Introduction: LED Lit Tree Decoration
A friend and his family created these beautiful golden tree branch centerpieces for his wedding reception. During the wedding they had hung tea light candles in glass lanterns and super glued fresh violet orchids on the branches. I brought a couple of them home afterwards to keep. Without all the embellishments they still look beautiful on their own and could be used for different things - a unique Christmas tree or even a jewelry display. When we started stocking the Celebright LED holiday lights, I really wanted to use them for a project - especially the warm white. Then I thought wrapping them around the tree would be perfect because the warm white Celebright is made of copper wire which would blend in perfectly with the gold paint.
For this project I used:
Find a manzanita tree. What you find and how long you want your finished tree to last will affect the next step.
Wash tree with pressurized water (garden hose) and let dry. Trim branches to get desired look. If the tree still has green leaves you can remove those and do a light sanding with 120 grit sandpaper to allow better paint adhesion. If the tree is more on the dead side you will need to sand it as the bark on manzanita trees crack and flake off over time. Maybe that is a look you desire so you don't sand it, but if you want a smooth surface all the time, you should. The best way is to sand blast it, or the more tedious way is to use sand paper.
Screw 3 1" - 1 1/2" screws perpendicular to tree 1" from the bottom of the main branch/trunk. This will help secure the tree in the Plaster of Paris.
Mix Plaster of Paris according to directions. You will need enough to fill your base upto 1"-1 1/2" from the top.
Hang your branch by a string from the center point of the main branch. The center point will be the point at which your tree will balance in the position you want it to be set in the plaster of paris. Suspend the tree (we did this from a ceiling hook in the garage) so that it is 1" above your work surface.
Insert the main tree branch in to the base with plaster of paris. Work the branch into the position you would like it. Once set in place let it sit until the Plaster of Paris dries.
Spray paint your tree which ever color you would like according to the paint directions. We used gold, some grey, and a little dark brown to get an antique gold finish. Gold first and then small strokes of the other colors in various areas to give it the antique look.
Add your decor. Our florist added moss to the base to cover the plaster of paris and then hot glued flowers to the branches. The moss worked well, but you can also use colored rocks or anything really. Florist shops are great for these items or even Michaels.
So now that we have the tree part done - time to light it up! I took the end of the Celebright wire and started wrapping from the top of a branch and working my way down and up. I used my best judgement so each light points were spread out evenly and that I was able to end the spool at the base. I thought 3 spools were enough but ended up needing 5. It's best to blast your favorite music and get into the zone - the probably took 3-4 hours tops. A meditative process. Then cover the cables with the moss - you could also drill a hole in whatever vase you use so it is more hidden.
Step 11: Power Up
Next I just connected the ends of the Celebright with the 5-way DC splitter plug and then to the adapter to plug in. It now resides in what use to be a darker corner of my office desk and now glows warmly. I am thinking of getting an in line switch to turn it off and on as I just unplug it from the power strip when I leave work.