When Luke and I decided to get married in the Horticulture Gardens at our beloved alma mater, Michigan State University, followed by our reception in the greenhouse we were ecstatic about the blank canvas the venue afforded us! During my many hours brainstorming, i.e., Pinteresting, I came across Landee’s beautiful idea to transform traditional Christmas lights into something much more with just a can of spray paint. In short, the altered lights were exactly the unique inexpensive touch that I was looking for as I was planning the extraneous details of our wedding.
Project Level: Easy
Time Commitment: Dependent upon quantity and how perfect you plan on being during the painting process.
- Christmas lights (C7 or C9)
- Tissue Paper
- Painting Cloth
- Despite not being certain how I was going to utilize the Christmas lights, I purchased them rights after the holidays had concluded, when sales were abundant. Saving money was the name of the game throughout the planning process. I couldn’t decide between C7 or C9 bulbs I purchased some of both, however ultimately should have stuck with the larger lights. The overall effect of the C9s was less holidays and more special event.
- I had to wait months until the bitter Michigan winter subsided before I could try out my new pet project. Make sure you lay out the painting cloth in a well ventilated area. A bit of advice would be to make sure your cloth is long enough to stretch out the length of lights in their entirety. After removing all of the lights and keeping them in a safe area, put tissue paper into the empty holes left by the vacated bulbs.
- After laying the string of lights out on the painting cloth, commence spray painting by following the directions, e.g., sufficient shaking, holding 6 inches away from target, etc. The correct method would be to paint several thin layers, allowing the paint to completely dry between layers, followed by flipping the lights over and repeating on the second side. I had planned to paint 16 strands of lights because I still didn’t necessarily have a plan but thought that number would be more than adequate, as such I had no patience with tediously painting multiple perfect layers that I was gambling my guests wouldn’t see up close. Therefore, I made the choice to paint one thick, imperfect layer, with the paint nozzle far closer than the recommended six inches. As I grew more comfortable with the process I could paint three to four strands at a time, painting one side of the lot, before immediately flipping them over and finishing the job. Please remember, I was focused on efficiency not perfection.
- Once the paint has dried and any touchup spots correction the tissue paper should be removed and lights replaced.
- Of note. Do NOT paint the fuse doors shut. I learned this the hard way. When testing out putting together 6 or more strands I shorted out one of the fuses and spent far more time than I would like to admit to access the sealed shut door.
- Also, when lit the C9 lights shine like the sun. Which is less than ideal when considering the use will be at a wedding where eventually the lights should be lowered, as such I bought a dimmer for the lights that worked better than anticipated and an absolute must have for this project.
So the question at hand is did I actually use the lights and how? We ended up stringing the lights from one end of the green house to the other, over every long table, which turned out better than I could have anticipated. An added bonus, we have used the painted lights on our Christmas trees the past two holidays, a special touch that always reminds us of our wedding.