Tips and Inspiration for Decorating with Icicle Lights

Tips and Inspiration for Decorating with Icicle Lights

September 18, 2023

How to Decorate with Icicle Lights: Installation Tips and Ideas

The holiday season brings lots of fun opportunities for decorating with Christmas lights. Our MosquitoNix® Elves can help with our professional holiday lighting and decorating services. Our team is licensed and insured, with the expertise to create an incredible display at your home, business, school or church. We know so much about Christmas lights that we like to share our knowledge whenever we can. That’s why we’re pleased to provide these tips and ideas for decorating with icicle lights. Learn how to use them to light up the night with Christmas cheer!

What Are Icicle Lights?

Let’s start by taking a look at what we mean by “icicle lights.” Icicle lights are string lights that hang downward in short strands (usually 12 or 18 inches) to look like glittering icicles. You hang them the same way you hang standard string lights, by stretching the light’s cord along the roofline or other area you want to decorate, and securing the cord in place as you go. You can find icicle lights in both LED and incandescent varieties, and with either white or multicolored lights. The wide range of options available makes it easy to create different looks.

Tips for Hanging Icicle Lights

When it comes to how to install icicle lights, the process is fairly straightforward, but there are some tips you should keep in mind.

  1. Plan your lighting design in advance.

As with any type of holiday lights, you don’t want to just grab a string and start hanging; you want to make sure you know exactly where and how your lights should hang. This will require some calculations on your part. For example, if you want the lights to go along the roofline on the front of your house, do you know approximately how many feet of lights (and thus, how many light strings) you will need? Doing these calculations in advance will help ensure that you don’t run out of lights hallway through your project. Advance planning and picturing what the end result will look like will also help ensure the most attractive design possible, compared to making it up as you go.

  1. Give your lights enough slack to create the look you want.

When measuring to determine the number of feet you need to complete your design, bear in mind that you may not necessarily want the lights to be stretched into a straight line. If you want a more scalloped or draped look in all or part of your lighting design, you’ll need more slack. Estimate how many extra feet of lights you’ll need to give yourself the slack you require, and purchase your lights accordingly.

  1. Make sure you’re using the right kind of icicle lights.

Since there are many types of icicle lights, you want to make sure you have the right kind to achieve your desired aesthetic. Of course, this includes deciding whether you want to create a playful, colorful look with multicolored lights, or a classic winter-wonderland look with white lights. However, you’ll also need to determine whether you want to use LED or incandescent icicle lights. There are pros and cons to both types; for example, incandescents provide a more warm, traditional-looking glow, particularly when it comes to white lights. On the other hand, LEDs are much more energy efficient and are considered to be less of a fire hazard because they produce much less heat.

There are also indoor and outdoor icicle lights, as well as icicle lights that can be used in both environments. Make sure that your outdoor icicle lights are approved for outside use. Conversely, if you’re using your icicle lights inside, make sure they’re rated for indoor use.

  1. Put safety first.

Don’t forget that you’re dealing with electricity, often at heights high off the ground. You want to make sure you’re using caution and following best practices for working with electricity as well as ladders (or cherry pickers, if you require that kind of equipment). Always follow the “rules” of proper Christmas light decorating inside and outside your home, like keeping cords dry, not connecting more than three strings of incandescent lights and not using sharp objects like staples or nails to hang your lights.

For more holiday light safety information, government organizations like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Fire Administration have resources available online. You can also hire professionally trained and insured holiday light installers to do the job for you.

Creative Ways to Use Icicle Lights

Now, let’s look at some fun ideas for decorating with icicle lights. As noted earlier, many people line the rooflines of their home or business with icicle light strands. This look is classic and simple while providing a lot of visual impact. However, you want to try something different from (or in addition to) that look this year. Here are some ideas to help inspire you.

  • Overlay your lights with greenery, beads and more.

Once you’ve hung your icicle lights, you can jazz them up by hanging holiday decorations like garland and ornaments just above them, like in the picture shown above. Be sure to use non-flammable materials and keep space between the lights and the additional decorations. LED lights are also preferable for this look, from a fire-safety perspective.

  • Add them to handrails.

If you have stairs leading up to your front door, consider securing a string of lights to each of the handrails, so that the lights hang down along the rail’s spindles for a pretty effect. Just make sure this doesn’t interfere with the ability to securely hold the railings.

  • Create a “chandelier.”

You can use icicle lights to create a beautiful “chandelier” for a covered outdoor space, like a front porch. Just wrap a couple of layers of icicle lights around a plastic hula hoop and use wire to suspend the hoop so that it’s parallel to the ground, with the lights hanging downward. Again, stick to using LED strands for increased fire safety.

  • Don’t be afraid to mix and match.

Remember that you don’t only have to stick to using one type of lights. For example, if you want to install lights around your door, you’ll want to use standard string lights instead of icicle lights to avoid strings of lights getting stuck in the door or bonking people in the head. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use icicle lights on other parts of the house. Get creative and have fun!

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