How to Shorten Three-Strand Christmas Lights

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Things You'll Need

  • Black electrical tape

  • Scissors

Decorating for Christmas can get tricky if you are planning to use a lot of lights in various colors.

When your three-strand Christmas lights are too long for the place you had intended and you do not have any shorter strands, you can shorten your light strand in a couple of easy but time consuming ways. This problem can occur when Christmas lights are added to the yard and yard decorations. Unless you are only shortening the strand by five or less, individual lights should not be removed, because the remaining lights will receive too much power and burn out much faster.


Step 1

Unroll or unwrap your string of Christmas lights and stretch the strand out on the ground.

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Step 2

Choose the length that the strand of lights needs to be shortened and count how many lights will need to be covered with the tape.

Step 3

Cut a 2 inch piece of electrical tape for each light that needs to be covered. Stick the ends of these pieces of tape to a solid flat surface to make them easier to grab.

Step 4

Wrap each light with a 2 inch piece of tape until all unwanted bulbs are completely covered. Plug in the strand of lights to check for uncovered areas on the tape-covered lights.


Know how long your strand of lights needs to be before you begin to decorate with it. If money and time is not an issue, you can also pull out the unwanted bulbs. This option will result in the need to replace the remaining bulbs frequently, because the remaining lights will now take the full electrical load that would have been used for the full strand. This option could work well if you only need to shorten the strand by five lights or less. Wrap the unwanted covered lights around your hand and tuck them away so that they cannot be seen in daylight.


Do not attempt to shorten the strand by cutting the wire. Cutting the wire will result in the full strand of lights not working, because all lights on the strand are needed to complete the circuit. Watch out for broken bulbs that could cut you. Open bulb sockets could result in a shock if you touch the plug with your finger.


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