free web hosting | free website | Business Web Hosting | Free Website Submission | shopping cart | php hosting


Return to main page Information about lights Repair or modify your lights! Custom flasher controls Links to other lights pages

Info Section Home
Common Types Of Lights
Uncommon Lights
Power Ratings For lights
Wiring Diagrams Of LightSets
Decorating Tips

    ColumbineLights


Here's a few tips to make your holiday lights display even better:
This section is one of the original parts
of my lights website, it is no longer updated
I'm mainly keeping it for historical purposes
(and because the info is still valid)

Make your display even better
Don't Mix Light Types!
Don't mix different types of lights on the same item. IE: do not use
miniature lights along side C7 or C9 (large) types. For example if
you outline the house in C9 lights, don't put miniatures around the
the windows (or anywhere else on the house). This is one of the worst
looking things you can do, if you want smaller lights around the
windows, use C7's. It's ok to use large and miniature lights together,
as long as they are separated - such as large ones on the house, and
miniatures in trees or bushes. Also try to avoid using single color
and multi sets on the same item.

Organize Them Bulbs!
Another truly hidious thing you can do is not to organize bulb colors.
There should some sort of pattern. (see images below - notice how much
better image 1 looks) The bulb colors by no means have to follow the
color pattern in image 1, there should just be some sort of
repeated pattern!
1:good
2:bad
this really only matters if the lights are in a line, if they are in a
tree or bush you don't really have to worry about it, and it only
counts for large sized lights...i wouldn't worry too much about orgizing
the colors in a set of mini lights, just c7's or c9's

If you want to have blinking lights, make sure that units blink
together - it just looks bad for just part of a window outline to
blink at a time or for just half of a roofline to flash at a diffrent
rate than the other half... I personally don't care too much for
'flasher bulbs' as they seem to be very unreliable - they blink for
awhile then quit, and don't blink in cold weather.

Flash It!
Steady-on lights look just fine, but you can always add some 'action'
to you display by flashing lights...
you can get 'multi-function' lights at most stores. These have a
small control box near the plug that provides a selection of
diffrent flash or fade patterns. one note:
if you're gonna flash lights, put all sets that are on the same
item (ex: a tree) in the same mode - otherwise you just have a
flashing mess
There are also various 'control-box' type units at stores that
will flash more than just one set
You can also build your own control circuits if you know about
electronics. There are many circuit schematics on-line
There's another big advantage to flashing your lights: it saves
power!! -- since the lights aren't on full tine

...Oh and don't overdo it with the flashing, you don't want a
whole bunch of different things flashing wildly, with no
synchronization between them... Its going to look too 'busy' --
like a big mess of random flashing.
If you do want all your lights to be flashed, consider looking
into computer control, or atleast a controller unit.

Customize It!
Make some custom decorations. While there is nothing wrong with the
pre-made ones you can buy at stores, anyone else can do the same.
If you make your own, noone else will have one like it. I found that
1x2 type boards work good for the decoration itself, and 1x3's or
1x4's for the supports, and 2x6's to attach supports to. When buying
lumber, make sure that there are no large knots, as they will be a
weak spot, and there is a good chance the board will bend or break
at that place. for the most part you can use drywall or deck screws
to hold it together - don't use nails as wind will work them lose.
Use any outdoor paint to protect the wood from the weather or it will
probably warp.
Do not use plywood or other sheet types unless the decoration will be
mounted directly to a wall or fence (because of wind).

Depending on where you live, the wind will be a major factor in how
strong you will have to make and support your display. If you live
in a area where you get strong winds (and I'm not talking 40-50
Mile Per Hour breezes, I'm talking 80+ MPH thrashing blasts that are
strong enough to make the house vibrate) you will really need to
support things good. In that case use at least 1x3 boards with no
knots, and put an extra screw in the supports. As for holding the
entire structure on the roof (I'm assuming thats where it would be
placed), use full sized cinder blocks to weight it down. Whatever
you do, DO NOT physically attach it to the roof. (see image below for
example of structure). As mentioned above, plywood and other 'solid'
decorations should be mounted directly to a wall or fence...do not
attempt to make a 'free standing' decoration out of something solid...
no matter how well you support it, the wind will blow it over (and you
dont want something like that flying off the house).
Just remember that even an item with only a small surface-area can
have a massive force out on it by the wind

Structure Image
This is a very basic example of a
decoration structure...if what
you build is just a box like this,
make a X through the center with
two 1x2's, or it will collapse.
the 2x6 boards should sit flat on
the roof. After the structure is
assembled, try pulling or pushing
on it in a few directions (taking
care not to go in the direction of
the edge - you don't want to fall
off if something breaks). If you
can fairly easily move the entire
structure, the wind will do so
too, Add an extra block at the front of the structure. I have
seen the wind move multiple 1/2 sized cinder blocks along with
some flat patio blocks, large 2x6's, and the structure they were
holding. Remember that it is allot easier to add an extra block
when the weather is good - it's no fun trying to 'save' your
decorations by hauling extra blocks to the roof, late at night
in the middle of a windstorm.
UPDATE! this shows 1x2 boards..that is not strong enough - use
something stronger (like 2x2's) for any vertical boards, and
1x4's for the upper spots where 1x3's are shown.. also use pine,
not ceader or redwood
If you get true high winds/gusts (like the 100+ MPH wind gusts
we can get where I live) you may not want to put anything large on
the roof - Infact I'd personally reccommend NOT doing so ...I
myself given up on it for this reason, Its just not worth it.

Keep It Safe
Try to avoid placing any expensive decorations, plastic figures, wood
figures, etc in the yard. Instead place them on the roof, or they may
get stolen! (when placeing items on the roof make sure they are secure
so the wind cant move them). If you relly want them in the yard, chain
them to a tree or fence, or pound re-bar pieces into the ground and
attach to that. NEVER set up any sort of 'trap' that could hurt someone
it is not only illigal to do so, they can also sue you.

I am NOT is responsible for any damages, etc
arrising from the use or misuse of the info on this page-
use at your own risk




This page and the images on it (c) 1999 - 2016 James K