Intro: Easy Mega Tree
Hi! This Instructable will show you how to build a simple mega tree for Christmas! All you need is the following:
1. A sturdy PVC pipe cut to size*
2. Christmas lights (I used 2 30 foot strands)
3. A drill or something to make holes with
4. Yard stakes (I found this 3D printable model by mouserunner on Thingiverse. Click Here)
5. Strings cut a foot longer than the pipe
6. Optional: A pole that can fit inside the PVC pipe to hammer in the ground. *If you do not use this, leave an extra foot of the PVC pipe to bury*
7. Optional: Tree topper
Sorry that I don't have much pictures, as I created this Instructable after. I also took the final pictures with my Canon SLR, so that explains the huge quality difference! :)
Step 1: Prepare Strings
This step is easy. All you have to do is cut 4 strings. They must be a foot longer than the pipe itself. I used thin white string as it is hard to see at night.
Step 2: Drill Holes
Now we will be drilling the holes for the strings and lights. I did not use exact measurements for this. For the string holes, I went about 3/4th inch from the top and drilled 4 holes on each "side". Kind of forming a square if you connect the points. I also created recessed slots on the top of the pole for the Christmas lights to sit in. You can do this at the position you wish to hang the lights from. You do not have to do this if you find a better way to mount the lights. My original design was a tennis ball bottle at the top screwed to the pipe with slots to hold the lights. If this confused you, just look at the pictures. :)
Step 3: Connect the Strings
Now we will connect the pole to the yard stakes. This is simple. Just tie one side of the strings to the four holes we made earlier, and tie the other sides to the yard stakes. Be sure not to get them tangled (I did and it was not fun)! To store it away for the season, you can just wrap the strings around the stakes and put the stakes in the top of the PCV.
Step 4: Put the Pole Up
You can connect the lights to the pole before this if you would like. I found it easier to do it after and use a ladder to put the lights up. To mount the pole, you also might want a person to help you. First, find the spot you would like the tree to be in. If you did not use the little pole, dig a one foot hole to bury the pipe and bury it. If you did use the little pole, pound the little pole into the ground with a rubber mallet (about six inches to a foot down). Place the PVC pipe on the little pole (little pole goes inside). Have the person hold the pole straight (optional but very helpful). Take the first string and stake it into the ground until there is tension, but not enough to bend the pole. Repeat this for all the sides. Make sure you do not go too far or close, or the pole will lean. Each stake must be an even length from the pole. Once the person releases the pole, it should stand up straight.
Step 5: Lights
As I mentioned earlier, I put the lights on after I put the pole up with a little step stool. This part is easy. Just stake the lights in on one side of the pole (you can connect it to the string stake too), put the lights inside the mounting holes on the top, and stake the lights on in the other side. Look at the pictures for help.
Step 6: Options
Here are a few suggestions that you can do!
1. Animate the mega tree! You can use a DIY Arduino controller. Just look here: http://bit.ly/1Ue7fPA . You can also use commercial options, such as Light O Rama.
2. Add a star!* You can glue, zip tie, or place a star to the top of the mega tree! Make sure it isn't a heavy star.
3. Paint the PVC pole! You can spray paint the pole to make it look better. Maybe candy cane stripe or green.
4. Shield the wires! I put Press N Seal around the plugs (on the rest of my display too) to keep water out.
5. Add ornaments! I added ornaments that you can see in the daytime. It was $1 for 16 (The string was terrible)
6. Comment your suggestion! What would you do to make this better?
*I created a star with a coat hanger, lights, spray paint, and cardboard. Look at the pictures!
Thanks for reading! Please share and vote for me in the Make It Glow challenge and Merry Christmas!