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Wrapping Trees with Christmas Lights

How To: Trunks and Branches

If you are wondering how to wrap trees with Christmas lights, there are some basic measurements that you need to take into consideration. Measure the circumference of the tree trunk, as well as the circumference and count of any branches you wish to wrap with lights. Determine how much spacing you want both between each light bulb on the string, as well as how far apart you plan to wrap the light strings.

A 6" bulb spacing is popular for wrapping trunks and branches, with an average spacing of 2-3" between strings. Divide height by desired string spacing, multiply total by circumference to calculate total string length needed. Example: we have a 4'H trunk that measures 2' in circumference, and we plan to wrap four of the stronger branches, which measure 3'L and 6" in circumference. Use this equation to learn how to wrap a tree with lights:

  • 4'H trunk / 3" spacing = 16 x 2' circumference = 32' of lighting
  • 3'L branch / 3" spacing = 12 x 6" circumference = 6' of lighting per branch
  • Total lighted feet will be approximately 56' for the trunk and four branches

View our Light Calculation Charts for how many lights are needed on trees.

Total power available should also be taken into consideration when wrapping. If using commercial mini light strings, up to 10 100-bulb count strings can be connected, or 420 watts. If using premium mini lights, up to six 100-bulb count strings can be connected. LED lights typically allow up to 43 light strings, or 210 watts, to be connected, so there is rarely a concern of plugging to many LED strands together. Switch to energy saving LED lights to allow for maximum light counts.

Best Method for Wrapping Branches

Most trees are wrapped the length of the trunk and approximately 3-4' high in the extending branches. Not every branch needs to be wrapped, and branches should be selected to allow for an even, pleasing distribution of light. Wrapping trees is much easier with two people, and by keeping the string in a neat ball. The following steps are the easiest way to wrap trees:

  • Start at the base of the tree with the first string of lights. Make sure the male plug is ground level to connect with your power cord.
  • Starting with the female, begin wrapping the tree systematically, connecting the male end with the next light string's female end.
  • Wrap Christmas lights tightly, to ensure a snug fit. Lights will stay in place if wrapped tightly, but you can use zip ties to secure any loose wires or areas of concern.
  • Increase vertical spacing of strings on branches where light strings will be wrapped up and back down.
  • Keep light strings in close proximity to the tree to prevent wind and storm damage.

Wrapping Lights on Evergreens

Here are some tips for wrapping evergreens:

  • Calculate how much power is needed for lights to ensure maximum thresholds are not exceeded
  • C7 and C9 bulbs are the most popular on larger Evergreen and pine trees
  • Wrap lights in a random pattern to allow for the occasional light to burn out without notice or disruption in appeal
  • Wrapping the canopy of larger trees allows for bright lighting without the need to wrap to the top of the tree
  • Utilize extending poles to reach highest parts of the tree

Evergreens retain most of their leaves during winter and include Spruce, Pine, and Firs, as well as other varieties. Using our Recommended Number of Lights can help in determining how many light strings are needed, as well as which size bulb. Lights should be checked before installation, especially when lighting larger trees that will be almost impossible to fix once all the light strings are on. 3-Way splitters and power taps may be needed to extend outlets up the length of taller trees.

Net Lights for Bushes and Hedges

For the fastest, cleanest method, choose Christmas net lights for bushes and hedges. If you prefer to wrap trees with outdoor tree lights:

  • Use random patterns throughout
  • For long sections of hedges, bring the source of power to the center of the hedges and string lights to the left and right
  • Secure strings into the outer region of bushes, covering the top and 3/4 length down the sides
  • Leave 1' clearance from the ground to ensure lights don't sit in water or snow

Bright Ideas

Have fun with tree lighting schemes. Fun ideas to add to outdoor trees include:

Experiment with these lights and mix and match to create unforgettable trees.

How to Put Lights on a Christmas Tree

When wrapping Christmas trees for indoor use, one of the main goals should be to keep wires as concealed as possible. Wrapping tree branches instead of simply draping lights results in a beautiful, even distribution of lighting.

  • If wrapping using mini light strings, 8" bulb spacing allows wires to get snugly wrapped in branches
  • Begin at the base, leaving enough length for the male plug to reach the power source
  • Weave wire in and out of the length of the branch, making sure to move along branches when wire is closest to the trunk, and not displaying wire along the outer edge of the tips
  • When the lights reach the top of the tree, work back down only far enough to leave an open female end for a tree topper to plug into.

With all of this information, now you know how to string Christmas lights on outdoor trees and indoor trees.


Popular Outdoor Tree Lights

Mini Lights

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5mm LED Lights

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  • Super bright light
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C7 Bulbs

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C9 Bulbs

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  • Great for tall trees
  • Clear, color, twinkle
  • Frosted, LED

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