We wanted a different kind of Christmas tree that woulnd't take much space at home and would be easily stored, so we went with this minimal-floating-flatpack-conceptual Christmas tree :)
Instead of standing in the floor, it just hangs from the ceiling so you can fill the area below it with all your presents (or even inside? :D) It also produces cool shadows and it is a super nice piece to have in the living room.
Let's get started!
I recommend you check out the video that covers not only the build process but the explanation and our motivation behind it :)
Step 1: Gather Materials!
There is not much you will need for this project:
- Steel rod/rebar: In total we used around 3.60m, but it's up to you, just thing how many triangles and how big you want them and add up the lengths!
- Fishing line: We used 0.43mm gage fishing line, up to 8kg, but it proved to be just enough, so I'd recommend using thicker one if you have on hand, or as we eventually did: adding a few wires more to distribute the weigth.
- Ornaments: Anything you want! We used some scrap mdf shelves (10mm) to make geometric ornaments, but it's your Christmas tree!
You will also need some basic tools:
A hacksaw to cut the steel, a file to remove the sharp edges, some scissors for the fishing line, and whatever you might need to make your ornaments. In this case, I used a bandsaw and a disc sander, but you can do fine with a coping saw and a file.
Regarding the metal bends, you can just use a bench vise and a hammer. I used the metal bender I built some time ago to make these hairpin legs. You can find it in this instructable: https://www.instructables.com/id/Make-Your-Own-Hai...
Step 2: Let's Bend Some Steel
Alright, the core of the project! 6 triangles of different side sizes: 350,300,225,180,140,80 mm.
I'm not gonna lie: getting the right lengths is tricky. So depending on what are you using to bend it and what radius you are getting (bending allowance), you will have to adjust the measurements. I recommend you make a test first, painting a scale on the rod (eg: one line each cm) and then checking how much length did you consume on the radius.
I did that and then made all the bends consecutively, but if you are not sure, the easiest way to go is starting by the side opposed to the open vertex:
- Cut the whole length you'll need for the triangle. If the side (vertex to vertex) should be 300mm, go with 900mm in total. You'll have a couple cm of excess that you can cut off later.
- Mark the length of one of the sides in the middle of the bar.
- Bend the right side, checking it is 60º
- Bend the other side checking again the angle.
- Trim any excess you have on both sides.
Repeat until you have all your triangles!
Step 3: Make It Float!
Take your fishing line and start making the little strings that will hold everything together.
I recommend you use a jig with 2 pins/dowels of the same diameter as the steel rod you use. That way you can make sure the length of all the wires is the same and the laces and knots will be tight around the steel rod. You will need at least three wires per triangle. I ended up using 6, arranging them in couples, for some extra safety.
Just take your time to make the 18/36 strings with tight knots and then start connecting it together. I recommend you start from the top. It's not only easier to make while it's hanging but also, simpler for your brain. I used a washer with 3 holes as the starting point (this washer is eventually attached to the ceiling). and then I worked my way down, I inserted the first triangle through the loops of the three strings and made sure it was horizontal by placing the loop of each string in the right position of each side of the triangle.
To hang the second triangle you will need a second set of 3 strings hanging from the first, so make sure you insert them in advance when you are setting the previous triangle. This might sound confusing but as you start it will all make sense :)
Once you have them all hanging, make sure they are all as horizontal as possible. Nobody is perfect and the strings will have slightly different lengths and that can result in crooked triangles. No worries, that's normal. Just move the stings whithin the sides of the triangles until you get the right balance. It might take a while, but its fun :D
Step 4: Ornaments
This step is totally up to you! Here is what I did
I took some 10mm mdf shelves and cut out a few triangles, squares and circles. We wanted it to be geometrical but not necessarily precise. So a marker, a bandsaw and a disc sander did the job. Then you just drill a small hole on each, and use the same fishing line to hang them. I adjusted the length so they float approximately in the middle between each triangle.
I made 35 ornaments in total: 3 for the first triangle, 4 for the second one, 5 for the third one, and so on. I hung a couple more in the lower level and another one in the top, above the first triangle.
Step 5: Hang Everything and Enjoy the Result! :)
When everything is done just hang it from the ceiling, add the ornaments, and enjoy Christmas!!