Wrapping Trees with Christmas Lights

By Kelli Harvey | Updated Jun 17, 2020
How to Wrap Trees with Lights

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 wrapping 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.

Christmas mini lights with 6" bulb spacing are 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.

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. Wrapping outdoor trees with lights 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 male end closest to the base of the tree, 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.

How to Wrap a Tree with Lights

The following DIY image tutorial used a single 70 count LED light string and wrapped a trunk approximately 4'H and 10" diameter, as well as two branches. 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.

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

How to Wrap a Tree with Lights

Step 3. Wrap lights up and down the length of main branches

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.

This innovative style of trunk wrap allows you to wrap multiple trees of varying sizes quickly and easily. StretchNet Pro™ tree wraps are designed with a stretchable cord that is woven into these nets, making them expandable from 20 inches x 45 inches up to 45 inches x 45 inches. That's wide enough to wrap a tree over 14 inches in diameter, yet it starts out small enough to cover 6" round trunks! 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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