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.
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
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.
Use a mallet to hammer the rebar into place.
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.
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.
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.
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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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 12 questions
  • Susan Rosenblum
    on Jul 2, 2018

    is this tall enough to get married under?

    • Sandra Ross Warren
      on Jun 16, 2020

      Of course you could create something similar for weddings that is taller and wider! Obviously you would want to either get longer pvc sections or attach a few together, they also can be cut if needed . Where there is a will there's a way! Heck just google pvc wedding archway plans and I'm sure you will find many tutorials.

  • Christina Dewald Metzger
    on Jul 6, 2018

    Wouldnt allowing climbing vine plants to grow around it help to actually protect the rebar from the sun's damage? Seems like it would help.

  • 1cs1267
    on Jun 24, 2020

    I don't have an electrical source nearby ... do you know if there are battery operated net lights available?

Join the conversation

3 of 70 comments
  • Lisa West
    on Jun 23, 2020

    So fun. Lights just add a magical mystical feel to any yard or event. Are you going to put some in your backyard to for bbqs and such?

  • Julie
    on Jun 23, 2020

    I like it. Just make taller and decorate for a wedding!! Or use for grape vines or climbing flowers...:)

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