25 May Evolution of Rope Light Rope Lighting Series
Rope light is one of the most versatile fixtures available. It originally was designed to be a light fixture that could be easily manipulated to provide accent lighting to areas that didn’t support more traditional options. The flexible tubing and mini incandescent light bulbs made it easy for homeowners to create beautiful decorative features in their home with minimal effort. Rope light began with a series of miniature light bulbs set two inches apart that provided a 360 degree radius of light output. It wasn’t a bad start, but the rope light would draw about three to five watts of power per foot and the only way to create different colors was to dye the polyurethane jackets. Rope lighting has come a long way since then.
Now, rope light comes in LED and incandescent with a variety of colors, and they even offer chasing options for dancing light creations. It is amazing the difference LED makes for the do-it yourself rope light project. Instead of miniature light bulbs, LED now utilizes a series of diodes to offer an even 360 degree light output with less heat emitted and less power drawn. LED rope light only draws 0.8 watts per foot, which is a ridiculous savings in comparison with the incandescent alternative. The color options can also be changed based on the diodes color, as well as the polyurethane jacket. This allows your LED rope light to provide several different colors instead of just one. You still have the option to go with the traditional incandescent option, but LED does offer quite a few improvements.
Either option can be used inside or outside for your creative lighting needs. Although, rope light should never be submerged, it is still safe for exterior use. Rope lighting is fabulous for accent lighting; however, we don’t recommend using it as the main source of light. For outdoor ideas think about your fence line, railings, steps, and outlining trees. Inside we’d recommend it for soffit ceilings, word art, and for backlighting a headboard or mirror. There are a variety of uses for rope light and this series will provide some design advice and installation recommendations for the adventurous DIY homeowner.