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Make…A Festive Light Decoration

Dec 1, 2015 | Inspire

December is here which means Christmas decorations start appearing around our Saffron Souk. Fairy lights feature a lot – they’re one of our favourite things (at any time of year!) and are perfect for creating a festive atmosphere inside and out.

This year, we’ve being trying our hand at using lights in a different way and rope lights are our choice of weapon!

Rope lights are inexpensive, effective, versatile and surprisingly simple to work with. We honed our skills making the ‘Saffron Souk’ sign for our Pop Up at The Change Initiative and are here to share how you can make a festive rope light of your very own.

If there’s any tricks to working with rope lights – this is it! To ensure the circuits inside the rope light say intact and operational, the cable can only be cut at one meter intervals in a particular spot. Ask the friendly staff in your lighting shop to show you how to locate it. If you cut the cable in other locations, it won’t work – trust us, we learned this the hard way!

So, taking that on board, a little preparation is essential. Start by making a template by drawing your Christmassy shape or word on paper at 1:1 scale, or use a computer and print it out on a few A4 sheets like we did.

We went with ‘jolly’ but also fancy ‘jingle’ and ‘merry’ or perhaps a star or stylised tree shape. Words that join up well in running writing work best – and avoid too many ‘t’ letters which can be tricky to cross.

Measure the length of your design using a tape measure, working out the route of the rope light cable. You might need to make some adjustments to the layout or size of your design to make sure it comes to a multiple of continuous 1m lengths. We have used a 5m length for our ‘jolly’.

Grab your wire and wrestle it in to shape to match your template. Use cable ties to help keep it in position as needed, particularly where the wire crosses over itself. Clip your wire shape off the roll with wire cutters. You know have a sturdy frame to support the rope light.

Just to be sure, plug your rope light in to make sure it’s working properly and the whole length lights properly.

Starting at one end, fix the rope light on to your wire frame with cable ties. Secure them together at sharp bends and every 10cm or so. When the light is on, you won’t see the cable ties so use plenty.

Once the rope light is secured to your wire frame, flip it over and trim the cable ties with scissors so that the wire frame will sit flat against your wall.

Use a few wall hooks or fishing wire to hang your light, plug it in…wait for that collective ‘Ahhhh’ and enjoy!

Jolly good fun, but these light features are not toys so please keep out of reach of children and use responsibly. Happy making!