Yay Christmas! This year I was determined to decorate the front yard for the holiday. I had the bright idea of putting a Christmas Tree in the front yard. I went to some stores to look for a pre-made light up tree for outdoor use and found them to be prohibitively expensive...I feel like I say that a lot in my 'ibles. So what did I have around the house to use instead? Well, I had a homemade tetherball pole and some scrap plywood. Time to Macgyver some stuff.
Step 1: The Materials
The point of this build was to use what I had available as much as possible to save money while producing a final product I was not ashamed of putting in my front yard. I had an old tetherball pole that my kids didn't play with anymore, a bunch of scrap plywood, leftover paint and some old lights. The pole setup was a standard tire filled with concrete, and a 10' piece of 1 1/2" conduit. I did need to supplement the materials with one 8 x 4 piece of OSB and a few new light strings.
Step 2: Preparing the Base
The base of the tree is a piece of OSB cut into a 4' circle which will rest on top of the tire. The center is going to have a hole which will go around the tetherball pole. I first cut a 4' x 4' square out of the sheet of OSB. Next I measured and made a cross in the center drawing the perpendicular midpoint lines from each side of the square. To draw the circle I put a screw in the middle and tied a pencil to a string. This is just a rough guide, so its not going to be perfect. Next I used a jigsaw to cut it out. I want to string 12 lengths of lights around the circle so I need to lay out the clock face angles. This can be accomplished by either using a 30/60/90 degree square, or by swinging a radius arch from each quarter point.
At 2" in from the edge at each hour mark i drilled a 1/2" and then cut a wedge shaped notch. Lastly the base got a single quick coat of green spray paint.
Step 3: The Pole
The pole is just a run of the mill 1 1/2" conduit painted green. The rope at the bottom is to make it fit in the receiver pole a little better. I drilled six 1/4" holes around the top of the through which I put six cheap 99 cent spring carabiner clips.
Step 4: The Star
Every tree needs a star. With the left over OSB i drew a pentagon using a protractor. After cutting out the star I put it on a scrap piece of wood and slapped on some yellow spray paint. I want this part to POP at night though so it needed some light. I disassembled an old star that went with a fake indoor Christmas tree we got rid of. I drilled some 1/4" holes in the star and shoved the old light system in the holes. I got the spacing wrong the first time so my star looks like swiss cheese now but at night no one will notice.
Step 5: A Little Weight
Even though the pole is weighed down with concrete, I didn't plan on securing the wood circle to the tire in anyway. I suppose I could have tried some concrete screws but instead I decided to just weight down the board with some added FLAIR. I used some of my scrap OSB to make two quick boxes of different sizes. They both got some spray paint as well. I filled them with rocks and nailed the tops on. Lastly they got some duct tape ribbon. The "presents" will hold down the board in case the wind gets crazy. They will also help disguise the bottom of the pole and hide the light projector.
Step 6: Stringing the Lights
This took 6 strings of green cheap-o lights. I slide one end in the v shaped notch on the board and looped the string up through spring clips and back down all the way around. Easy-peasy. The star went on last and I waited for night to test it out.
Step 7: Light Projector
The light projector was a last minute addition. I have a two story house and its a little difficult to run lights on the eaves of the second floor. I have never had a light projector so I went with the cheapest $20 version available. I simply removed the U-bracket you're supposed to attach the ground stake to and screwed it near the center of the board. This will help light up the rest of the house that I can't reach. The project hides behind the faux presents.