Top Twelve Tools for Professional Outdoor Holiday Lighting
12 Must-Have Tools for any Christmas Lighting Project
The time between the upcoming holiday season and the last is a time to prepare. And preparation is a time to gather the tools you need. Your project might seem daunting, but having the right tools makes all the difference. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, whether your next project is modest or ambitious, these top twelve tools for professional outdoor holiday lighting will have you equipped to create fantastic displays.
After our list of essential outdoor Christmas lighting tools, stick around to discover a couple other tools that make life during decorating season easier.
- Wire Cutters
For professional-looking displays, you’ll use light line in varying lengths. And wire cutters are the right tool for fashioning light line into the lengths you need. Wire cutters will help you build custom light runs with empty socket light line. They can also be used to cut custom lengths of zip cord, cut zip ties from bundles of wire, and to trim ornament wires for your other Christmas decorating needs.
- Light Clips
The best way to put your lights up on rooflines is to use sturdy Christmas light clips. Clips create professional looking light applications that are aligned neatly along the perimeter of your home. Christmas light clips also keep your lights (and home) safe from damage caused by other non-professional solutions such as staples, nails and binder clips. You have access to many Christmas light clip options for different styles of arrangements—for single to multiple lines.
The foundation for pro-level outdoor Christmas lights installation in your yard doesn’t just depend on stakes, it’s (wait for it)…staked on it. Puns aside, you’ll have straight and evenly-spaced lighting with mindful application of light stakes. And you have a variety of light stakes to select from that are designed for the firmness of your soil, or depth of your flower beds.
Check out our video on how to install yard stakes for a rundown on what length of stakes to choose and how to set them up. If you’re feeling like one length of stake might not be enough, don’t worry—some Christmas yard lighting projects are best handled with multiple lengths.
- Rubber Mallet
For professional quality perimeter lighting, you might need to break stuff. But not in a bad way. Rather, in a precision way that will result in clean-looking light runs.
A rubber mallet is the right tool for the job. If your perimeter Christmas lighting runs need to make any transitions from one level of roofline to another, keep the look professional by eliminating the sockets in between. Use a rubber mallet to knock unnecessary sockets off of your light line. Here’s a quick demonstration of how to effectively use a rubber mallet to remove a light line socket.
- Electrical Tape
Electrical tape can play a couple roles in your outdoor Christmas lighting tools repertoire. The first role goes hand-in-hand so to speak with the last tool. Use it to cover any open holes left in the light line wire from the socket removal. The second role for electrical tape makes walkways safer, as it can be used to minimize tripping hazards by keeping wires on walkways in place.
Some people use electrical tape to terminate the end of their light run, but we don’t recommend doing this. Instead, the best and professional method for terminating your light run is to add a female plug at the end.
- Glue Gun
What’s the secret to seamless perimeter lighting on brick out of all outdoor Christmas lighting tools? The hot glue gun. It’s the best and easiest way to attach light line to brick. And you don’t need to shell out top dollar on a high quality glue gun to do a great job here, either! But for heavy duty brick lighting projects with more connection points, reach for a battery-operated glue gun to save you from any hassle during your outdoor Christmas lighting installation.
We’ve mentioned this before, but remember: glue guns are not appropriate for installations on stucco surfaces. It’s good to know is that stucco surfaces are created with either real stucco or a synthetic, Styrofoam-based stucco. More than likely, it’s faux stucco, or EIFS- “Exterior Insulation and Finish System.” With a Styrofoam base and synthetic stucco coating, the hot glue will rip some of the faux stucco coating off once you remove the light line during installation. Avoid damage to the stucco surface by avoiding adhesives like hot glue. You’ll want to try drilling a screw into the structure under the Styrofoam, instead.
- Extension Cords
It’s easy to think of extension cords as general-purpose cords that can be used anywhere. Yet some are better than others for use as outdoor Christmas light extension cords—you just need to ensure your chosen extension cord is rated for outdoor use and has these features:
- UL Listed—meaning that it meets the Underwriters Laboratory standard for safety and compliance
- Weatherproofing (snow, rain, etc.)
- Grounded plug
If you live where it gets extremely cold during the holiday season, we recommend cord rated TPE for your outdoor Christmas light extension cords. This cord is encased in a jacket of thermoplastic elastomer rubber (TPE) that provides advanced protection from extreme cold (or heat).
If your winters are on the milder side, regular outdoor rated extension cord or cord rated SJTW are fine as outdoor Christmas light extension cords.
- Zip Ties
Keep your outdoor Christmas arrangement clean with zip ties! They’re perfect for securing wreaths, garland, and light line to fences and gates. And to keep your light line together during takedown and storage, simply use a tip tie to fasten your light runs.
- TreE-Z Wraps
Add this to your outdoor Christmas lighting installation toolbox to nail that professional look on tree trunks, branches, pillars, columns, and other structures. TreE-Z Wraps are long thin strips that have teeth for gripping light line, keeping them secure and straight with consistent spacing. They’ll save you time on decorating, and removal without the bother of unraveling your line from around the object. TreE-Z Wraps simplify outdoor Christmas light decoration—and they won’t damage your trees either!
- Screws for Bricks
The look of greenery against brick is pleasing during the holidays, but brick isn’t an easy surface to get through. Luckily, there’s a tool for the job in the form of special screws that drive into bricks. Also referred to as concrete screws, these screws for bricks are great for securing wreaths against homes with brick exterior.
But before you spin any screws into place, make sure to clear the way for the screw. Drill a properly-sized hole for the screw using a hammer or impact drill.
This next tool is key if you want to operate your lights with ease. So forget manually turning your lights on and off. Use an outdoor Christmas lights timer to take care of the work so you can kick your feet up and relax—knowing that your lights will shine on (and off) when they should.
Choose from one of many convenient options for your outdoor Christmas lights timer, such as a photocell timer that activates your lights at dusk, or a Wifi smart app controlled timer that puts precision control in your hands.
- Clear Plastic Storage Bins
Our last top tool for professional outdoor holiday lighting is a storage solution. Clear plastic storage bins are the best option for Christmas lights and greenery storage. These bins make it a cinch to spot what’s in each box when it’s time to locate your decorations for next season.
Avoid cardboard boxes and fancy specialty containers. While the latter seems like a novel answer to problem that’s as old as Christmas decorating itself, specialty storage containers aren’t a good investment in holiday outdoor Christmas lighting tools.
Bonus: Two Nice-to-Have Christmas Tools
Pliers handily close up vampire plugs during the wire application of your Christmas decorating. They’re also useful for adjusting artificial greenery, such as the tips of wreaths that are little too bent out of shape.
Cougar Paws are specialized roofing boots with extra gripping on the bottoms developed to give you the ultimate in traction. Serious professional Christmas lights installers are always equipped with these. But Cougar Paws are not a guarantee for safety. Climbing roofs is a task for advanced installers only. We urge everyone to practice proper safety protocol at all times during lighting projects—especially when working on the roof of a house.
These top twelve tools for professional outdoor holiday lighting will have you prepared to produce a wonderful Christmas display. So wonderful, it might even make Santa Claus himself blush! Or does it look like he’s always blushing?
At any rate, we’re offering you further assistance for upgrading your outdoor Christmas lighting tool box. Reach out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a jingle at 1-800-391-5280 and get your questions answered today!