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Topic: Lighted Snowflake Lifts Gloom: added photos  (Read 2505 times)
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« on: November 30, 2013 10:11:15 AM »

It's dark at 4:30 in the afternoon and that can make me feel blu-ish. So I have shouted back the dark by building my own snowflake for the front of our house. It's more Cub Scout than Martha Stewart, but I like it.

A 10' section of pvc pipe, a pvc drain cover, silicone caulk, a string of lights, a couple of waste CD's and some electrical tape is the recipe for a small, stinky mess in the garage followed by a bright addition to the exterior of our home. The generic winter theme means I can keep it up long past Christmas without feeling guilty.

« Last Edit: December 15, 2013 06:45:33 PM by flyangler » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2013 11:57:16 AM »

Nicely done! I have a hard time imagining how all of the different ingredients play parts, but I like what they became!

Whatever happened to the ongoing hoopla swaps?
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2013 04:08:30 PM »

Ha! If you have a hard time imagining how the ingredients come together, you should have seen the fellow at Home Depot who asked me if he could help me. It is only because his long white beard and little glasses reminded me of a jolly old elf that I told him more than that "I need things to build stuff with." I had stalked through just about all the departments eyeing this item and that item, touching them, looking at the prices and ultimately rejecting every one. He met me at the door on my way out where I was "oooing" over some long narrow white stakes used to mark the end of a driveway. I hadn't found the right "things" and was going home to think about it some more.  Elfen as he was, I decided to tell him I was building my own lighted snowflake rather than buying the $50 one that they had on sale. Only for a moment did he look at me like I was a loon. He was creative enough to suggest pvc pipe for the six arms of the flake. It's inexpensive, light weight, easy to saw, and can be glued. He walked me over to the right aisle and managed to reach the thinnest pipe for me.

I saw the cup shaped drain cover, across the aisle from the pipe, as the hub of the flake and noticed that it had 6 dividers on the inside that would give me a handy guide for drilling the 6 holes that would accept each arm. A hole drill was added to the shopping list with a bit big enough to fit the arms into the hub. The smallest hole cutter was still bigger than my pvc pipe (though closer to the right size than anything we had at home), so I used silicone caulk to take up the extra space and to adhere the arms to the hub regardless of the snow, cold, or wind.

The white electrical tape wraps the string of lights onto each arm. One CD is the shiny center of the snowflake which hides the less-than-lovely white pvc drain cover. I needed a bit of the second CD to cover the hole in the middle of the first. I had contemplated putting a light bulb through the center, in the CD's hole, but nixed that when it seemed that the string of lights was just long enough to go up and down each arm before going over to the one next to it. I would not have bothered to wrap the lights strings so completely with white tape if HD had offered an inexpensive string of lights on white wire instead of green. Did I mention that I'm cheap?

There you have it. One picture up there,  now a thousand words down here.
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« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2013 10:21:50 PM »

Ha, wow that's fantastic! Quite innovative, and I bet that PVC is going to hold up really well. And I totally can relate to wandering though all the departments of a department store just to find some things "to build stuff". Wink

Whatever happened to the ongoing hoopla swaps?
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« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2013 03:05:31 PM »

What a wonderful project, it turned out great.  You have quite the creative skills to come up with this!

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« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2013 07:23:12 PM »

Thanks you two!
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2013 06:55:50 PM »

Ok, from top left to bottom right:
1. Raw materials including lights, white electrical tape and 4" drain cover
2. Drill, drill bit and silicone caulk- tools and adhesive arrayed on the table saw
3. Inside of the drain cover, showing the six handy dividers between which holes are drilled
4. With 6 holes drilled in the sides of the drain cover, pvc pipe arms can be glued in with caulk

Remaining steps: 
1. Space between the arms of the snowflake and the holes in the drain cover will be filled with caulk
2. Lights will be taped onto the arms with the white electrical tape
3. A CD will be glued, shiny side out, onto the front of the drain cover
4. One last small hole will be drilled in the top of one arm to hang the snowflake on the house
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2013 09:05:31 AM »

More helpful tips: wear your safety glasses and good fitting work gloves. Have your vacuum ready to suck up all the pvc shavings before your husband has a fit about the condition of the weight lifting area/garage/work-shop. A chunk of duct tape is good for removing the shavings from your high-couture crafting garb. Unless you like that vaguely hairy look you'll get courtesy of pvc shavings and static electricity. It's science!

Silicone caulk is stinky! It's nice to be able to close the doors between this project and your dining room. Unless you're eating something like kim chee. "Yum. No, I don't smell anything stinky."  Real pros have exhaust fans and sawdust handling systems. Not me. I have kim chee. And a shop-vac. Put something under your snowflake and any surface you care about to catch the glue drips before you deploy that caulk there Scout.
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« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2014 05:59:59 AM »

Ooh, I like it.  And I like that it can stay up all winter.  You are so nice to share your process and tips.  It's too bad you don't get more sunshine, or you could use solar-powered lights so there's no pesky cords.

The thing about believing that you can do anything is that you actually do things!
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