How to Put Lights on Garland

Decorating garlands with lights can transform any space into a festive wonderland. Although adding lights to garland may seem straightforward, careful attention to detail can make a significant difference in achieving a stunning display.

Mastering the technique of how to put lights on garland is essential for ensuring both aesthetic appeal and safety. Properly spaced and securely attached lights will provide an even illumination, enhancing the garland’s visual impact while preventing potential hazards.

How to Put Lights on Garland

Garlands adorned with lights are incredibly versatile and can be used to celebrate various occasions, from holiday seasons to birthday parties and weddings. Whether placed on a mantle, wrapped around a stair railing, or used as an outdoor decoration, illuminated garlands bring a magical ambiance to any setting.

Assessing the Garland

Type of Garland

Before you start, it’s crucial to identify the garland you’ll decorate. Garlands come in various forms, each requiring different approaches for adding lights. Fresh garlands, made from real greenery, offer a natural and aromatic touch but may need frequent misting to stay fresh.

Artificial garlands, conversely, are durable and reusable, making them a practical option for long-term use. Additionally, consider whether your garland is pre-lit or unlit. Pre-lit garlands come with built-in lights, but you might still want to add more for a fuller effect or to match a specific theme. Unlit garlands provide a blank canvas, allowing you to choose and add lights according to your preference.

Length and Thickness

Once you’ve determined the type of garland, measure its length and thickness. Accurate measurements will help you determine the number of lights needed and ensure even distribution. For length, use a tape measure to determine the full stretch of the garland.

For thickness, gauge how dense the foliage is by feeling its girth with your hands or using a ruler. A thicker garland may require more light to penetrate the foliage and create an illuminated effect. By understanding these dimensions, you can plan the spacing of the lights to achieve a balanced and visually appealing decoration.

Gathering Materials


  • String Lights or Battery-Operated LED Lights: Choose suitable lights for the garland, such as string lights or battery-operated LED lights, ensuring they match the theme or occasion. String lights offer a classic look and are ideal for indoor use where power outlets are easily accessible. Battery-operated LED lights are versatile and perfect for areas without immediate access to an outlet, providing a safer option with lower power consumption and less heat production.
String Lights Offer a Classic Look

Extension Cords

  • Determine Necessity for Extension Cords: Assess whether extension cords are needed to reach power outlets, particularly for outdoor decorations. If used outside, ensure the extension cords are outdoor-rated to withstand weather conditions. Consider the distance from the nearest outlet to the garland’s location and the light strings’ length. Ensure the extension cords are appropriately rated for the wattage of the used lights.

Zip Ties or Twist Ties

  • Securing the Lights: Use zip ties or twist ties to secure the lights to the garland, providing stability and preventing tangling. These ties are essential for keeping the lights in place, especially around bends or corners. Opt for green or a matching color to help them blend in with the garland, maintaining the aesthetic appeal.


  • Trimming Excess and Securing Wires: Have scissors on hand to trim excess wires and secure the lights in place. Proper trimming and securing ensure that the garland looks neat and avoids potential hazards from loose or dangling wires. Scissors can also be used to cut zip ties or twist ties to their required length after securing them.

Gathering these materials fully before starting will streamline the decorating process, ensuring you are well-prepared for an efficient and visually appealing setup.

How to Put Lights on Garland: Attaching the Lights

Start at the End

Attach the lights at one end of the garland, securing the plug end first for easy access to the power source. Once the lights are fully attached, you can easily connect to the nearest outlet or battery pack. Position the plug end in a convenient location to avoid rearranging the garland after the lights are in place.

Wrap Lights Around Garland

Carefully wrap the lights around the garland, spacing them evenly and ensuring the wires are hidden within the foliage. Start by gently weaving the lights in and out of the garland, making sure each light is visible and positioned well among the branches or leaves. Use a steady hand to maintain an even rhythm as you move along, which helps achieve a balanced and cohesive look.

Wrap the Lights Around the Garland

Secure with Zip Ties

Use zip ties or twist ties to secure the lights to the garland at regular intervals, especially at corners or bends. This prevents the lights from shifting or drooping over time. Select ties that blend in with the garland’s color, such as green for natural-looking garlands or white for snowy themes. Secure each section of lights firmly but gently to avoid damaging the wiring.

Avoid Overlapping

Avoid overlapping the lights to prevent hot spots and ensure even illumination along the entire length of the garland. Overlapping can cause certain areas to become overly bright while others remain dim. Maintaining a consistent distance between the lights can create a uniformly lit garland that enhances the overall aesthetic.

Test Functionality

Test the lights periodically as you attach them to ensure they work properly and troubleshoot any issues. Plug in the lights or activate the battery pack every few feet to verify that all sections illuminate correctly. This practice helps identify faulty bulbs or connections early, allowing you to address problems before installation.

By following these steps, you can successfully attach lights to your garland, creating an eye-catching and festive display.

How to Put Lights on Garland: Adjusting and Finishing Touches

Adjusting Placement

  • Step Back Occasionally to Assess Placement: 

After wrapping the lights around the garland, take a few moments to step back and view your work from a distance. This helps identify any areas where the lights may appear uneven or overly concentrated, allowing you to make necessary adjustments for symmetry and comprehensive coverage. Ensuring evenly illuminated each section creates a more visually appealing and harmonious display.

Tuck in Wires

  • Tuck Excess Wires or Battery Packs: 

To maintain a neat and polished appearance, tuck any excess wires or battery packs into the garland’s foliage. Concealing these elements enhances the overall aesthetics and reduces the risk of tripping hazards and unsightly clutter. Carefully weave the wires into the branches or leaves, ensuring they are secure and out of sight.

Maintain a Neat and Polished Appearance

Secure Loose Ends

  • Use Additional Zip Ties or Twist Ties: 

After adjusting and tucking in the wires, secure any remaining loose ends or connections with additional zip ties or twist ties. This is particularly important at the beginning and end of the garland, where plugs, connectors, or battery packs might be more noticeable. Fastening these components firmly helps maintain the integrity and stability of your design.

Add Decorative Accents

  • Enhance with Ornaments, Bows, or Ribbon: 

To complete your garland’s transformation, consider adding extra decorative accents such as ornaments, bows, or ribbons. These elements can complement the lights, adding depth and character to your design. Select accents that match your theme or color scheme to create a cohesive and festive look. Position these decorations thoughtfully to highlight illuminated areas and enhance the overall festive atmosphere.

By carefully adjusting the placement and securing all elements, topped with decorative accents, your garland will be a beautifully finished piece, perfect for any occasion.

Testing and Safety Checks

Test Lights

  • Plug in and Test Lights: 

Once the lights are fully attached, plug them in and test their functionality to ensure all bulbs are lit. Carefully examine each section to confirm that no bulbs are burnt out or flickering. This step is crucial to ensure the entire garland is properly illuminated and looks its best before final placement.

Entire Garland is Properly Illuminated

Check for Hazards

  • Inspect for Fire Hazards: 

Inspect the garland and lights for any potential fire hazards, such as frayed wires, loose connections, or overheating. Make sure all electrical components are in good condition and replace any damaged parts immediately. Addressing these issues promptly can prevent accidents and ensure the garland is safe to operate.

Ensure Safe Placement

  • Secure for Outdoor Use: 

If using the garland outdoors, ensure it is safely secured to prevent tripping hazards or damage from wind or weather. Use appropriate outdoor-rated extension cords and connectors to maintain safety standards. Additionally, make sure the garland is fastened firmly to its support structure to withstand external elements effectively. By ensuring safe placement, you can enjoy your festive display without worry.

Frequently Asked Questions About Decorating with Garland and Lights

How Many Lights Should I Use for My Garland?

The number of lights you need depends on the length of your garland and the desired brightness. As a general rule, use about 100 lights for every 9 to 10 feet of garland. Adjust according to your aesthetic preference—more lights for a brighter display and fewer lights for a subtler glow.

Adjust According to Your Aesthetic Preference

Can I Use Any Type of Lights on My Garland?

It’s best to use mini LED or fairy lights for garlands as they are lightweight, energy-efficient, and produce less heat, reducing the risk of fire hazards. Make sure the lights are appropriate for indoor or outdoor use, depending on where you plan to display the garland.

How Do I Hide the Light Wires Effectively?

To hide light wires, weave them into the foliage of the garland and use green or white zip ties that blend with the garland’s color. Tucking excess wires and securing them with twist ties will also help maintain a clean and polished look.

What Can I Do if Some of The Lights Go Out?

If some lights go out, check for loose or broken bulbs and replace them immediately. It’s useful to have spare bulbs on hand. For pre-lit garlands, consult the manufacturer’s troubleshooting guide for specific instructions.

Check for Loose or Broken Bulbs

Can I Leave My Garland Lights on Overnight?

While many lights are designed to be energy-efficient, it’s a good practice to turn them off when not in use. This not only saves energy but also reduces the risk of overheating. Consider using a timer to automatically turn the lights on and off.

How Do I Secure My Garland Outdoors?

For outdoor garlands, use weather-resistant ties or hooks to secure them to railings, fences, or door frames. Ensure the garland and lights are rated for outdoor use to handle varying weather conditions. Regularly check the installation to make sure it remains secure.

Is It Safe to Use Extension Cords with Garland Lights?

Yes, but make sure to use extension cords that are rated for the same use (indoor or outdoor) as your garland lights. Avoid running cords under rugs or through doorways where they can become damaged, and never overload electrical outlets.

How Can I Enhance My Garland Display?

Enhance your garland with additional decorations such as ornaments, bows, ribbons, or floral picks. Choose accents that match your overall theme or color scheme to create a cohesive and festive look. Position these decorations thoughtfully to complement the lights and foliage.

Create a Cohesive and Festive Look


In this guide, we’ve outlined the detailed steps on how to put lights on garland, starting with assessing the garland and gathering the necessary materials. We’ve covered the methods for attaching lights evenly, securing them with zip ties, avoiding overlap, and systematically testing functionality.

Adjusting the placement, tucking in wires, securing loose ends, and adding decorative accents were also emphasized to ensure a polished finish. Finally, we addressed testing and performing safety checks to guarantee a risk-free and attractive display.

Illuminated garlands create a warm and festive ambiance, making them versatile decorations suitable for any occasion, from holiday celebrations to special events. The addition of lights enhances the visual appeal, making your space more inviting and cheerful.

We encourage you to get creative with your garland decorations. Add personal touches by incorporating unique ornaments, experimenting with different lighting effects, and trying new themes. This creativity can transform your garland into a stunning focal point, enhancing the overall atmosphere.

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