Mini lights are truly one of the most versatile Christmas light sets and are a great thing to use around the house all year long. While large C9 multi-colored light sets will always make me look for the plastic Santa, mini lights can be the stars of back yard parties and gala events. (And trust me, they are - every day!)
I prefer to use a higher quality mini light set for all season use - especially if they are part of my decor. Most of the $.99 sets that you find in December/January are rated for no more than 1000 hours of operation and are generally not that durable.
You can even find commercial sets out there that are rated for up to 3000 hours.
Now when it comes to outdoor use, mini light wiring - like all Christmas light set wiring - is subsceptible to UV exposure and if you are losing lights to wiring degredation, even switching to a longer life LED light set will give you the same result. UL doesnít certify most Christmas lights for longer that 90 days of use because of the environmental exposure issues. (Like the strong Texas sun.)
Mini lights come in every color of the rainbow and multiple wiring colors. In addition to the standard green and white wiring, there is brown (looks great on grapevine), black (super for black tie galas) and my favorite is red - red lights on red wire is so cool for Valentines day.
Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing when it comes to decorating your home with mini lights.
- Use mini lights to spiral wrap little trees all over your yard for your next big party.
- For bigger trees, consider using a mini light tree trunk wrap (a large grid of mini lights).
- Accent a gazebo with clear mini lights on white wire for a wedding.
- Use battery operated mini lights for centerpieces and perhaps use a set at the base of your unity candle (always have 2 sets of these and an extra set of batteries just in case!).
- Ball up a big mess of mini lights and display them in heat resistant glass urns on your buffet table - or in your fireplace in the summer (this is a great use for LED mini lights as well as the traditional incandescent). This might also be a good use for a set of mini lights you really didnít intend to have end up in a big ball.
- Use mini lights hung from the ceiling to make your childís room a magical place.
- Iíve accented my sonís room with mini lights in his reading nook.
- Using sets of different colored mini lights, decorate with the colors of your favorite
- sports team. You can find mini lights with 6 inch spacing and just gently twist them together or install them offset by 3 inches. Or, try exchanging the bulbs between two EXACT sets of mini lights that only vary by bulb color. I like the first solution better because you donít run the risk of an unseated bulb putting a damper on your lighting.
- Mini lights make great porch lights in older homes with huge porches. Whether mounted on grapevine, or freely criscrossed at the celing of your porch, your entire porch will be illuminated by an etheral glow. I like to use easy release quik klips for this application to make it easy to replace the mini lights when they wear/burn out.
These suggestions are only the tip of the iceberg and only a sample of what I hear my customers are using mini lights for every day. I look forward to posting more ideas (and pictures!) soon.