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Home » Do It Yourself (DIY) » Animate/Computerize » Wireframes are perfect for outdoor Christmas decorations.
Wireframes are perfect for outdoor Christmas decorations.
Wireframes

Wireframes are perfect for outdoor Christmas decorations.

 It’s one thing to put a lot of lights on trees and bushes… but if you really want to get their attention, use wireframe (or wireframes.) There are plenty of vendors that will sell them to you and most will put the lights on them, too.

If you want your wireframe to be different, consider mounting your own lights.

You can use standard miniature lights. The pros use 50 light strings with 2-4 inch spacing between the lights instead of the standard 6 inch spacing you get at the stores. They typically attach the lights with 1/2 inch fiber based, plastic packing tape (see below). The only problem with this tape is it tends to come unraveled after a few years being outside and exposed to the elements. It’s worth your time to enhance the wireframe and use a 4 inch tie wrap on each light socket. You’ll never have to worry about the tape coming undone again but the tape still deteriorates with age.

The alternative method to using miniature lights is to use ropelight. Use lots of tie wraps to attach the ropelight to the wireframe. Spots where you don’t want to see the ropelight should be wrapped in black electrical tape. See the close-up of the picture.

Ropelight creates special challenges of its own. Be sure and read how to cut and attach 120 volts to it on another page. Most of the time, you’ll have an excess length of ropelight color on your wireframe. Simply use black electrical tape and wrap it around the length of extra ropelight giving the end special attention to make sure bare wires are not protruding (use liquid electrical tape or silicon to cover.)

Securing lights to the wireframe

There are three fundamental methods of securing the light to the metal frame… plus a few hybrids. Close-up pictures will speak volumes.

Tape (either colored electrical or fiber-based packing) is an easy way to quickly attach the lights. Weather is the biggest challenge. After a few seasons you will need to re-apply the tape.
Tie wraps (zipties) are another preferred method. A 4″ length works the best and you’ll want to get a “tensioning tool” to automagically pull and cut each tie, though people have been known to use fingernail clippers. Note the lock assembly is always on the back of the frame. With ropelight, put the tie between lights.
Clips are by-far the easiest and fastest method. You sometimes need to get creative securing excess wires (look carefully at this picture for a black tie wrap).

 

Examples

Here are some example of wireframes.