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Winding muticolor arches


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I am beginning to put together a couple of 20 foot arches and wanted to ask which is easier when putting the strings on.

Is it easier to wind one set of lights onto the pipe and then go back and wind the other set on?

Or do any of you twist the 2 strings of lights together as a "superstring" and then wind them onto the pipe?

I am using gray 1" sch 40 electric conduit for the pipe (I'm an electrician so I have plenty of it lying around :D) and I was going to make these as 16 segments of each color on each arch (ie 16 strings of 70 count M5 blue and 16 strings of 70 count M5 white for one arch. The other arch will be blue and green M5's).

I have set up a winding jig for it using a slow speed motor and sawhorses and empty spools from spt wire (seems we use a lot of that doesn't it) for guides. It works fine, but when I tried to wind one string and then go back and wind another string on top of the first string, it didn't come out even at the end. I had about a foot and a half of the second string yet to wind when I came to the end of the first string. Yet the strings of lights are the same length.:?

Hence I was wondering about twisting the two strings together before winding them onto the conduit.

Thanks for the help.


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What we found is that if you bundle all the lights together and try to wind at the same time, they get tangles over each other.

We added color to our arch's that are on 1 channel per color. So the is 8 channels of white (by section) and then the whole arch is 1 channel for red, blue and green. This way I can sequence by color, and then have the arch "leap" with white.

Good Luck


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Dennis Cherry

Putting on two or more strings of lights makes a 20 foot arch very heavy. The wire load is the problem.

Two ideas:

1. Take the extra wire out of each string only used to to put the AC on the female receptacle, normally you do not need the receptacle on a arch if you are using one string per channel.

2. Find some chaser light strings, they normally have four independent wired strings. Cut off the control box, find the common wire to the four strings, and replace the bulbs in each string with a different color. You would need 1 chaser string for each channel. So a 8 channel arch would need 32 channels to make everything work.

I personally added 20 gauge wire to each string of lights to extended the inputs to the bottom of the arch and added the plugs back on to the extended strings.

Start with the strings that would be in the middle of the arch so the extended wired can be taped to the outside of the PVC, the next string would be wrapped over the extended wires from the previous string(s). All your connections would be at the bottom of each section of the arch when done.

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We made four 10' arches with multicolor minis and clear minis for this year. We wrapped the 8 strands of multicolor first and then wrapped 9 strands of clear on top of those.

So far we have had 5 sections of multicolor fail. What we think is the overwrapping process is hard on the first layer of lights. Personally, I won't do this sort of thing anymore because of how difficult it is to shoot arch light failures... especially when there is snow on the ground. :D

While it looks very nice, I think it'd just be easier to wrap two sets of arches and have one slightly inside the other so it appears you have two colors on the same arch. We may try it for next year but there are soo many other things that we may just skip multicolor arches altogether.


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