Learning, Wiring,

What to Do with Red Wire if Not Needed? (3 Uses)

If you have some unused red wire in your home, you can do a few things with it.

You can use red electrical wire either for the purpose for which it is intended (normal usage) at a later time, use it temporarily as and when the need arises (occasional usage), or be creative and make various things from it (creative usage).

In this article, I will give several examples of all three uses.

Normal Usage

Electrical wire with red-colored insulation around it is normally used as a secondary live wire in home circuits.

It is also used for the stretch of wire from electrical appliances to their switches. Additionally, you might need it, for instance:

  • To extend an existing red wire that falls short or has been cut short of where it is supposed to reach.
  • To replace damaged red wires.
  • To create new power outlets.

If you anticipate any of these needs in the future, you should keep the red wire for future use. You might not need it right away, but you could very well need it later on.

Red Wire in the Electrical Box

The electrical box will be full of wires coming from all over the place. The red wire is used for hot or live connections, so it is commonly used. The red wire may very well be needed if an existing live wire is damaged or a new connection has to be made.

Red Wire in Light Fixtures

Light fixtures are another common place where the red wire is used. You might not need the red wire now, but you might do so sometime later.

Red Wire in Wall Switches

Since a wall switch will have many red wires from various appliances around the room, this is where the spare red wire can come in handy.

Extending a Short Red Wire

If an existing red wire falls short of an electrical connection or wherever else it is supposed to reach, you can extend it by attaching a short red wire to its end to make it longer.

Creating a New Power Outlet

You will definitely need the red wire if you need a new power outlet in a more convenient location. Usually, you will extend the connection from an existing outlet and run the wire to the new outlet.

Occasional Usage

The red electrical wire will sometimes be handy for occasional or temporary use.

Extension Cord

One occasional use of red wire is as an extension cord when you need power away from a power outlet.

For example, you might want to use a power drill at a place where its wire does not quite reach the nearest outlet. In this case, you will need an extension cord, and you can easily make your own or extend the one you bought to make it longer.

Festive Decorations

Red electrical wire is not only used in permanent fixtures. It also comes in handy for certain times of the year or temporary use.

For example, you may need it for festive decorations, such as Christmas, Eid, or other religious or celebratory events. A Christmas decoration light is shown in an example below, in which LED lights are also attached.

christmas decor outdoor
Video | My DIY

Creative Usage

The red wire you have lying around can also be used in various creative ways if you don’t need it for normal usage.

Here are some ideas to get you started. In all these examples, there is, of course, no connection to an electrical supply. So these are all non-electrical uses of electrical wire.

Productive Things

One productive thing you can make using electrical wire is a basket.

Baskets are useful in many places, not just in the home. They help to keep things organized and stored away. In the example of a red basket below, although the frame is made of plastic, red wire has been used around the sides to prevent items inside it from falling out.

For Tying Things

Here is another useful way you can use red wire – as a rope.

It might seem obvious, but a long, thin piece of wire can easily be used as a rope. It can be used in any number of ways you would ordinarily use a rope.

For Hanging Things

As a clothesline, the electrical wire can hang freshly washed clothes.

The insulation will typically be made of plastic, which is waterproof. As clothesline wire is used outdoors, it will not get wet.


You can use electrical wire to make a bracelet or necklace in jewelry.

Red is a popular color in jewelry, so it can be made to look attractive. One example is in the picture below. It shows a bracelet made with red wire. Unlike metal bracelets, it is flexible to adapt around any wrist.

bracelet out of electrical wires
Video | MrScrap

Garlands and Wreathes

Garlands and wreaths are other possibilities for using your unneeded electrical wire.

Here are two examples below. The top example uses the wire extensively to make a red garland with flower petals added. The bottom example of a wreath has been used to form a ring, around which flowers have been placed, along with a ribbon.

garland made out of wires

Decoration Pieces

Unused red wire can be used to make various decoration pieces, whether short or long.

For example, you can create a bedside or hanging lamp like the one shown in the picture below. The wire is wrapped around two upper and lower wooden rings in this example. You can also restore an existing one instead of creating one entirely new.

lamp around a bulb made of electrical wire
A lamp around a bulb made of electrical wire / Pinterest

Video References





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About Sam Orlovsky

AvatarCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

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