Paint these graceful lawn sculptures to add drama and color to your yard or garden. They're easy to build and last for years.
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The following steps show how to make a small orb. For two other sizes, follow the same steps, but make the following changes to part sizes and quantities:
To make a medium-size orb: Buy eight 4' lengths of strapping for eight ribs instead of six; cut the conduit 28" long; and cut the threaded rod 43-1/2" long.
To make a large orb: Use ten full-length 5' straps for ten ribs instead of six; cut the conduit 34" long; and cut the threaded rod 50" long.
With a hacksaw or jigsaw, cut three 6' steel straps into six 3' pieces; file off any sharp or jagged edges. Then cut the conduit 21" long, file the cut end, and set it aside.
Wash the straps with a degreasing dishwashing soap and let dry. With a lightly loaded paint roller, apply two light coats of paint to one side of each strap, allowing the paint to dry between coats. Repeat using a contrasting color on the other side of each strap.
To give freshly painted straps a place to dry, first drive 10 finishing nails into a piece of scrap wood with the nails spaced about 3" apart and driven halfway into the wood. Fasten the wood to a surface far enough off the ground for your longest strap to clear, and then hang painted straps on the nails to dry.
Place a washer and hex nut on the uncut end of the threaded rod about 14" from the tip. Push the 14" portion vertically into the ground without burying the nut. On each of the six pieces of strapping, pass the threaded rod through the hole closest to one end. Arrange the straps so they're evenly spaced. (Think of a clock with six long hands at 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 o'clock.) Then slip the conduit over the threaded rod and adjust the hex nut as needed to leave about 1-1/4" of threaded rod exposed on the top end above the conduit.
An extra set of hands (wearing work gloves) will come in handy for the next step.
Start with the top strap as it's stacked on the threaded rod. Gently bend the strap in an arc until the last hole on the end reaches the threaded rod where you can slip it over the top and against the end of the conduit. Have your helper hold that strap in place while you bend the next strap down in the stack. As you add the remaining four straps, you may need to clamp some of them together to hold the assembly in place.
After all six ends are in place, add a washer and tighten a hex cap nut on the end of the rod. Space the straps evenly and, if necessary, tighten the hex nut on the opposite end to snug the strapping up against the conduit.