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Beginners

Fairy Lights For The Window.

LightLine

I believe in Fairy Lights!

Why it is a Good Idea.

You do not need fuse boxes for them and can attach quite a
few to a surge protected extension plug board.

They are safe from the weather.

People can't casually come by and nick them.

Dogs can not piddle on them.

You can easily rearrange them at your convenience,
even when it is raining heavily outside.

You don't have to use timers if you don't want to.

You don't have to climb tall ladders, a movable step should be all
you need (unless you have tall windows!)

Why it is a Bad Idea.

If they are incorrectly wired/placed etc they can burn your house down.

How to avoid Burning your House Down.

Do not exceed plug availability. Power-point extensions should not have half a dozen adapters hanging off them. Get a bigger power point extension board with more plugs (and a corresponding trip out system built in) if needed.

Tuck cords out of the way and try not to have them out in the open where they can be stepped/tripped on. Cover ones that may pass an open area with electrical tape and a rug. Watch the area for signs of fraying.

If the plug head is coming loose and wires are exposed, have it fixed or get rid of it.

Do not keep leads in a tightly bound bundle. Loosen them a little or they can short out and cause sparks.

Beware using outdoor lights inside. They can have a higher wattage and be hotter than ones made specifically for indoors. If you do use them keep them well away from paper ornaments.

Do not hang things off fairy lights. Do not tie paper-chains, tinsel or swags to them. Do not use them to display Christmas cards, even though everybody else does. They are lucky - be better than lucky, be safe.

Keep the curtains away from them, prop/billow them out with a chair or bricks etc if you have to. Beware placing pot plants near them.

Weatherproof your windows. Water leaking in will cause a short and may electrocute someone in the house. Putty up those cracks!

Buying Them.

Often the box will tell you how many lights are on a light strand, but not how long the window is that it will fit. This is particularly annoying with icicle lights (ones that hang down). Take a tape-measure with you, know your window length and ask a sales assistant to allow you to measure the lights length.

Silhouette shapes of angels, trees, reindeer etc should be viewed up before purchasing. I have never, for instance, seen a candle silhouette that looked like a candle.

A long lead up cord is advisable, it may have to go some way to get to a power point. Tuck such leads along a wall and try not to have them out in the open where they can be stepped or tripped on.

Buy an extension lead with six plugs strait away. You will eventually need it

Make sure the board is surge protected. You can buy a timer if you want, place it between the power point and the extension's plug to affect all the lights at once. Read timer instructions carefully, do not throw them out, you will need them next year.

Be sure to pick up as many spare light globes as you can, as the makers often go out of business and stop producing by Easter. The next fairy light maker to enter the market will invariably not be compatible with last years. This is a nasty marketing ploy, forcing you to buy all new product every year. So grab spares while you can and double/triple check you have the right ones. Go by voltage, but take one along and go by looks as well. Sometimes there is just a little difference in length, width, sprocket shape - and suddenly the new globes don't fit no more.

It's enough to drive a girl to LED lights.

Ah, LED lights - tiny, sparkley LED lights! I am tempted...

If you did not buy enough globes - do not despair! People with the same model fairy lights as yours, who also didn't buy spares, will be selling their's off shortly in boot sales! You can get a whole line for 50cents and use all the globes for extras!

Sticking them up

This is the hardest part. Windows are smooth and not easy to stick to. It is likely you will end up using a combination of these things - blue tack, sticky tape, garbage bag ties, twine and suction cups. I strongly recommend against using tinsel to tie decorations up with.

Sticky-tape can be too un-sticky for the job at hand, some of it deteriorates rapidly in sunlight and some of it is too sticky to use on the window frame because it takes off the paint. Some of it softens in the heat from the lights and pulls away, you will have to keep an eye on it.

Blue tack is easier, but it will not hold a fairy light that wants to twist away from it, being on the surface of the window it doesn't have any leverage to hold it in place.

Garbage bag ties and twine need to be placed on the power cord between the lights and secured at these points carefully with a bit of tape. I have found it hard-to-impossible to get things hanging properly using this method, my curtain supports are all in the wrong places.

Suction caps are excellent, so long as you do not overload them. And the cups can dry out, keep an eye on them and re-wet them if they fall off before sticking back up.

Cup hooks are a more permanent secure hold for edge of window frame placement, but you do have to live with them being there for the rest of the year. A small price!

Place whatever you use fairly close together to help support the light's weight.

Before putting your lights up, plug them in for a trial go. See if there are any dead ones and replace them strait away before they kill the strand. One bad light will often knock out a string of other lights. Choose a working light bulb and carefully go along replacing the non glowing ones with it until you hit the dead one. All the other lights should now turn on.

When replacing a globe, pull it out by the cuff, not the glass. It is hard to do, but so is picking shards of glass out your finger tips if you do it the other way. Read light instructions carefully for further details on how to remove bulbs.

Stick the power cord end up first and wind lights from there, this prevents lots of work having to be pulled down because the power cord won't reach the plug!

Making them Look Good.

Dark backgrounds show up the lights very well. Use dark curtains if possible or pin a large dark item like a sari or black cardboard behind the window. Make extra sure that this dark lining does not bag forwards and touch the lights at all. Pin them well away, secure with extra sticky-tape if you have to.

A single silhouette shape in the window can look a bit dull. Surround it with a strand of Christmas tree lights, or a drape of indoor icicle light. At the very least place some other decorations in the window, well away from its sides. They probably won't show up at night, but will be interesting during the day.

Bedroom window.

Four silhouette shapes surrounded by tree lights. A black and red sari was pinned up behind them, it slopes away because I pulled the curtain behind the blanket box I had there so it wouldn't accidentally touch.

You can see how it didn't go all the way to the edges and the bit of the reindeer shape on the white background does not look as interesting.

Packing Them Away.

As you take your lights down, remove what held them up. Sticky-tape and blue tack can be hard to remove a year later if left to petrify on the cord (I should know!)

Keep the boxes that the lights came in and reinforce them with sticky-tape at sides and bottom. Wind the lights up onto winders, they may not fit back in the box perfectly, so you may have to tie the top closed with twine. Store the boxes in a dry, dark place. Try and remember where it is and always store them in the same spot together, to help remember. Nothing like turning the house over for those spare lights, only to have them turn up at Easter in the last place you would ever have looked!

If you really, really have to throw the boxes away because they are tatty, write down the name of the manufacturer, the plug's wattage, the light bulb watts and anything else you may think matters, somewhere safe.

TV room window.

Left we have icicle lights over a light strand stuck in the shape of a Xmas tree. It twinkles and as you can (not) see did not show up very well at all.

On the right top the strand continues in a random pattern down either side of the star silhouette. There are 2 decorations stuck to either side, they give the star symmetry.

 Having packed everything up, go forth to the post Christmas sales
and buy more lights and plan for next year!

Isn't this fun!

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