How do you attach Christmas lights to metal?

by | Jun 14, 2019

We hear this question often all year long – both for Christmas and for parties!

Folks are building barndomeniums (yes, this is a thing), replacing traditional roofs with metal, designing tiny houses using shipping containers, and installing lights for the weekend on their RV.

Clearly, there is a need to install lights on metal surfaces.

While packing or duct tape may be a possible short term solution to installing lights on metal, installation for more than a few days in the outdoor weather requires a different approach.

Magnetic clips

How do you attach Christmas lights to metal?

For 18-AWG light cords – the type used during the Christmas season for screw-in C7 and C9 bulbs – our favorite and best solution is custom magnetic clips that fit onto the bottom of the sockets and provide a secure hold for the string.

These won’t work with light strings that have a harness of 2-3 small wires. Make sure to test that your metal surface will work with magnets by testing that it has firm grip on a common refrigerator magnet.

See a sample of a patio lighting installation with magnetic light clips.

Adhesive Clips

How do you attach Christmas lights to metal?

Adhesive clips manufactured for light strings are an installation choice for mini Christmas tree lights along the roofline or around windows and work on smooth metal or wood surfaces.

The clip part fits a standard incandescent light bulb. Keep in mind that some LED mini light strings have larger, non-standard bases.

The clips are shipped with the adhesive pads pre-scored in a large sheet. Just peel off a square and apply it to a clip. Not the most exciting part of an installation but one that is made fun with the addition of friends and possibly sweet tea or an adult beverage.

The adhesive hold is pretty significant – we always have to remove them gently and patiently with plenty of Windex and a blade.

These clips also work well on super-smooth tile.

Always test in an inconspicuous spot. Like with hair dye or facial acid treatments. (Women will understand this. Men …. think of pre-testing …. um… men never pre-test anything.)

Suction cups

For light-weight light strings or traditional mini lights, a great choice might be small suction cups with built-in hooks if the metal surface is freshly painted and super-smooth.

Keep in mind that suction cups will have a light hold and are best for short term installs. Be sure to test in an inconspicuous place if there are any concerns the paint might lift.

Zip Ties

If all else fails, think zip ties. Not the world’s most elegant solution but if your installation is on a structure with beams or pipes, this non-marring solution might be just the ticket.

How do you attach Christmas lights to metal?
Save this for later! PIN IT!

Recent Posts

Why are half of my Christmas lights out?

Why are half of my Christmas lights out?

We hear this question from folks who are puzzled that their lights worked fine last season but are half out when they pull them out of storage. Or their lights suddenly half go out during installation.  What gives? Incandescent Christmas tree lights (aka mini...

read more
Measuring to hang Christmas lights – use your family!

Measuring to hang Christmas lights – use your family!

Any tips on measuring for how many feet of lights I'll need? After choosing the color and style of Christmas lights to install along your roofline, before purchasing, the next best step is measuing how many feet of light will be needed for the project. We'd like...

read more
What does the IP65 rating stand for?

What does the IP65 rating stand for?

The Answer: Whether or not you've heard of the actual rating, IP ratings are becoming more attractive to consumers since they are applied to cell phones. Everyone wants to know what will happen to their phones if they were accidentally dropped in water. Either them or...

read more

2 Comments

  1. Erica Limberg

    What should I use to attach C6 Christmas lights to metal?

    Reply
    • Shellie Gardner

      Unfortunately, that’s a difficult project. All of our clips are tailored to work with traditional C7 or C9 light cord manufactured with 18 AWG wire.

      We are currently looking at solutions for smaller lights and sets that have 2 to 3 wire harnesses but have not yet found one that is suitable at this time.

      Sorry we couldn’t be of more help on your project.

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Blog Posts

5-minute Project: Easy Shamrock Lantern

5-minute Project: Easy Shamrock Lantern

We love simple projects that use materials that are probably already on hand plus a seasonal item or two from a local hobby shop, dollar store, or dollar spot. For this project, we used an Ikea lantern, a string of battery lights, and a sheet of Shamrock stick on gels...

read more
Can a C7 25-foot cord be cut?

Can a C7 25-foot cord be cut?

Short and Long answer: If your 25-foot cord is made from a stranded heavier duty "lamp cord" that is wired in parallel, then yes, you can cut the cord to fit your project. This type of cord is shown in the image below. Parallel means that if one bulb is unscrewed from...

read more
Do I need anything else?

Do I need anything else?

A quick checklist for putting together a complete Christmas lights order. We hear this question all year. With an unlimited way to combine Christmas lights into a customized, personalized display - large or small - it helps to ask a few questions before completing an...

read more
Get This Look: A classic car and 12-volt light sets

Get This Look: A classic car and 12-volt light sets

This lovely vintage car is lit with warm white 12-volt light sets added to a 24-inch wreath on the grill, and a garland on the roof. Adding a couple of sets of lights on the front and back dashboards completes the project. Perfect for Christmas cruising or a parade....

read more