Behind the scenes of Lights on Display, with projects, tips and relevant links.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Simple PVC Tepee Tree

If your yard is like mine and lacks Evergreen Trees, you can create some simple PVC trees to add to your display. The great thing is they're very simple to make and look fairly realistic in the display. The trees are also stackable, allowing them to be easily stored. Their shape makes them very stable in high wind situations, and they can be anchored with some bricks, rocks or cinder blocks.

My trees are 5' tall, but can be made smaller or a little bigger if desired. They are made out of 1/2" PVC pipe and fittings, heavy gauge wire, Hunter Green spray paint and artificial Pine garland.

Using an inexpensive pair of PVC cutters, I begin by cutting 8 - 5' 2" lengths of PVC for the uprights and 16 - 4" lengths for the base. These lengths can be adjusted if you wish to have a taller or shorter tree and a skinnier or fuller tree. After cutting the lengths, start dry fitting the PVC as shown in the photos, using 8 elbows, "Ts" and end caps of each. Gather the uprights, which will eventually be capped and wired together. 

Use a permanent marker and make a line across the fitting to the pipe, indicating the position of the "Ts." This will allow you to maintain the correct angle for gluing and then re-assembly. Start assembling the parts by cleaning and gluing the pipe and fittings. 

Cap the ends of the uprights and gather them together. Next, carefully drill a 1/4" hole through each one, just below the cap. Thread a heavy gauge wire through the holes and tie the ends together. Spray the finished assembly with Hunter Green spray paint and allow to dry. 

The entire tree is wrapped with an artificial Pine garland. It usually comes in 9' lengths and can be purchased from stores such as Michael's, for approx. $3 per strand. Before placing it on the tree, flare the branches out for the widest coverage. Start at the top and begin wrapping the garland around the tree. The branches can be used like "twisters" to intermittently secure the garland to the tree by twisting the branches around the pipe. 

Lights can be added by following the same path as the garland. The branches can be used as "twisters" to secure the lights. Branches can then be flared out to create the illusion of a real tree. The trees are naturally very stable, but rocks, bricks or cement blocks can be used to hold them more securely.

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