Wrapping Trees with Christmas Lights

By Kelli Harvey | Updated Apr 30, 2021

What You'll Find in This Guide

From outdoor trees and bushes to indoor Christmas trees too, we're covering all of the most common tree light wrapping topics in this guide below! Browse through each topic or click on a link from the list below to go straight to the section you're looking for.

How Many Lights for Wrapping Trees?

When deciding how many lights you'll need to wrap a tree, start by measuring the circumference of the tree trunk and any branches you plan 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. String lights with 6" bulb spacing are popular for wrapping trunks and branches.

To calculate the total string length you'll need: divide the tree height by the spacing you want between wraps and multiply the total by circumference.

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.

Multicolor LED Light Wrapped Tree for Christmas
Christmas Light Wrapped Trees

Quick Tree Wrapping Tips

Most outdoor 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. You can create a beautiful scene with just a few string lights wrapped with 6-8" spacing around each tree, however if you want an intense, full coverage look, keep each wrap closer together as you move up the tree. Depending on how high you plan to wrap the tree, it may be helpful to have a ladder or bucket lift, and a second person to help out.

Quick Steps For Wrapping Trees with Lights

  • Plug all of the light strings in to make sure they are working and then wind each string into a ball shape. This step is important. It takes just a few seconds but it will save you tons of time by not having to deal with loose or tangled strings during your install.

  • Now begin passing the ball of lights around the trunk of the tree. Keep the lights pulled tight as you go to create tension and prevent the string from slipping down the tree trunk.

  • When you reach the end of the first string, plug the next string in and continue wrapping up the trunk and into the branches as high as you'd like to go.

  • Secure the end of your final string by tucking it under a nearby light wrap or use a zip tie to fasten it to the branch.

How to Wrap a Tree with Lights

Step 1. Create a ball of lights to make wrapping easier, connect the male plug to a power source at the base of the tree. You can also buy pre-balled light sets to save on time!

How to Wrap a Tree with Lights

Step 3. When you reach the end of the first string, plug the next string in and continue wrapping up the trunk and into the branches as high as you'd like to go.

How to Wrap a Tree with Lights
How to Wrap a Tree with Lights

Finished Results: Beautiful Light Wrapped Trees!

Red, White & Blue Light Wrapped Trees - Patriotic Decor
Red, White & Blue Patriotic Light Trees
Tree Wrapped with White Christmas Lights
Classic White Outdoor Tree Lights
Halloween Light Wrapped Trees
Halloween Light Wrapped Trees

Trunk Wrap Lights for Wrapping Trees

Wrapping trees with string lights using the step by step methods above allows you complete control over the finished look of your light wrapped trees. You can completely customize light colors, the spacing between each wrap, and the style of light strings you use. With string lights you can also wrap much higher up into a tree and its smaller branches to create a striking effect, whereas trunk wraps typically won't work for very small branches. For ultimate control over your design, wrapping trees with string lights is the way to go. However, this method can be costly, and depending on how many trees you wrap, the time commitment could be significant. If you're trying to stay within a tight budget, you want completely uniform lighting, or you're short on time, trunk wrap lights might be a better solution for your project.

StretchNet Pro™ tree wraps are designed with a stretchable cord that is woven into the net, making them expandable for wrapping small and large trees. Simple loop clasps attach the ends of the net around the tree, making installation incredibly simple.

Some people love the uniform, grid pattern produced by trunk lights, while others prefer the more subtle variations produced by hand wrapping trees with string lights. The photos below show trees that have been wrapping using trunk wrap lights and others wrapped with strings lights. The visual differences are evident and worth consideration when choosing how to light up your trees.

Tree Wrapped with String Lights

Trees Wrapped with String Lights

Tree Wrapped with Trunk Lights

Trunk Wrap Tree Lights

Wrapping Lights on Evergreens

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.

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
  • 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
Snowy Tree Wrapped with Lights
Evergreen Trees Wrapped with Lights

Lights for Bushes and Hedges

For the fastest, cleanest method, choose Christmas net lights for bushes and hedges. If you prefer to wrap your bushes and hedges 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

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 you're 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.

Hanging Decorations for Trees

Have fun with tree lighting schemes by using a different light colors and color combinations to create themed outdoor light displays. Some mini light strings even have multiple bulb colors on one string to easy accomplish the perfect look for a variety of holidays! Popular color combinatons include orange and purple or purple and green lights for Halloween; red, white and blue lights for patriotic displays; and red and green, blue and white or red and white lights for Christmas. In addition to playing with tree light colors, have some fun with hanging a variety of decorations from tree branches too!

Hanging Decoration Ideas

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