Measuring to hang Christmas lights – use your family!

November 17, 2018

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 to propose two ways to measure your home’s roofline

The most accurate method:  Use a measuring tape.

This makes good common sense.

Pretty simple, measure along the roofline either directly at the edge between two people on ladders, along the ground under the roofline, or while walking along the ground with a rolling measure under the roofline edge. These are all fairy precise ways of measuring for your project.

Always thinking, I’ve put years of math education and a childhood love of scale models and a little mountaineering experience to propose a way to estimate (or shall we say guestimate) the length of your roofline elevations.

This afternoon’s conversation:

Me:  “Dave, they could make fun of me for proposing this….”

David:  “They’ll either laugh, roll their eyes, or try it. Either way, you’re golden. Just take the photos and print it.”

Christmas Light Guestimation Process

A couple of nights ago, we were installing C9 glass and LED bulbs on this short run of roofline on our house and was standing back taking photos when I realized that I could use that short piece of roofline to “measure” the other lengths of roofline in my field of vision.

I made a quick measurement with my fingers. We can see by counting the bulbs that the distance is about 23 feet – let’s round to 25.

Note, I’m in my neighbor’s yard to make sure I have a good view of the side of the house without moving.  Note, the minute you move, you have to “re-measure” the distance of the measured side. (Put a rock on the ground where you are standing if you have to step away.)

 

Then, I used the same width to estimate the length of the side of the house. With my guestimation, I estimated that the side of the house was about 30 feet. It’s actually right at about 30 feet give or take a couple of feet.

That’s close enough!  Round up when making a final figure and it should be close enough for you. (We used to say “close enough for government work” when I was an engineer!) Add 10-15% to the final number.

 

Today, I thought I’d bring a little more “precision” to the process.

I enlisted the help of the family.

Meet Jack.

 

 

Let’s measure Jack. He’s about 6 feet tall.  (He’s actually 5’10.5 but he prefers we round up. He’s 15. He’s hoping for 2-3 more inches!)

 

Standing back, we see Jack makes the perfect scale unit.

 

Measure Jack with a sewing ruler.

 

Not using an iPhone to photograph the process would make this easier.  We see that this section of roofline is a little more than 3 Jacks.

 

 

 

After seeing that the distance is about 3 jacks, I rounded up to 20 which is only 3 feet off of actual.

Then the roofline becomes the measure.

 

Use the distance to measure other lines on the house.

 

 

On your own house, repeat the process until you’ve added up all the different angels you plan to outline.

Let us know if you try this method!!  Send us a photo!!!  We’d love to see it.

Let us know how it works in the comments below!!

 

 

Shellie
Aside from throwing dinner parties that feature at least two kinds of cheese dip, Shellie's passions include travel, Mid-Century Modern furnishings and finding the perfect street taco. Has been known to snort laugh champagne.

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