How to hang festoon lights

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How to hang festoon lights

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Create a glittering galaxy of light overhead with pretty festoon lighting. Not only are festoon lights energy efficient, they’re also affordable and easy to install. Here’s how.

Tools and materials:

Cable ties

Copper swage

Drill

Eye protection

Festoon lights

Ladder

Measuring tape

Pencil

Phillips head bit

Rope thimble

Scissors

Steel wire eye strap

Swage crimper

Wire rope

Tools and materials needed to hang festoon lights

1. Choose your lights

Festoon lights are a great way to introduce soft, ambient lighting to your outdoor area. And the good news is that festoon light sets come in a range of styles and colours. You can opt for warm white – like we have – or really get the party started by choosing coloured bulbs.

2. Decide where to hang your festoon lights

Once you’ve picked out your lights it’s time to get measuring and marking up where you want to put your steel wire eye strap – this will form the anchor point for your lights. Hang them outdoor to create ambient lighting in your garden, backyard or balcony. The sky’s the limit in terms of design – criss-cross them over or opt for longer lengths. It’s up to you!

Measuring distance between festoon light anchor points

3. Measure up your steel wire

This length of wire rope will be what reinforces your lights and keeps them hanging in the correct position. The easiest way to measure how much you’ll need is to set your measuring tape to one metre, then unspool the wire according to how many metres you’ll need. Add an extra 30cm to each end of your rope to ensure you’ve got enough for mounting. Once you’ve got your desired length, use the wire cutter on your swage crimper to cut the rope.

Marking up placement of festoon light anchors with a pencil

4. Create your swage

Grab your swage and thread it through the wire rope. Create a loop and thread the wire back through the swage, pulling it tight before adding your rope thimble into the loop you’ve created. Push it up to make sure it’s tight, then using your swaging tool, crimp the swage closed to make sure the wire rope stays in place.

Cutting cable rope with a swaging tool

5. Mount your eye straps

Put your eye strap through the loop you’ve just created – you’re now ready to create your first mounting point. Screw in your eye strap to the point you previously marked on your wall. We are drilling into aluminium so we made sure to wear our protective eyewear and used metal screws (you’ll need timber screws if you’re drilling into timber).

Looping eye strap through cable rope swage

6. Connect your wire rope

Connect your wire rope to the metal eye strap, then create another loop at the other end, threading back through the swage. Add another rope thimble and clamp using your swage tool – pull your wire rope nice and tight before clamping down.

Attaching cable rope swage to anchor point

7. Hang your lights

Start with the power point connection end first to make sure you don’t run out of lead – then go nuts! Remember – if you’re using an older set of festoon lights, check the light bulbs work FIRST before installing. String your lights up along the wire rope, securing with cable ties as you go (remember to cut off any extra lengths to keep things neat). If you would like your lights to be straight, link your cable ties close together and pull taught. If you’d like a draping effect, spread the cable ties out and leave loose.

Tying festoon lights to cable rope with a cable tie

8. The scene is set

Once the sun goes down you’ll get the full effect and, trust us, it will be MAGNIFICENT!

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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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