Introduction: Iceberg for a Christmas Narwhal

About: I spend too much time making stuff and too little time using stuff, yes I think I have a problem :D

I recently purchased a Christmas Narwhal from Target and wanted to do something more than just put it on the ground. I decided to make an iceberg for it to sit on. Since my chosen climate does not support a real iceberg, I used coroplast board (basically plastic cardboard) and for this project I needed a 4' x 8' sheet of it ($15 from my local plastic supply place). I got a free cut so I asked them to take 3' off the long side, which left a 4' x 5' piece to make the berg from. The 3' piece for the supports.

The project took about an hour, give or take a couple hours.

Ingredients (these are what I used):

17.25" Tinsel Lit Narwhal with Scarf - Wondershop (Target)

Double Guard Super Tuff 02601 2-Layer Drop Cloth, 8 ft W x 12 ft L, White, Fabric (Walmart)

Color-Sync C3 Lights Set White Wire Cool White to Blue, 100 Count (Walmart)

Husky Plastic Drop Cloth, 0.7 Mil (Walmart) - just get the cheapest one that will cover it.

4' x 8' sheet of coroplast 4mm (not Home Depot)

Landscape staples (100 packs are available at the 'zon)

about 600 Blue and White LED's (300 each)


Something to cut the coroplast with, standard cautions and disclaimers apply (don't cut your fingers off, etc). Standard scissors don't work well for cutting coroplast I found.

Duct Tape (color does not matter since it will be hidden)

Hot Glue Gun and glue sticks

Hammer (for the lawn stakes/staples)

Straight edge yardstick for cutting the base parts.

Drill and a drill bit slightly smaller than the LED's you plan to use (since it will be a friction fit).

Clear packing tape (for taping the rolled edge of the "pond".

Scissors (for cutting the stuff that is not coroplast)

Step 1: Cut the Coroplast and Make the Base

First I had cut the coroplast sheet into 2 parts (to get it into my car), the first will be the top of the iceberg and the other part will be used to make the stand. I made my stand 9" tall, and since there are four parts to the base it worked out to 36" (3 feet). I was left with 4' x 5' to make the iceberg top. Once the 9" strips are cut for the base, I made 2 vertical cuts about 6" in from the edges to the middle (about 4'5") - these don't need to be perfect, just as long as they are roughly consistent. Then the stand can be assembled by matching the cut out slits together. Have a look at the 1st pic and it should be obvious how the strips are cut for the base and how they go together. If the base is too big for the top, just fold two opposite sides in half and then re-assemble, you can then shorten the width of the base by pushing the two non-folded sides closer to each other and the folded sides will tuck inward like this:


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Next for the top of the iceberg, I just set the base down and drew something iceberg-like freehand and cut it out. Then used some duct tape to secure the base parts together and also the base to the top (did not go nuts here since I want to be able to take it apart and store it for next year).

Step 2: Add the Lights

The lights poke through the top and so I just used a large enough drill bit (sorry can't recall the exact size but it was around 5/16") and drilled around the edge, about 1" in from the edge and about 2" apart (all this is approximate). After all the holes were drilled, I popped the lights in, they were in good so no glue was needed. I would recommend testing one hole with a scrap to make sure you have the right size bit for the LED's before going all the way round. The only important thing to note is to start installing the LED's from the center of the string and work from the front center of the iceberg around both sides - this way if there are not enough lights to go around, they will be missing from the back where they won't matter.

Step 3: Make a Skirt for Your Iceberg

I used the 2 ply tarp material to make the skirt for the iceberg, this stuff has a plactic covered side, and an absorbent side. This material has a shimmery appearance on the plastic side that is perfect for the iceberg so I used the shiny side out. I just cut a chunk off the bottom of the drop cloth - that is take it out of the bag, unfold it a few times and cut about 1 foot off the end. I then unfolded it and then folded the top 2-3" over and made a fold on the piece so it is just over 9". The fold makes the edge look nicer, so if you are in a hurry just cut it to size and forget the folding. I then attached it with hot glue, starting from the center of the skirt piece in the front center (going around the same way as when installing the lights). I let the skirt stick up about 1/8" over the the top just to make it look a bit less even on the top edge.

It took two pieces to go around and I just attached it with hot glue.

Step 4: An Iceberg Needs Some Water

First I have to state that making the "pond" this way will kill any grass that it is put over and any sprinklers should be turned off if they are nearby or under the area that is to be covered. Additionally staking into a yard without knowing where drip or sprinkler lines are located is unwise. If unsure you could probably use rocks to hold the plastic down. Finally, I had some rain after installing this display, and found there was no easy way to get the water out of the "water" area, so that is a problem (no/poor drainage). Of course water and power don't mix so I had to leave the display off a for a night while I cleaned it up and dried it out. The following is how I made the "water" area around the plastic iceberg this year, so it can certainly be improved upon with better drainage.

To make the water effect for the iceberg, I put down the remaining white drop cloth (and there was still plenty), shiny side down (this is important). I then staked it down in the corners temporarily. Next I set out the blue and white LEDs on the drop cloth, this can be pretty organic. I used some tape to hold the first set of blue lights in places, but just put the rest of the white LED's down loose.

Over the lights I then put the clear plastic drop cloth down, and this time I carefully staked though both layers in about a dozen places around the perimeter of an imagined pond (all the lights must be well inside this perimeter since so the stakes don't go through them) - this is shown in the diagram. So now there will be some material outside the perimeter which will be used for the rolled edge. To make the edge, I rolled the drop cloths over some old packing material, using both air filled packing material and rolled bubble wrap, but newspaper or anything light and bulky would work. The white drop cloth with the plastic side out was now on the outside of the rolled edge, which I taped down on the inside edge with clear packing tape.

I also had some bubble wrap bags around for some frozen dog food I had ordered, and it happened to have a white color interior so I turned these inside out and they became icebergs which I put in the back corners.

Step 5: Add Some Friends and That's It.

I placed my Narwhal on the 'berg, along with a friendly elf and then populated the area with some other North Pole critters and that's it.

Now I wish I had a bigger Narwhal...Maybe next year.

LED Contest 2017

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LED Contest 2017