Q/A: What do I use to line my roof?

Q/A: What do I use to line my roof?

After lighting a Christmas tree, lining a roofline is one of the first projects folks start with when decorating outdoors for Christmas.

There are 4 basic components required to outline a roofline.

  1. Christmas light cord
  2. Bulbs
  3. Clips
  4. Gilbert Plugs

1. Christmas Light Cord

C9 cord

This is a traditional cord that is constructed with stranded 18 AWG wire (also known as lampcord) that is rated for 10 amps with sockets spaced regularly along the line. These are the C7 or C9 light strings you might have been reading about.

C7 or C9 refers to the size of the bulbs. They have different-sized bases and use cords with different sizes of sockets.

C7 and C9 Christmas light cords are all listed starting at this category.

2. Christmas Bulbs

Q/A: What do I use to line my roof?

Search for your favorite bulb(s) at our bulbs page.

Choices to make regarding bulb choice include:

  1. C7 vs C9 (or possibly round! G30, G40, or G50 are also great choices for Christmas)
  2. Glass vs. LED
  3. Smooth, Faceted, Opaque, Twinkle
  4. Color!

3. Clips

Q/A: What do I use to line my roof?

After choosing a favorite bulb and cord combination, the right clip to use for installation is the next choice. Choose clips based on how the roofline is configured.

Many clips are designed to work by either sliding under the edge of the roof shingle or can be flipped to install the light sockets on a gutter.

Scan down this page of Christmas clips to choose the best match for your project. You’ll need a clip for every bulb installed on the cord to create a sharp, clean line.

The clip used in the featured image for this post is the All in One Clip. A classic, it has been a customer favorite for over 15 years.

4. Gilbert Plugs

Q/A: What do I use to line my roof?

One of the best advantages of using 18 AWG wiring for a Christmas display is having the ability to cut the cords to fit. Once cut, the cords will need plugs. The easiest style of plug to use is the gilbert or vampire style plug. You’ll need a male plug for each place the cords are cut at the beginning of a line. Female connectors can be used to terminate a line or combined with bulk wire can be used to create custom cords without sockets to jump between windows or roof peaks.

Here is a handy post about how to determine how many plugs to purchase.

Additional tips:

  1. Regardless of the style of bulb used, never run more than 250 feet of 18 AWG Christmas cord (including any bulk wire jumpers) in a single circuit. This is the maximum light line specification for 18 AWG cord.
  2. Add the wattages of bulbs used per breaker to ensure that you don’t exceed 80% of the maximum current load. If you have questions about your electrical service and installation, be sure to reach out to a Master Electrician for professional assistance.
  3. Test cords and bulbs by building cords before installation. Where applicable, install clips on sockets before beginning installation.
  4. Power lights with outside rated surge protectors to protect your investment.

Q/A: What do I use to line my roof?
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Get This Look: Dressing up a porch for Christmas!

Get This Look: Dressing up a porch for Christmas!

We love and appreciate the simplicity of this customer’s Christmas porch.

Get This Look: Dressing up a porch for Christmas!

Here is the simple materials list for this project.

Get This Look: Dressing up a porch for Christmas!

Get This Look: Simple but elegant lights to brighten a porch for Christmas

Get This Look: Dressing up a porch for Christmas!Stacey

Materials
  

Notes

This project highlights the use of warm white lights and garland to accent the customer’s porch that is also accented with their own pre-lit mini trees.
If warm white, isn’t a favorite, choose an alternative color – multi, red, green, blue, orange, yellow, pink, purple, teal, or the starker pure white – to complement a Christmas tree, other lights in your display, or to express your favorite way to light the Holidays. 
Tried this project? We’d love to see it.Share your photos! @christmaslightsource or #christmaslightsource on Facebook and Instagram.
Get This Look: Dressing up a porch for Christmas!
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Get This Look: It’s all about the clips!

Get This Look: It’s all about the clips!

This customer photo shows a classic roof elevation highlighted with glass bulbs.

This installation is a great example of what professional clips can do!

Red, White and Green Christmas Lights

Get This Look: It’s all about the clips!

Get This Look: It's all about the clips!Stacey
A classic look that is easier with the right clips.

Materials
  

Installation Tips
 

  • Quantities of cords and bulbs is based on the your home's measurements
Tried this project? We’d love to see it.Share your photos! @christmaslightsource or #christmaslightsource on Facebook and Instagram.

See quick videos of these clips:

Get This Look: It's all about the clips!
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Get This Look: Karen’s LED Multi-color LED Christmas lights!

Get This Look: Karen’s LED Multi-color LED Christmas lights!

My cousin, Karen, gives new meaning to her name. She’s very cool and has a lovely Christmas light display.

About two years she moved from a traditional glass multi tradition and decided to go all -n with LED. She has been kind enough to share these photos of this year’s display. Scroll down to see all of them.

Materials

This look can also be achieved with traditional glass C7/C9 bulbs. See all of the different choices at our bulbs and cords page.

Installation Tips

Order one magnetic clip per bulb/socket

Karen is petite so she uses a couple of large binder clips to keep her lights in place along the roofline when she moves the ladder as she is installing the lights. When a couple of feet are “attached” to the fascia with the magnetic clips, she clips a binder clip onto the shingles and grabs the one she left behind before she moves the ladder. This helps avoid the problem of accidentally yanking down several feet of bulbs.

Matching the roofline, net lights, and inside Christmas tree lights unifies a Christmas light display.

Get This Look: Karen's LED Multi-color LED Christmas lights!
Get This Look: Karen's LED Multi-color LED Christmas lights!

Lights installed on metal fascia with magnetic clips.

Get This Look: Karen's LED Multi-color LED Christmas lights!
Get This Look: Karen's LED Multi-color LED Christmas lights!
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Nurse starts Alzheimer’s awareness project in memory of her Grandfather

Nurse starts Alzheimer’s awareness project in memory of her Grandfather

When life doesn’t go as planned, we love to hear stories of men and women who overcome circumstances to effect positive change.

Word of mouth gets around. It’s a small world and Stacey (in charge of all media and design at Christmas Lights Source) heard via family about about this story and we wanted to spread the word of how a nurse in Southern Illinois is doing just that.

Jennifer Glodo commemorates her Grandfather who passed away with Alzheimers 10 years ago by sponsoring fun runs and other events to bring awareness and raise money for research.

During times like these, Jennifer, knew that a fun run wasn’t an option so she’s found alternatives such as posting interviews with experts on Facebook, encouraging members of her community to wear purple, and putting purple and white Christmas lights on her house.

“Just to draw attention from neighbors and it’s a conversation starter. That’s really what I’m after this year.”

Jennifer Glodo – New 3 WSIL Article

From July 13, 2020

My parents house 💜 Please consider joining us for Light the Night to raise Alzheimer’s Awareness! Even something as simple as changing your porch light to a purple bulb can help raise awareness 💜 And then please take a picture and share it with our hashtag #CamsCrew

https://www.facebook.com/CamsWalk/videos/588204868554496/
https://www.facebook.com/CamsWalk/videos/588204868554496/

For more information about Jennifer and her other great work such as improving Alzheimer’s testing protocols, a community support group, and more, read this News 3 story.

Follow Jennifer’s Facebook page Cam’s Run.

How are you making things work during Covid? Please share your stories in the comments.

Entryway Keyholder with Lights

Entryway Keyholder with Lights

We love it when customers share quick projects that can be tailored for any season. For this project, choose Christmas floral picks for Winter, peonies for Spring.

Thanks so much to Stacey for sharing the photos!

Materials

  • Plywood and stain
  • Small crate (available at a local craft or hobby store, ie. Hobby Lobby or Michaels)
  • Hooks
  • Mason jar
  • Circular clamp
  • Decorative hooks
  • Battery lights

General Instructions

The great things about these types of woodworking projects is that everything can be cut to fit for your installation space.

  1. Cut plywood backing to fit the size and shape of your entryway
  2. Stain plywood and crate (or paint!)
  3. Install the hooks
  4. Run a screw through the clamp
  5. Glue the crate onto the plywood, then after it dries, nail through the plywood into the sides of the crate
  6. Install mason jar
  7. Add lights, filler and floral picks.

What a great way to store mail and keys. We love it!

Entryway Keyholder with Lights
Entryway Keyholder with Lights
Entryway Keyholder with Lights
Entryway Keyholder with Lights

Did you try this project?

Please share a photo in the comments below.

Christmas Lights Recycling Benefits Toys for Tots for 2019

Christmas Lights Recycling Benefits Toys for Tots for 2019

Another year of recycling is in the bag! In 2019, customers sent in and we recycled over 8000 pounds of used Christmas lights. All of the proceeds were used to purchase over $3000 worth of educational books, and project kits from Usborne Books that were delivered to friendly Marines at Toys for Tots.

Thanks go out to our friend and Usborne Consultant, Becky Dean, who helped us choose the best books for children in the 10-14 year range. (That’s the age range that frequently received the least donations.)

Here is our last load of recycling as Dave drops it off at the recycler.

Christmas Lights Recycling Benefits Toys for Tots for 2019

We had to use Dave’s packing-the-trunk superpower to transport the books to Toys for Tots.

Christmas Lights Recycling Benefits Toys for Tots for 2019

A couple of boxes belted in for safety!

Christmas Lights Recycling Benefits Toys for Tots for 2019

The Toys for Tots warehouse.

Christmas Lights Recycling Benefits Toys for Tots for 2019
Boxes ready for distribution throughout the Dallas/Arlington/Fort Worth Metroplex

Unloading the books and educational activity kits 2 weeks before Christmas distribution.

Christmas Lights Recycling Benefits Toys for Tots for 2019
Christmas Lights Recycling Benefits Toys for Tots for 2019

This yearly traditional has been one of my favorite days of the year for over 10 years.

Christmas Lights Recycling Benefits Toys for Tots for 2019

Thank you to all the Marines who make Toys for Tots the successful nationwide project that it is for infants to teens.

All of us at Christmas Light Source would like to take time to thank all Servicemen for their service.

Thank you as well to all the folks who have sent in their Christmas lights to be responsibly and locally processed/recycled. You’ve kept them out of a landfill and turned them into Christmas morning smiles.

The Christmas Light Source Christmas Lights Recycling Program continues to accept lights for 2020.