How to Wrap a Tree Trunk With Lights?

With the summer behind us, we’re already looking forward to the festive winter holidays ahead. But even if it’s too soon for you to start putting up Christmas lights, string light decorations can look awesome in the autumn too.

How to wrap a tree trunk with Christmas lights, however? With safety, effectiveness, and practicality all very important, wrapping a tree trunk with lights is easy but still requires a bit of know-how.

How to wrap outdoor trees with Christmas lights?

The first and most important thing when it comes to using electrical wiring outdoors is safety. Thankfully, there are lots of safety measures manufacturers take nowadays so there is a right way to go about this. So, for our first tip:

  • Make sure the extension cord you’re using is rated for outdoor use and has GFCI (ground-fault circuit-interrupter) protection for shock hazards. Obviously, the lights themselves must also be rated for outdoor use.

With the safety precautions out of the way, the next step is figuring out what trees you want to decorate with lights, how many lights you’re going to use, and what type.

  • When it comes to matching trees with lights, the good news is that pretty much every tree can look awesome when wrapped with Christmas lights. It is worth mentioning, however, that certain lights and colors pare better with different trees so make sure you’re getting a combo you’re sure you’re going to enjoy.
  • Calculate how long the light string needs to be / how many lights you want. You can test this with a simple cord or measure tape – just wrap it around the tree trunk and thicker branches as you would the lights and see what length you’re going to need.
  • When wrapping the lights (or the measuring tape before purchasing the lights) make sure you’re not too conservative about it. We know the “less is more” maxim applies to most things in life but tree lights are an exception – if you use too few lights the end result just won’t be pleasing. Our recommendation – make sure the different layers of the string lights are no more than 4 fingers away from one another.
  • As for what lights you should choose – when it comes to colors and sizes, the options are nearly endless. However, as far as the type is concerned, we’d recommend LEDs. They cost a bit more but they last much longer and consume much less power, which makes them both more practical and more affordable over time.

And lastly, for some practical installation tips:

  • Remember to test all light strands before connecting them and wrapping them around the tree. It can be very annoying to discover faulty lights in your string after you’ve gone through all the work of putting them up.
  • Start putting the lights from the lowest noticeable/visible point of the tree from both the street and from your home. If the lowest foot of the tree isn’t sufficiently visible, there’s no point in putting lights on it.
  • When winding up the lights, make sure they are securely attached to avoid them moving around from stronger winds. Most of the time this is easily done by just tightening the strings but sometimes you may also want to use planting tape or natural twines.
  • Lastly, make sure you use a ladder for the higher branches and you don’t climb the tree itself. The ladder should be adequate and secure, and you should always have a mate with you in case of an accident.


Blogger, editor, developer who loves green living. Interested in photovoltaics and solar lighting. Reviewing solar products since 2013.

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