When Christmas Lights, Etc first shared the concept of DIY Christmas light balls with the general public, it became an instant hit. While commercial decorators created various types of light balls years before the web was around, they were largely an unknown decorating option for the general public. The history of the Christmas light ball has been fairly quiet, but now, they are a DIY phenomenon. A little wire and a few string lights go a long way. Our lights were used for what is now a famous Christmas light ball scene at the Chicago Botanical Gardens. The scene (pictured above) includes numerous light balls scattered around the grounds, on hillsides
and next to large trees. Christmas Lights, Etc also shared what has become the web's most popular tutorial on how to make DIY Christmas light balls, which you can browse below. This DIY tutorial includes the essentials with full pictures and video and we've improved it over the years thanks to our great customer community and enthusiasts who share our passion for cool Christmas lighting and decor projects. We'd like to thank everyone who helped contribute to making this a phenomenon and we hope it sparks creative ideas for everyone else that sees them. Now...onto the light balls!
How to Make Christmas Light Balls
Step One: Gather your supplies. For this project, you'll need chicken wire, small wire cutters, a measuring tape, gloves, and our LED mini lights.
Step Two: Roll out the chicken wire and measure out the dimensions. To create a spherical shape, the chicken wire must be twice as long as it is wide. We are creating a 2 Christmas light ball, so our chicken wire was 2 x 4.
Step Three: Cut the chicken wire at the measured area. Because chicken wire can be sharp and hard to handle, gloves come in handy when manipulating the wiring.
Step Four: Once the chicken wire is cut, place the two cut sides together and connect by twisting the wires around each other.
Step Five: As you can see in this picture, we created a bond by twisting the wire.
Step Six: Now you'll have a cylinder of chicken wire. This is where the shaping process begin.
Step Seven: Begin pushing the cylinder's sides together and twisting the wire together. Pleating as one would cloth, or folding the circle into each other, begins to create the round shape. Snip the wire with the wire cutters and twist it together to make sure it will hold.
Step Eight: Continue to sculpt the chicken wire to make it as round as possible. Pushing in the curves and pulling on the ends helps to create a more spherical shape.
Step 9: Once the ball is completely spherical, it's time to wrap with lights. Take your first string and wrap so that the male plug is exposed. This allows for the chicken wire ball to be plugged in and to power it.
Step 10: Wrap the lights around the ball, in and out of the wire, to secure it. When one string has gone as far as it can go, plug the next string in to create end-to-end runs. For this 2 ball, we used 3 LED light strings for added brightness, however a good rule of thumb is to use (1) 70ct 5mm LED Light string per every 1 ft of diameter. Once the lights are fully wrapped around the chicken wire ball, it's ready to be plugged in.
The green Christmas light ball is 2' in diameter, while the blue Christmas light ball is 4' in diameter. Use other LED light colors on several different sizes to create an entire garden of Christmas light balls. Then just sit back and enjoy. These Christmas light balls are amazing when lit together. Just take a look!
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