Outdoor Lighted Cartoon Christmas Trees

0 Comments | December 10, 2013

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This was a fun couples project that my husband and I put together this past weekend. We were inspired by our church’s tree “forest” in the main auditorium. I thought they would look great outside. Once we started putting them together, my husband was reminded of Road Runner cartoons when Wile E. Coyote was running through the desert. The cactus’ had crazy branches much like our project. I kept thinking of the fun-to-say word, wonky. The more I looked at them though, I got the cartoon vibe too.

Whether you have a helper or not, these trees are easy to put together with scrap lumber. We didn’t have luan (also spelled lauan) scraps so we spent $30 on that. I’ll walk you through the steps but as you will quickly see this is the kind of project where your creativity may lead you down a completely different path. I did not want to wrap the trunk area of each tree but you could do so. Also, David had an idea of stapling the lights to the outer perimeter of each branch. I really liked the idea of wrapping each limb and went with that this year.

Steps:

1.  Create a base by notching 2 24″ long pieces of 2 x 4.

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2. Apply Gorilla glue to the notched out area and position the pieces. Fortify the area by stapling with a brad stapler.

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3. Make a brace. Glue and staple in place.

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4. To pull the wood together and add stability, screw several screws to the glued and stapled pieces.

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5. Cut three different sizes of luan. Mine were approximately 36″, 24″, and 10″.  Mentally, think about the shape of a triangle to help gauge the lengths.

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6. Using my husband’s compressor-driven stapler (I’m sure that is not what he calls it), I started at the bottom and worked my way up the length of the 2 x 4 trunk. I tilted each luan piece (wonkified) to give it that cartoon type of look.

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A completed tree.

A completed tree.

The beginnings of our cartoon forest.

The beginnings of our cartoon forest.

 

7. Once the trees are finished, starting from the top and making sure that the receiving end of the plug is at the top, start winding from the trunk end of the branch towards the outside tip. Once you get to the tip, turn and wind the lights back to the trunk. Go down to the next branch and repeat. Move from side to side then down.

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8. We had scraps of luan and David fashioned stars for two of the trees by stacking the pieces then using the fancy stapler to tack them together. If you make a star, add it to the tree before wrapping the lights. Start the wrapping process with the star and then drop down and wrap the branches.

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9. Our illuminated cartoon Christmas trees greet our guests when they start up the drive.

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