Rope light decorations are popular for Christmas, but they can be very expensive if bought in stores. Fortunately you can make easy homemade lighted outdoor Christmas decorations using cheap materials. Here are some very quick and easy steps for creating your own original rope light yard sculptures for Christmas.
Get some straight double rail wreath forms, some white rope lights, rainbow color permanent markers, some Krylon stained glass spray paint in the colors you’d like to use in your Christmas yard decoration. You can use a different color rope light strand if the Christmas decoration will be all one color. Using the wreath forms, create a grid in the right shape and size for your Christmas yard art decoration. Use high gauge floral or craft wire (18 gauge or higher) to lash the wreath forms together. Draw your Christmas decoration on a very large sheet of paper or several sheets of paper secured together with invisible tape. Ideas for Christmas yard art include Santas, reindeer and snowmen. You can also spell out words such as “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays.” If you don’t paint your Christmas rope lights, you can remove the lights, disassemble the wreath forms and reuse them another year to make a different outdoor Christmas decoration.
Use a clip art picture downloaded from the Internet as a guide to draw your Christmas art, if necessary. Lay the wreath form grid on top of the paper, then begin to shape the rope light to your drawing. Use twist ties to temporarily attach the rope light to the wire wreath form. Figure out where in your design the rope lights need to be a different color. Mark the areas off with a dotted line in colored permanent marker that matches the color you will eventually paint that section of the rope light strand. For example, you will most likely want to make the body, hat and nose of your Santa yard decoration red and make his hands and feet green or black while leaving his beard and the ball on his hat white. You can make the body of the reindeer decoration brown, giving him a red bow around his neck while leaving his antlers white. The snowman decoration can be left entirely white, or you can use as many different colors as you like.
Lay the rope light down on some newspaper in a well ventilated area. Place newspaper over the top of the rope lights anywhere you don’t want the spray paint to be applied. Spray the rope light, then allow plenty of time to dry before painting another section. In some cases, the paint may take as much as a week to dry, so start the project well in advance of Christmas and don’t get impatient.
When you’re finished spray painting your Christmas rope lights and they’ve dried completely, go back to your paper guide and wire wreath form. Reattach the rope lights to the wreath form with zip ties. Put up the wreath form anywhere you like in your yard. You can put it up in a window, attach it to a tree or bush with floral wire or engineer a metal stand to keep it upright in your yard.
For more Christmas decorating ideas, read Pine Cone Christmas Tree Ornament Craft Project and Sculpey Gingerbread Man Christmas Ornament Craft Project.
Martha Stewart, “Outdoor Lighting: Joy.” MarthaStewart.com