Aren’t hanging bistro lights the best? As South Africans, we love to do all our entertaining outside – and long summer nights offer the perfect ceiling to do so. Emma Jane Nation, one of our favourite Joburg bloggers shares her Bistro lights DIY with us, to help turn your backyard into the ultimate summer entertainment area.
What you will need:
Here is how to do it:
1 Plan your layout You may want to string them between walls, or fit the globes onto the wall (most lamp holders have two screw holes to allow you to easily fix them directly to a wall/roof/rafter). You could also experiment by making patterns or words/letters in lights. We opted for three lines of about five globes each, strung up all over our garden. Each globe is about 1m apart.
2 String up the cable Depending on what you are planning to do, this may require some drilling, nailing or tying up. Make sure the cable is not too tight, and secure enough to take its own weight (plus a little more). You could also choose to secure the lamp holders later instead of the cable if they are going up against a wall or truss. Try not to twist the cable too much.
3 Fit the lamp holders These are quite nifty. They have two small, pointy conductors that pierce into the cable once the lamp holder is tightened. It’s quite important to make sure that you have the cable flat and flush with the lamp holder back when tightening it. The holder is designed to push the cable onto the sharp conductors evenly, lining them up perfectly to allow current to flow. The pointy conductors are offset from the centre, so one pierces into the red core and the other pierces into the black core. Tighten these nice and tight.
4 Insulate the far cable end Using insulation tape, tape up the red core. Then tape up the black core. Then tape them together. The two cores should never touch; if they do, you’re going to make smoke. You could also use an insulation block or something similar.
5 Wire up the circuit You could just use a plug (bottom two terminals get wired in, the top ‘earth’ terminal gets left empty) or get an electrician to wire it into a switch. This costs a bit of money, but if it ends up being a permanent fixture like ours, then it could be worth doing!
6 Turn on the lights and throw a party!
Words: Emma of Emma Jane Nation
Images: Emma of Emma Jane Nation