Twinkling Christmas Lights – add some sparkle!

April 19, 2012

Adding Twinkle to your Christmas Lights Display is Easy

Here are 4 easy ways to add twinkle or movement to your Christmas Lights Display 🙂

1. Use traditional incandescent mini lights – they have a natural twinkle

There is a reason that some people call these lights “twinkle lights” or “twinkle mini lights” – they have a natural quality that makes them sparkle when a breeze moves them in outside installations. This is the most subtle form of twinkle and is more related to the glowing effect that incandescent bulbs have. There is a reason that mini lights are still the most popular Christmas tree decoration.

2. Use C7 or C9 twinkle Bulbs

The larger C7 and C9 bulbs that screw into stringer wire come in three different varieties – transparent, painted and twinkle. You can use the twinkle bulbs to add some movement to an otherwise static display. That’s assuming that you don’t have your display connect to a multi-channel Light-O-Rama controller – a Christmas lights extravaganza, indeed.

The twinkle bulbs flash on off at about a rate of 1 second on and 1 second off. The rate is temperature dependent and the colder it is the longer the delay time. Once you plug them in, it can take a few seconds in cold weather for them to start flashing.

A good rule of thumb is 10-20 percent twinkle bulbs in ratio to static bulbs. This will add a little movement without giving someone a Japanese-animation-style seizure.

(Note, if you have enough of these twinkling bulbs in a display, they will start to mess with your TV reception.)

3. Use mini lights with random twinkle bulbs. These sets come with some percentage of light bulbs already configured to twinkle. This isn’t a flasher bulb arrangement where the entire set flashes on and off (oh, how I loved the flasher bulb as a kid) but just a few bulbs that randomly twinkle.

The bulbs don’t “flash” they turn on and off randomly which creates a random twinkle effect. This is a great look for a Christmas tree – where the bulbs are also interspersed with your ornaments. It also makes a really pretty statement in a landscaping application accenting plants like crepe myrtles and other shrub-trees.


4. Use Chasing mini lights

Chasing mini lights look wonderfully random when you combine more than 2 strings and wind and weave them around and together on plants, deck ceilings, stage productions and any application where you want to go a bit over the top. Sets that have multi-function controllers can allow you to slow fade, fast fade, straight chase, flash, etc and mixing those effects can also have a cool affect.

So, now you know that you don’t have to resign yourself to steady on Christmas lights. You have a choice when it comes to adding sparkle, twinkle of flash to your home, your party or your Christmas.


4 thoughts on “Twinkling Christmas Lights – add some sparkle!”

  1. Years ago we had a lovely prelit Christmas tree with individually twinkling lights. Is there a way to make any tree with incandescent lights twinkle individually?

    1. No, not in the way I think you are thinking. The twinkle is a function of the individual bulbs. Finding individual twinkling bulbs with the right base and voltage rating would make this a tricky, if not impossible, project.

      So, the way to achieve this look would be to remove and replace the light strings with sets that are manufactured with a few random twinkle bulbs.

      Hope that helps.


  2. I have been frustrated in trying to find LED lights that truly “twinkle,” not in a pattern or sequentially, but each bulb independently. One of your descriptions above appears to be what I am looking for. Can you provide a product name, manufacturer or other info that might help me in my quest for a truly “sparkling” tree without putting it on a turntable and allowing the motion and the effect of branches briefly hiding bulbs to create a faux twinkle?

    In any case, have a safe and happy season!

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