Introduction: Christmas "Hot Cocoa" Lawn Ornament

About: An artist that has experimented with many different materials and has mastered none ( always learning something new ! )

Or maybe " Frozen Hot Chocolate" would be a better description ? Most of the following items we had on hand but many can be found on Amazon if your local store does not carry any specific item.( our Dollar tree just happened to have one of the items -the toy Baseball Bat set - but store supplies will vary depending on the region.)


2 Standard Size Hula Hoops ( 1 can be slightly larger than other )

1 Tomato Cage

2 Heavy Plastic Milk Crates / Or weather proof stool - ( or multiple Tomato cages stacked )

3 - 4 small -medium size Bungee Cords

2 - 3 Five foot Metal Garden Stakes ( we used old Shelving placement bars )

2 -4 Heavy Duty Cable Ties ( 24 inch size )

Multiple packs of Assorted Zip Ties - Medium and Small ( minimum 15 Medium and 20 small )

30 lb Fishing Line

2 packs 16 g Thick Picture Hanging Wire or Floral Wire

Clothesline Rope / or packing Twine of equal thickness

4 - 5 Foam Noodles or Plumbing Foam Black Pipe coverings

2 Rolls 10 inch x 10 yards White Outdoor Mesh Fabric ( Floral Section of Craft Store )

1 Roll Light Tan Mesh ( 2 if small width roll )

3 - 4 *Green ( or *color of choice ) Mesh for Mug and handle

1- 2 Rolls White Duct Tape

2 Rolls Brown Duct Tape

Red Plastic Baseball Bat ( Dollar Tree or other Dept. store )

2 -3 Colors of choice Duct Tape for Mug and "Sprinkles" ( optional )

Step 1: Creating Main Structure

Take largest Hoop ( if one is larger than the other ) and make that your Top one ( Mug Rim ).

We had a pre-duct taped Brown pool noodle we used to cover the top hoop for our Mug Rim.

You may need 2 full sized Pool Noodles to cover first hoop.
We used additional brown Duct Tape to attach to First ( Top ) Hoop. If we had more green noodles we would have used those but we worked with what we had since we started this in December !

We kept the bottom hoop "as is" since it will be covered in fabric mesh later.

Measure out Clothesline / Twineto your desired height of finished mug ( with extra 2 inches for tying ).

Invert your Tomato Cage ,and bend down the prongs

Place on a chair or stool and place in the center of your hoop area. This is where the "Whipped cream swirl " is going to be. Secure with bungee cords.

(Note :We ended up switching stool out for 2 stacked Milk Crates held together with 2 bungee cords.)

Attach Hoops to Cage with Wire and Twine

Taking advantage of the Tomato Cage placement , attach top Hoop with wire across diameter and through / around cage and connect to opposite side of hoop.

Cut 4 Noodles to size for covering twine

By this time you should be able to cut additional noodles to same length as your tied twine.
Place 4 separate lengths of vertical Twine on top Hoop at equal distance from each other and attach ends to bottom hoop. ( keeping cage on stool or chair helps with this step ! ) Now you will need to cover your twine with the noodle.This can be done 1 of 2 ways :

1) using a 1/2 inch dowel tape the end of the twine to one end dowel and feed it through til it falls through to bottom. We decided to keep the dowels in for added support but not necessary if twine stays knotted and in place.

2 ) Cut the noodle length wise ,fit around twine, and tape closed.

Secure ends of noodles to both hoops with Duct Tape ( we used black tape here ).

Step 2: Attaching White Mesh and "Peppermint "

Taking the Tomato cage prongs and bending them down, cover the ends with White Duct tape.

Then using the plastic sink Mat we made a cone shape with fishing line. You could also use some zip ties for this step.

( The Plastic mat helps the mesh keep its shape when its placed outside and subject to the elements and for attaching string lights ! )

For the Peppermint Stick - We covered the red baseball bat with white duct tape cut at an angle on first corner edge ( Trial and Error ).

Also we kept the original packaging with baseball on the end so we could use the plastic "hook" for attaching it to the inside of cage with duct tape.

Measure out your white Mesh in gradual lengths starting with the longest and work your way up to shorter lengths. This part is more artistic and you can vary length according to personal preference.

Using the white duct tape seal off your raw edges. This will really help keep your pieces from fraying and also from getting caught on other sections while you are piecing it together.

Fold length wise if using 10 inch wide mesh , and wrap around top of cage, stop where Cocoa layer should begin. Secure with Fishing line and or zip ties and tape.

Step 3: Finishing Sides, Top, Handle and Other Details

Using the same measurements you used for the twine, measure out your mesh (* in our case "Green" ) and cut accordingly.

Seam the edges with Green tape ( or shipping tape if you don't have matching color ) as you did with the White mesh.

Attach one end ( Short side ) of mesh at seam to inside of top hoop ( Mug Rim ) with Staples and cover with tapeor just use the Brown duct tape and do the same with the bottom edge wrapping around bottom hoop from front to underneath, using more tape or zip ties ( we punched holes through ends of seamed tape but sometimes just fed through mesh itself.)

Continue above step all around interior of Hoop, leaving a space of about 1 1/2 feet for Mug Handle and leave a bit a space for reaching into center of mug for future assembly ( taking structure outside and securing to outdoor area.)

We decided to Double and Triple layer each section of mesh since we wanted to obscure the inner structure ( milk crates ) during the daytime hours. The supply list accounts for these layers. You may be able to get away with less mesh if this does not concern you.

Taking Light Brown Mesh , cut gradual sizes according to the space left by the Whipped Cream section. We took a slightly different approach with these strips and cut a slight angle at top of strip and twisted / rolled it on itself into a long tube. Then we secured both ends of tube with duct tape. ( Brown, or shipping tape ).

Carefully begin attaching tubes around top inner edge of Hoop Rim with fishing line. We made a spiral arrangement with tubes , tying a loose loop of Fishing line around each "group" of about 4-5 tubes horizontally beginning at center and stretching out through sides of Green Mesh and back over top of Rim and inner Tomato cage. This again is a trial and error step and is not meant to be precise. Mainly to help cocoa keep shape when wind, rain, or snow arrives ( ours just survived a day of snow fall :) !)

Just for Fun : For our Whipped Cream layer we added a decorative Frost Trim with regular desk stapler, and

made "Bubbles" out of clear plastic ornament "Halves" using more brown mesh and Tacky Glue ,and attached with fishing line through ornament loops.

Also added Orange and Pink "Sprinkles" made out of Duct tape folded on itself , rounded corners , hole punched and attached with small zip ties.

Step 4: Last But Not Least ...

To Secure Outdoors

First we removed the first set of bungee cords that held the tomato cage to the milk crates, and moved the stacked crates outdoors. We then moved the outer structure out and carefully placed it back on top of crates and replaced the bungee cords as they were before.

We hammered our metal stakes / shelf unit bars into the ground close to our mug and then connected mug to stakes with the 24 Inch Zip Ties ( 2 for each metal bar , 1 around Rim and another closer to middle section or wherever needed. )

Add Clear white corded String lights as desired ( small zip ties help with placement around Whipped Cream !)

We still had a few inches of snow on the ground by the time this was ready and then another snow fall as we tried to get photos with the lights !

Our plan for moving into storage is to remove the bungee cords and also cut the Twine and zip ties at bottom and then collapse Mug just a bit until next year.

Please post any questions and share photos if you make one for your house !

Anything Goes Contest

Participated in the
Anything Goes Contest