the plug of each strand and label it with its measurements or the location where the strand is usually set up.
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How Do You Hang Your Christmas Lights?
Is there a method we haven't mentioned? Do you use suction cups? Leave a comment below.