Build a supersize star that will become the highlight of your indoor or outdoor Christmas decorating. Our step-by-step instructions make it simple.
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From the 4 x 8 sheet of plywood, cut a 48-inch square. If you don’t have a saw to do this, ask a Lowe’s associate to cut the full sheet in half.
From the 1 x 4 pine boards, cut three pieces 22 inches long. Draw a diagonal line between opposite corners, and use a jigsaw to cut the boards into two triangles. (You’ll end up with one extra.) Sand the cut edges smooth and straight.
Download the shim star backer layout guide. Follow the illustrations to draw a centered 48-inch-diameter circle in the square, mark the five points of the star 23-7/8 inches apart, and draw lines between the points. Then cut out the shape of the star.
If you don’t have a compass that can draw a 48-inch-diameter circle, make one using a nail, yardstick, and pencil. Use tape to secure the nail at the 1-inch mark on the yardstick. (Glue it in place if you don’t need the yardstick for other uses.) Then tape a pencil at the 25-inch mark and confirm the 24-inch separation with a tape measure.
Draw a 24-inch-long line from each tip to near the center of the star. Then mark the lines at 2 inches, 8 inches, 15 inches, and 22 inches from the tips. At the 8-inch, 15-inch, and 22-inch marks on each of the five lines, drill a 1/8-inch pilot hole.
Apply a bead of glue to one of the lines and tape a support triangle in place with the factory edge against the plywood and the narrow tip on the 2-inch mark. After the glue dries, drill through the pilot hole and into the support. Then reinforce the joint with 1-1/4-inch wood screws. Repeat for the remaining supports.
After the supports are in place, either prime and paint the reinforced plywood star or apply three coats of clear satin spar varnish. Do the same for each of the shims, coating both sides. For a star with a metallic look, spray-paint the shims silver, gold, copper, or a combination of finishes and let dry.
Before adding adhesive to the first shim, hold it where you want on the star and visualize where the adhesive needs to go. Apply glue only where the shim touches the plywood or triangular supports and press it in place.
Dab construction adhesive on the backs of shims and use them to link the supports to the plywood star edges and the center. Space them in randomly oriented V-shapes, but without any gaps wider than the length of a shim. Press and hold each shim against the star and braces for good wood-to-wood contact. It’s okay if the end of the shim overlaps the edges of the plywood, but minimize any overhang on the triangular supports. Let the adhesive cure for an hour before attaching the next layer of shims.
For this application, construction adhesive beats wood glue for three reasons. Wood glue loses holding power when used on wood covered with paint or varnish, such as the plywood backing. Construction adhesive goes on tackier so you don’t need to hold each shim in position for nearly as long. And adhesive fills gaps between the wood pieces better than wood glue, which needs solid wood-to-wood contact.
Add shims to fill in the gaps from the first layer. If you need a third layer, allow the adhesive on the second layer to dry before attaching more shims.
If you plan to hang the star, decide which tip will be at the top. On the two tips flanking the top one, drill centered pilot holes about 12 inches from the tips. Drive two 1-3/8-inch screw eyes to use as hangers. Because of the size and weight of the star, make certain any hooks or nails used to hang it are well anchored on a wall.