April 16, 2019

If you’ve hung Christmas lights on your house before, you’ve probably gone out to the hardware store and grabbed some clips like these, and hung your lights off of your gutters or shingles.

Pretty simple, right? And they work great for traditional Christmas lights that have a “bulb” inside of a clear glass tube which can hang in pretty much any direction.

These clips, however, present some challenges when working with pixels.

Since most pixels can only been viewed directly from about a 120-degree range, we’ve got to get them pointed in the right direction, and these clips don’t really cut it!

Further, these clips generally coax the lights to point downwards, with the wires up. On pixels, where the wire enters the light is the most likely point to get water intrusion, so we want to avoid this as well.

The other thing about pixels is that we need our spacing to be consistent, or at least known (in the case of Coro props – more info below). If we want our animations in xLights to be accurate, we have to be able to input exactly where the lights are into the software….but I’m getting ahead of myself here!

So How Do I Hang Christmas Light Pixels on My House?

On Your Roof Line

Traditional Christmas lights are often hung from the roofline of your house. We can do the exact same thing with pixels,  but it’s going to look a little bit different.
For this solution and most of the solutions in this article, we will turn to Boscoyo Studios. This post is in no way sponsored by them, I just like their stuff.

Boscoyo makes a variety of different options for mounting your pixels so that they face outwards, towards your audience.

One such product are their icicles, which allow you to use regular pixels in an icicle pattern.

You can also use their ChromaTrim to make a nice house outline that easily mounts to 1/2″ heavy-duty PVC pipe (or even better- EMT conduit!)

The great thing about both of these (and most if not all Boscoyo products), is that once you load your pixels once, you can leave them loaded in the product for storage and future displays. It’s really quick the 2nd time you use them!

As I mentioned above, the other HUGE benefit to using something like this is that it spaces your lights consistently (1″ increments of spacing – I usually do 2″-3″), and it makes them face the correct way. This is crucial to your show looking great when you bring it into xLights.

Mounting the Pipe or Conduit to Your Home

The question then becomes – how do you mount the pipes/conduit to your house?

The answer – PEX plumbing clips or similar! These clips are available from various retailers and will hold your pipe well. The biggest thing with these is trying to find something that is UV resistant – most are not!

Here’s what I’ve found to work:

First, I tried the HolidayCoro clips: https://www.holidaycoro.com/Half-Inch-Lexan-Pipe-Mounting-Clip-p/770.htm . They work well for me with 1/2″ EMT conduit, but NOT PVC pipe.

The ones that I used for PVC pipe broke on my second year – literally 100% broke! The EMT has a little wiggle room, but we had some high winds this year and nothing ever came down.

I don’t normally recommend HolidayCoro, but these do work and are easy to mount with a small PVC spacer to get them further off the house to leave room for wires.

Like many clips, they are plastic and can be spray-painted to match your house if desired.

I have also found these clips (though not tried them yet), and they look promising: https://pixelworkshoppe.com/1-2-emt-mounting-clip-10-pack/ . PixelWorshoppe offers various clips for different sized pipes and orientations.

The “Magmount” from Mattos Designs is also very intriguing to me, as it allows you to hang everything with magnets. You still have to set a screw into your house, but it’s fast once it’s in.

Looking for more info on attaching to your house – check out my video by clicking here!

On Horizontal and Vertical Parts of Your House

On the horizontal parts of your house, Boscoyo ChromaTrim also wins.

It’s great for window outlines and anything else horizontal that you really want the highlight.

For vertical lines of lights, gravity is our friend. Boscoyo has an even less expensive product, called “pixel mounting strips“. Note that for windows I do recommend doing ChromaTrim on all (4) sides, as it looks more consistent.

These allow you to quickly and easily punch in pixels at your favorite pixel pitch and then can be mounted vertically via a variety of methods ( depending on the structure of your exterior.)

My 2018 Display
Boscoyo strips on my vertical columns.

For example, I used this year on my display to light the columns on my front porch! I simply zip-tied them to PVC pipes with 4″ zip ties at the top and bottom, and they were good to go for the whole season.

You can then hang your PVC pipes with clips like this. (see above for more explanation)

Some folks elect to build their own version of this using PVC pipes and drilling holes in them. This does save some cost, but I’m not convinced it’s worth it. I don’t mind the look of the Boscoyo strips, and they really don’t cost much compared to hours of drilling PVC, so I stick with them!

Think Outside “The Box” With Props

Last but not least, props can be used to hold pixels in a variety of ways.

Companies like Boscoyo Studios make a variety of props that allow you to insert pixels and get the shape of a tree, a snowman, or many other characters or symbols.

But you don’t have to buy props from a prop maker!

You can make them yourself as well!

Many hobbyists use discounted items from after-Christmas sales and retrofit them with pixels.

Other folks use regular pieces from the hardware store, to make up their own pixel holders, such as the “Peace Pixel Stake”. Really, the possibilities are endless.

For props like these, I recommend using 1-2 zip ties for each pixel (yes, really). It’s a bunch of work on the front end (test your pixels first for a few hours just in case!), but once it’s done, you don’t have to untangle or do anything except set your entire prop out each season.

While mounting pixels isn’t quite as straightforward as traditional Christmas lights, there are a lot of great options to do some really cool things.

As you plan out your display, be sure to think about not only where you’re going to put your lights, but also how you’re going to mount them. Then, you’ll be ready to have a great season this Christmas!

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