How to Install Rope Lights

Rope lights add accent lighting to a deck or patio under the railing or around the edges of the house's exterior with the advantage of being able to connect multiple sets relatively seamlessly on one outlet. Using energy-efficient LED rope lights allows the homeowner to connect even more sets on a single outlet. Installation depends on whether the rope lights will be inside under a cabinet or outside in the elements; you'll choose plastic channel installation for interior applications and light mounting clips for exterior applications.

Clear Mounting Track Installation

Step 1

Measure the area where you plan to install the lights.  If needed, order custom rope lights in that size, or purchase cuttable rope lights and cut them where indicated with a utility knife.

Cap the cut end with the enclosed end caps.  Do not try to cut regular rope lights.

Step 2

Mark the area where you will install the rope lights every 18 inches, using a pencil.  Ask a second person to help you hold the clear mounting track in the area and screw the track to the cabinet or other area every 18 inches.

As an alternative, if you are mounting the lights on a surface that can't be drilled, use a clear-drying adhesive to apply the track. 

Step 3

Snap the rope lights into the clear mounting channel starting at the end you will plug in.  Drill a hole in the cabinet as needed to hide the cord end of the lights or use a cord keeper to hide the cord along the wall to the plug.

Plug the lights in to the wall socket. 

Mounting Clip Installation

Step 1

Measure the area where you will install the rope lights.  Mark with a pencil every 6 to 10 inches where you will place a mounting clip.

Step 2

Screw a mounting clip into the surface every 6 to 10 inches as marked. 

Step 3

Press the rope lights into each of the mounting clips, starting at the end that you plug into the socket, without the lights plugged in. 

Things You Will Need

  • Clear mounting track or mounting clips
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Utility knife
  • Drill

About the Author

Andrea Lott Haney writes articles and training materials for food industry publications. Having studied foodservice sanitation, nutrition and menu planning at Purdue University, Lott Haney has more than 10 years of experience as a catering and event planner for luxury hotels and currently tours the Midwest as a corporate customer service trainer and consultant.