Introduction: Sparkly Column Outdoor Mobile
If you don't think bling belongs in your yard, move along. This is a vertical version of a disco ball! The slightest breeze sets off sparks and spangles. Add movement and delight to your landscape for under $30.
- a silver disk curtain, like this
- two pie crust shields, like this
- wire (I used ~30 gauge, maybe too thin)
- Dremel, drill and polish bits
- nail or screw
- wire snippers
Step 1: First I Tried...
We have these big posts around a concrete patio in our back yard. They need some dressing up!
At first I just hung up a mirrored curtain on its original straight bar. I added washers to the bottom of each string and threaded a dowel through them, to keep the strings from tangling in the wind. It caught the light beautifully, but otherwise looked junky.
It was a bit of a test: after three weeks and some windy days, the plastic disks were still in good shape and the split rings still held them together.
Step 2: Measuring (ugh, Geometry!)
What size ring would fit around the posts?
The posts are square in section. Whatever ring I used to hold the strands of mirrored disks had to fit around the widest dimension: the diagonal of the square. I once learned a formula for that, but luckily someone invented the internet and now there are online calculators for it. The sides of the post are 5.5 inches wide, so the diagonal is about 7.75.
I did an image search for "metal ring," rejecting macrame rings and lazy susan swivels before hitting on pie crust shields (they keep the edges of a crust from burning in the oven). Thanks to the good souls who give detailed answers in Customer Q&A, I knew the 10-inch shield would clear the post with about an inch on either side.
How to space the strands around the ring?
The curtain had 10 strands. I wanted them evenly spaced. And I wanted to keep avoiding math. I did an image search for "10 circle segments," printed out one of the results, and used it to mark the rim of the pie crust shield with a Sharpie pen.
Step 3: Start the Holes
I pounded a nail into the aluminum at each mark. At first I hoped that would make holes big enough for hanging the strands, but the metal was too sturdy, and the holes needed to be enlarged.
Step 4: Drill and Smooth the Holes
To enlarge the holes, I used a couple different drill bits on my Dremel. These pushed the metal out into a flange around each hole, so I wore that down with a grinding bit.
Safety glasses! Better dorky than blinded!
Step 5: Attach Strands at Top and Bottom
By removing a plastic cap on one end of the curtain bar, I could slide out the notched strip that the strands hung from. Thin gauge split rings join the mirrored disks to each other.
Once I started slipping split rings into their holes on the pie ring, I discovered the need for strand management. Firstly, I needed to make sure the strands lined up in the corresponding holes in both pie rings. Secondly--most importantly!--I needed to keep the bottom pie ring from flipping over or sliding between strands. When that happened the resulting tangle felt like a genius-level intelligence test. At one point I had to detach and reattach some strands to untangle them.
Step 6: Hang
I wrapped wires around the pie ring in three places to hang it. I used some (maybe too) thin wire I had on hand.
Hanging the column was a two-person job. We slipped the pie rings over the screw eye hook and onto the post, practicing careful strand management. We found the right height, then I twisted the three wires together at the top and secured the excess wire around the screw eye hook. I also trapped the three supporting wires against the post by wrapping another wire around them.
A row of extra mirrored disks dangles from the bottom. On the original curtain, the strands weren't attached at the bottom. To make it easier to attach the bottom split ring, I removed the lowest mirrored disk from each strand. After assembling the column, I put them all back, and they hang free for a little extra sparkle.
Participated in the