In the past, my wife hung outdoor lights on our deck using tie wraps. The deck wraps around three sides of the house and the railing cap is a horizontal 2x6 with an on edge 2x4 supporting that. As such, setting up lights takes a lot of time and it wasted a lot of tie wraps, since she had to join a couple long ones to get around the rail cap. Then there was the matter of cutting all wraps off and disposing of them at the end of the season.
To simplify the task and to cut down on material waste, I did a lot of shopping around for solutions. The opinions about those items available did not run high. Many complained plastic hangers became brittle in the light and broke during use. Many also complained clips that were said to be for 2x’s wouldn’t fit.
On a whim, I looked into cloths pins. I had a few in the shop for hanging small things for painting and it seemed they’d do, if cut down and if I drilled holes in them, which would allow me to use a screw to install them on the underside of the deck railing.
In the process of searching for more clothspins, I found several wire and other types of stainless steel clothspins that were inexpensive, but that appeared capable of holding the light outdoor light wires. I ordered a couple different types, since I could use the spares in my shop.
As it happened, the wire version arrived first. This turned out to be a good thing, since they seem not likely to stand out like sore thumbs when not in use, but still up. Too, merely crimping them with channel locks allowed me to modify them for mounting.
When all the clips were up, installing the lighting took only a few minutes and was a breeze - I merely had to press on one side of the clothspins, put the wire in and let go.
Step 1: MATERIALS
To complete this project, you need just two things:
1) Clothspins. I paid $11.00 for a pack of sixty of the ones in the photo through Amazon. As of this writing, they can be found at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074D9JX8J/ref=...
2) Screws - Consider buying stainless steel screws to avoid dealing with rust.
Step 2: TOOLS REQUIRED FOR THE JOB
1) Channel locks. You can use needle nose or regular pliers, but channel lock pliers allowed me to apply more pressure on the clothespin wires than did pliers.
2) Wire cutters. These should be significant cutters because the wire is quite heavy duty. I used side cutters, which cut the wire with relative ease.
3) Drill or impact driver. I prefer the latter, since it drives screws much easier than does a drill.
Step 3: MAKING THE LIGHT WIRE CLIPS
(1) Close the channel locks to their smallest position.
(2) Grip one of the handles from the sides and near the end, then crimp until the opening is about the size of the screw you’re going to use. You will have to reposition the grip a couple times.
(3) Turn the clothspin and grip the screw hole ninety degrees to finish bringing the hole down to size and to make it more round. When done, you should have to drive the screw into the hole so that when you handle the clamp, the screw won’t fall out.
(4) Cut off the excess wire.
Step 4: INSTALLING THE CLAMPS
This is a short, sweet and simple process
(1) Using your drill or driver, install the clips in your preferred locations.
NOTE: I chose the underside of the 2x railing for the obvious reason of not wanting obnoxious clips on the upper surface, AND because holes in the top of railing are invitations to rot.
Because all the screws were fairly tight in the clip screw holes, I was able to install all my clips from the deck without fear of dropping them.
PS. We installed the lights and it went so quick and easy we are elated.