Sunday, November 24, 2013

Making an Outdoor Christmas Tree

build a tree, make a christmas tree, build a christmas tree
Our front yard of full of trees. It's beautiful, but at Christmas time, there's one glaring omission - not one pine tree to wrap in lights. Last year we decided to try and wrap a couple of the maple tree trunks with lights. It looked kinda cool. But we wanted a more traditional look.

(Planting a pine tree isn't an option because we like the look of the yard exactly as it is the rest of the year.) 

So we had the great idea to build a tree. (Reeeeaaal traditional, I know!) Oh, we were well aware that this could be a total waste of time, but we like to live on the edge.

Off to Home Depot.

We didn't have a list or a plan. We talked about ideas in the truck. That was our plan.

After walking around Home Depot aimlessly for a while, here's what we bought:

4 x 1/2" x 10' of conduit pipe (these are super fun to carry around in Home Depot - I didn't look back to see the carnage left behind..)
1 x Conduit T or Junction Connector
3 x 1/2" x 2" Re-rods
Zip Ties
A Twinkle Light Star
Twinkling Icicle Lights - we got the kind with random twinkling so it looks like they're shimmering. Here's a link if you're interested!

Celebrations Lighting V84B4112 Shimmering Icicle Light 100

Looks like a tree already, huh? Can you see it yet? Me either.

We needed the pipe bender. (We spent 45 minutes searching our basement for this thing! If you're looking for yours - look on the table in plain sight - that's were it will be.)

It was sunny, but frigid outside, so we were working fast! The whole project (not including searching for the pipe bender) took about an hour.

The first thing we did, was use the pipe bender to bend the conduit about 66 degrees, so that it would fit into the T and taper down to the ground.

Once the pipe was bent, we put it into the T and tightened the screws. This is what the top of the "tree" looked like:

It's about 8" across at the top, but don't worry, it's 10 feet tall so it looks pretty pointed once it's lit.
To keep the frame secure we used 3 re-rods which Big A sledge hammered into the dirt. This is where the blood came in. Poor Big A sledged hammered his finger! We then fit the conduit pipe onto the re-rods.
We wrapped the icicle lights around the tree frame at 6" intervals. We secured the lights with about a million zip ties. This took FOREVER. (Maybe it was only half an hour, but at this point our feet and fingers were frozen.) 
Once the lights were on, we put the star on top. This proved a little tricky. We drilled a hole in the top of the T and put a tine of the star in the hole, but it was too wobbly. Solution - silver duct tape the "you know what" out of it!


The actual frame cost about $20. (The lights, star and extension cords are worth about $100 extra).

It looks tiny in this photo, but it's actually 10 feet tall and 5 feet wide at the base. All in all we were pretty pleased with ourselves. We might have high-fived. In fact, we might build a couple of smaller trees to keep it company.



Inspired By June said...

What a great idea, Julia! I love how your tree turned out! Thank you for sharing!

Unknown said...

[ Smiles ] Nice outdoor project. Everyone is not as versed as you in creating their own Christmas tree from scratch.

Well done!

Unknown said...

Thank you June and Renard! It was fun, and we're now talking about making a couple of smaller trees to go with it. :) Julia

Unknown said...

Your tree turned out really well! It's pretty in there with all those trees in your yard!

Amy@BuffaloRoam said...

Awww, I like it!!!

Our over achieving neighbors go all out for every holiday, and they have strings of lights hanging down in Christmas tree form from three huge trees, and it looks awesome but I don't have any trees to do that with.

I think I just found my solution. :) Thanks!!

Unknown said...

Thanks Jodi!

Amy - I wish I had better pix, it looks cool. Especially now we have a foot of snow. Will take pix tonight and update.

Unknown said...

Love it! If you haven't already I would love for you to link up to this week linky party and share it!

Allison @ Dream a Little Bigger said...

Ha! I love that it took 'forever', or 30 minutes. I'm the same way in the cold. When we start putting up the Christmas lights outside, for some reason it always is the coldest day so far and I will complain, complain, complain. But I'll still have them up :)

Sarah said...

Cute idea, it looks great in your yard.