PVC Pipe Tunnel of Light

For the past few years, I’ve (Vicki) strung lights in the tree above the sidewalk to my front door. The branches are now too tall to comfortable reach so I needed a new way to have lights over the sidewalk.
We decided to use PVC pipe to construct a structure on which to secure lights. We first used PVC pipe when we made a “tent” for grandson Tyler’s bunk bed. That’s where we learned it was pretty bendy in the smaller diameters so we thought it would be the perfect material to use.
It must be noted that our final design was our second try at a PVC arch. That’s the cool thing about designing a DIY project. Sometimes it works out in the original design, sometimes it's necessary to develop a plan B!
In designing the arch, it had to meet a couple of criteria: materials must be readily available and it must be collapsible for storage, so parts could not be permanently glued.
pvc pipe tunnel of light, plumbing
pvc pipe tunnel of light, plumbing
pvc pipe tunnel of light, plumbing
Using a miter saw (or hacksaw) make the following PVC cuts:
- Cut each 10’ pipe to 8.5’ (put aside 2 of the cut pieces)
- From the remaining cut off pieces, cut (6) sections of pipe each 4” in length
pvc pipe tunnel of light, plumbing
Create the top section of the arch (do this on the ground):
- Connect the two PVC pipes you set aside to the cross fittings
- Place the (6) 4” pieces into the cross pieces
- Attach the elbow to the 4” pieces making sure they point away from the top of the arch.
- *If you are concerned about the pieces coming apart, the pipe fittings and pipes can be glued into place.
pvc pipe tunnel of light, plumbing
Use a mallet to hammer the rebar into place.
pvc pipe tunnel of light, plumbing
Put the PVC pipe on each of the (6) rebar pieces. Attach the pipes on one side to the top of the arch and then the other other side.
pvc pipe tunnel of light, plumbing
If you are satisfied with the fit, clean the pipe with the mineral spirits and rags, let dry, then spray paint. You can take it apart and do this but we found it was easier to spray paint it in place. Be sure to protect the sidewalk and adjacent plants from overspray.
pvc pipe tunnel of light, plumbing
Attach netting lights using the zip ties. Cut off the zip tie tails with the wire cutter. Attach the App Lights in the same manner.
pvc pipe tunnel of light, plumbing
pvc pipe tunnel of light, plumbing
We used app lights, which are lights that can be controlled with an iPhone. With these lights, we can animate the lights for a fun Christmas light show!
If you want to see what went wrong in our first version of this project- check out our website!
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Mother Daughter Projects

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


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44 of 57 comments
  • Kathryn
    on Jul 22, 2018

    I love making things with pvc. This is a great project, well done.

  • Charlene Grider
    on Aug 11, 2018

    You should plant morning glories,because they grow so fast , in the spring to grow up it to give it some color and decorate it for Christmas in the late fall with the pine garland and fake poinsettia...Would look so cute ..:))....I really like this , great project....nice job ..!

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