It might seem like a no-brainer, but there is a right way to hang Christmas tree lights, particularly on artificial trees. Of course, there are different patterns that you can follow when hanging your lights. Whether you are a first-timer, haven't liked how your lights have looked in past years or want to try something new, there may be a best way to put lights on a Christmas tree for your circumstances. There are three commonly accepted methods, each using approximately 100 Christmas lights for every foot of tree. For example, a 7-foot tree would use 700 lights.
How to Put Lights on a Christmas Tree
The most common way of putting lights on a Christmas tree is to do it horizontally. Experts recommend plugging in each set of lights first to make sure they are working. This is good advice no matter how you decide to decorate. Starting at the bottom, wrap the string of lights over and under the tree branches around the perimeter horizontally (use a stool or stepladder if needed), working your way down. The hanging pattern does not have to be in straight lines. Alternate the patterns and place some lights deeper into the branches of the tree than others for a more organic look.
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The top-and-under method can start at the top or bottom. However, instead of horizontal loops, intertwine your lights on top of and under its branches. Don't forget to decorate the back unless the tree is up against a wall or in a corner. You can layer on more lights once the first pass is completed.
The vertical approach is a newer trend and puts the lights more out in front of the branches. If you have one long strand to use, start at the bottom, bring it straight up to the top, secure it and loop it back down. Continue switching to the other direction once you get to either the bottom or top. Try to keep the strands equidistant from each other; you can adjust them once you are finished if need be. This effect looks more like seams and may make your tree appear taller.
Number of Lights Needed and Plugs
If you're still wondering how to put lights on a tree, there are other design tips that can help with indoor Christmas tree decorating. On average, most 8- and 9-foot trees only need six to eight strands of 50 bulbs (fewer if there are more bulbs per strand). Keep track of how many light strings are connected because you do not want to overload any circuits.
You can start the plugless end of the strands on the top and hide the extra lights at the bottom/back of the tree. However, it can be hard to hide a plug connection at the top since it is the tree's narrowest point.
Christmas Tree Order of Operations
It also makes more sense to start at the bottom since it is in easy reach of the lights' outlet. As a final bit of advice, Christmas trees usually look better when the light wires are hidden from view. You can also wrap main branches from tip to trunk, trunk to tip and so forth. If you know how to split wires, you can pull small branches through to help camouflage them.
In addition, always hang the lights and garland before the ornaments. Those are harder to move around once the tree is decorated. The number of ornaments you should use depends on the size of the tree and the size of the ornaments. Feel free to place the tree topper after the lights and garland and use the topper as a guideline for how you hang the ornaments. Place tinsel last and don't forget the presents.