It seems that these days everyone is going to the LED lights. They use so much less electricity and seem to last longer than the old-fashioned incandescent mini-lights. Unfortunately, for long time decorators changing can be costly. In many cases, there’s nothing wrong with incandescent decorations if you give them gentle, loving care. You can expect many more years of life. There are some tricks of the trade for quickly refurbishing those old wire frames that are lit in incandescent lights.
The obvious fist thing to do is replace the bulbs on the wire frame. This can be fairly easily with replacement bulbs. Be sure to only use the replacement bulbs that go with the brand of lights that are on the display. What happens if you use the wrong bulbs? The new ones will be dim or super-bright compared to the rest. Quickly remove the wrong lights and keep replacing them until you find the ones that are the right brightness.
If you have lights that are coming off of the wire frame, replace the mounting clips with new ones. If the lights are held on with strapping tape just put another piece of tape right over what is already there. This makes a world of difference and doesn’t take much time at all. Some also replaced their light clips or tape with short nylon zip ties. They do last a while, but remember the black ties typically have built in UV protection and can be used outdoors while the white ties will deteriorate faster in the bright sun.
Are your bulbs fading in color but it takes to much time and money to replace the bulbs? A quick fix is a Sharpie permanent ink marker. They sell them in all colors at the big box stores. Just color the bulb and “VIOLA”, it looks new for another Christmas season.
For those considering stripping your wire frames and converting to LED, remove all the lights and take a wire brush to remove any rust from the metal Repaint the frame using either Rustoleum or Krylon. Gloss white is the best color. Rustoleum is good because it seems to give a harder coat once dry. Krylon, on the other hand, is my favorite because not only does it give a hard coat but it dries quickly, a definite plus for those of us with little or no patience.
I hope that these tips from Christmas Done Bright have been helpful to you. And most of all, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.
From the August 2009 edition of PlanetChristmas Magazine
by Melissa Williams of Christmas Done Bright