Stringing lights on X-Mas tree - your technique?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ted Lee, Dec 5, 2002.

  1. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

    Joined:
    May 8, 2001
    Messages:
    8,390
    Likes Received:
    0
    so i KNOW there's got to be a better way than going round and round the dang tree.
    i thought i watched some show where the lady said something about stringing the lights up and down the tree, stringing the lights down the length of the branches as you go.
    also something about you need more lights then you think.
    anyway, do any of you have a technique? if so i'd love to hear it!
    thx,
    ted
     
  2. Thi Them

    Thi Them Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 1999
    Messages:
    3,649
    Likes Received:
    0
    I do it round and round.

    ~T
     
  3. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    Messages:
    12,060
    Likes Received:
    0
    You can buy ‘net’ lights in either rectangles or triangles. Two, three or four of the triangles, depending on the size of your tree should do nicely. Just think of an isosceles triangle about seven feet high and maybe three feet at the base. Put the apex at the top of your tree, and everything just falls into place. Repeat two or three times, depending on your tree width and in about three minutes all of the lights are in place on your tree.

    Each triangle has 150 lights, which means that you can have 600, evenly spaced lights on your tree immediately.

    The catch—and you had to know that there was one, is that there are so many wires connecting the lights together, that its pretty hard to find room to hang ornaments. They are also more expensive than the traditional strings.

    Otherwise, this works well.

    Phillips makes these (probably other manufactures as well). They can be found at lots of retail outlets such as Target.

    Even so, I go aroung and around, starting at the base and working up. The net lights just interfered with our ornaments too much.
     
  4. Bill Harada

    Bill Harada Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    0
    My tree is usually set in a corner so I don't need lights on the back side. So I start at the top and go back-and-forth across the tree...like you apply icing to a cookie-tree. I suppose if your tree is visible from all sides you could use this method on both sides using two long strings of lights.
    I saw a Martha Stewart show where she describes how she applies a string of lights to the length of each branch. She keeps her lights on industrial-sized wire spools. [​IMG]
     
  5. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

    Joined:
    May 8, 2001
    Messages:
    8,390
    Likes Received:
    0
    thanks for the tips guys! hmm...maybe round and round is the way to go afterall. [​IMG]
     
  6. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

    Joined:
    May 8, 2001
    Messages:
    8,390
    Likes Received:
    0
    a-ha! i knew there had to be some tree experts here. thx buzz!
     
  7. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 24, 2001
    Messages:
    1,806
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey...everyone post a photo of their decorated tree! I get a real tree every year and use the "round and round" method. The lights I use have clips on them so I can clip them to each branch for a more finished look. The only exception is my G.E. Lighted Ice sets (large C-7 colored snowballs) that have been discontinued. Since I don't have enough for the entire tree, I drape them back and forth across the front half. Like many, my tree goes in a corner so the absence of Lighted Ice in the back isn't a big deal. I'll try posting an image when I buy one and get it decorated. One other thing...I insist on a real tree because I love the smell. But I'm actually very allergic to the touch of those trees! When I'm decorating the thing or watering it, I have to make sure I'm wearing long sleeves and a pair of gloves or I'll have hives for a day or two.
     
  8. JasenP

    JasenP Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 1999
    Messages:
    1,280
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Real Name:
    Jasen
    There are tree stands that rotate so you can spin it around while you decorate it. Makes it especially easy if your tree is in a corner. [​IMG]
     
  9. Mike I

    Mike I Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2000
    Messages:
    720
    Likes Received:
    0
    I use Buzz's method of stinging lights...I have 1600 lites on a 7.5 foot tree...It gives the tree a 3D look that is incredable..It does take a lot of time though..Almost 5 hours just to put the lights on..Since we moved last year, our new house has a huge storage closet that now we just fold up the tree still standing with the lights on and cover it with a sheet and store it intact...Works great and made set up this year a lot easier..
     
  10. Jim_F

    Jim_F Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 15, 2000
    Messages:
    1,077
    Likes Received:
    0
    My technique:
    1) Open box
    2) Unfold pre-lit, pre-decorated tree
    3) Plug it in
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

    Joined:
    May 6, 1999
    Messages:
    2,807
    Likes Received:
    0
    I tried those triangular net lights last year, and wasn't really satisfied. The wires connecting them stood out and weren't very attractive. Plus, they're relatively heavy so I had to be extra careful not to tip the tree over when I put the first set on.

    I went back to the round-and-round method.
     
  12. Bob McLaughlin

    Bob McLaughlin Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2000
    Messages:
    1,129
    Likes Received:
    3
    Real Name:
    Bob
    I am very meticulous about how I put up our artificial blue spruce tree. I start at the bottom attaching each branch, then I put the lights up and down each branch, from the center trunk out to the tip of each branch and back. I also make sure each sub-branch is staggered so there are no holes or gaps. Doing it this way, I can put as many as 1,500 lights on a single 7-foot tree.
     
  13. Walter A. Smith

    Walter A. Smith Auditioning

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 1999
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Wow,something I know about!I don't decorate trees for a living but it is part of my job this time of year.The method of starting at the base of the branch and going to the end and back is the best.On an artificial tree a little wrapping as you go will keep the cord neat and closer to the branch(thats just several wraps as you are going down the branch not several wraps between each light as I have had people do)and if you untwist the cord at the end of each branch you can slip the end of the branch in the space and have a light on the end of each branch.On a real tree laying works than wrapping unless it is a very hardy tree.Count on about 3 to 4 hundred light strings per foot of tree(I do a 16 foot tree that takes 55 strings of 100)Stand back and squint at the tree to make sure there are no holes,use plenty of extent ion cords and don't plug more than three strings end to end(you can piggy back plugs on the extent ion cords).Of course it helps if you are getting paid by the hour to do all this[​IMG]
     
  14. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

    Joined:
    May 8, 2001
    Messages:
    8,390
    Likes Received:
    0
    wow! it sounds like most of you folks are using manufactured trees! i'm pretty sure my girlfriend would have a fit if i tried to pull that. personally i'm all for it, but you know how that goes...
     
  15. Walter A. Smith

    Walter A. Smith Auditioning

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 1999
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ted,
    What I meant is that on a live tree instead of wrapping lights around the branch as you go,lay the lights along the branch and at the end of each tip Untwist the cord near a light and slip the tip through,this will allow you to go back the other direction.when you go back the other way toward the base go along the bottom of the branch and untwist the cord every so often and slip a branch tip through to hold in place(or use wire to keep the lights from sagging along the bottom of the branch)I have found that wrapping lights around live tree branches can cause them to twist or pull and cause the tree look unnatural.Also if you are using more than 10 strings of lights on a tree if you put dimmers on all your extention cords you can dim the lights so you wont need sunglasses to look at the tree[​IMG]
     
  16. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

    Joined:
    May 8, 2001
    Messages:
    8,390
    Likes Received:
    0
    ohh..i get it. in effect, go down one end of the branch (on the top) and go back the same way (on the bottom.)

    okay, good tip about splitting the wire with the branches too.

    hmm...we're picking up the tree today. guess what i'll be doing?

    thx again!
     
  17. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

    Joined:
    May 8, 2001
    Messages:
    8,390
    Likes Received:
    0
    i found a pretty good article at lowes.com - it pretty much repeats what walter already knows. [​IMG]
    Creating A Designer Tree
     
  18. andrew markworthy

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 1999
    Messages:
    4,762
    Likes Received:
    12
    Really simple technique - I get my wife to do it. [​IMG]
     
  19. DavidMich

    DavidMich Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2000
    Messages:
    177
    Likes Received:
    0
    1) Go into attic.

    2) Open trap door in floor.

    3) Remove plastic bag.

    4) Lower fully lit/decorated tree into room below.

    5) Remove hook from top of tree.

    5) Plug in.

    6) See people's jaw drop in amazement of your genius.

    Reverse procedure on January 15th.
     

Share This Page