Many, if not all of us, have seen the wire Christmas trees sold in the home supply stores. While they are pretty to look at, with their rope lights spiraling around the frame, they do cost money, and have to be stored after the Christmas season. So, why not build your own version, save money, and put your garden tools to use for a few extra weeks?
Start out with the four legged wire cage. These are four feet tall, and make a fairly large fake tree. Stand the cage on its top, then pull the ends of the legs together and fasten them with a wire tie from a green lawn bag. Place the tie about an inch of below the ends of the legs, so you have a little bit of wire leg exposed. Or, use some electrician’s tape wound around the legs at the same spot. Be sure the legs stay together. If you do not have the four legged wire cage, the three legged cage will do. It just turns out a little smaller.
Use only indoor/outdoor approved light strings! I have used strings of the older C7 light bulbs, which usually have 15 to 20 bulbs in a string. I have also used LED lights in the same size that have 25 light bulbs to each string. Most recently, I found some mini LED lights with 70 bulbs per string. You could also use colored rope lights; just attach them in a spiral from the top down.
Attaching the Lights
Place the wires leading to the last bulb in the string through the space left above the tied legs. Spiral the light string around and down the legs. Adjust the light string as you go to keep the lights equally spaced on the cage. You should end up with the plug just above the top rung of the cage. With a short strip of electrician’s tape or duct tape, fasten the light cord to the wire cage at random intervals. Attach the plug so that it will be several inches above the ground when you are finished.
Yard Set up
I set up several trees, plugging the first one into an extension cord, then the extension cord into the receptacle part of the next tree’s light plug. Eventually, the last tree is plugged into a timer.
When the season is done, you can either disassemble the trees, or store them. I store mine under the back yard deck. Unfortunately, this year a pair of male deer decided to use the area as a resting place during the warm fall days. (We called them Bucky and Bubba) One day I inadvertently startled them, and the one with the largest rack of antlers jumped up to run out from under the deck. He hooked two of my wire trees and dragged them out into the yard, shedding the trees as he ran. The trees were repaired, but Bucky did not come back to rest under the deck.