This is a simple and inexpensive outdoor or indoor Christmas Tree. One of the other advantages is that although you can make it quite large it is flat and easy to store.
This is also a good project for a beginner welder as you don't really even see the steel rods or the welds when the tree is lit up at night.
MIG Welder or Braising Torch (I think the welder is preferred as it will be much strong)
Materials: (I spent less than $25 for all the materials)
String of LED lights 25'
1/8 Steel Rod 32' (might need more depending on the lengths you can buy it in)
Plastic Ties apx 20
Step 1: Plan the Size and Cut the Rods
I wanted this tree to be 6' tall so I started with the idea that the last branch would be slightly smaller at 5'6" wide and reduced all the branches by 75% with the last branch being reduced by 50%. You can experiment with different ratios, but it is important to have a progression.
Here are the measurements I used (note they are in feet)
Trunk: 2 x 6.5'
Attached is the spreadsheet I used for the ratios.
After cutting the pieces of Rod I laid it out on the floor to make sure I was happy with the overall design. This is an important step. The first time I did this I only had 5 branches and decided I needed one more for the right symmetry. Additionally my original plan was only one trunk but after starting to work with the 1/8" rod I realized it was not going to be strong enough and added the double rod trunk, which I thought looked better too. You may want to experiment with different layouts.
Step 2: Weld the Rods Together
Experiment on a couple of scrape pieces of 1/8th rod to make sure you have the right settings on your MIG welder. You want to make sure that you have a full penetration of the weld to make the bond strong, so error on the side of having it a little too high. Don't worry about how your welds look to much as you will not see the welds or the steel rods when the tree is lit up at night.
Step 3: Attach the Lights and Enjoy
I attached the LED lights using plastic wire ties and then planted the tree in the ground.