Add drama to your landscape at Christmas and year-round with these graceful orb sculptures. They're easy to build and last for years.
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The following steps show how to make a large orb. For the other sizes, follow the same steps, but make the following changes to part sizes and quantities:
To make a small orb: Cut three 6-foot lengths of strapping into 3-foot pieces for six ribs instead of 10. Cut the conduit to 21 inches long. The rod should be 36 inches long.
To make a medium-size orb: Use eight 4-foot lengths of strapping for eight ribs instead of 10. Cut the conduit 28 inches long and cut the threaded rod 43-1/2 inches long.
Cut the conduit to 34 inches. Cut the threaded rod to 50 inches. File off any sharp or jagged edges on the pieces.
Drill a 3/8-inch hole in the plywood sheet. The plywood serves as a temporary base for the orb as you build it.
Screw a 3/8-inch hex nut onto the rod to about 16 inches from the uncut end of the threaded rod. Thread a 3/8-inch washer onto the short end of the rod, up to the hex nut.
Insert the short end of the rod into the plywood up to the washer and bolt. Add another washer and another hex nut to the rod on the underside of the plywood. Tighten the nut to hold the rod securely to the plywood base. Place the assembly on a stable work area. Keep in mind that several inches of the rod will extend below the plywood.
Pass an end hole on each strap over the threaded rod. Slip the conduit over the threaded rod and adjust the hex nut as needed to leave about 1-1/4-inch of the rod exposed above the conduit.
You may need to wash the straps with a degreasing dishwashing soap before assembly. Be sure to let dry them dry before painting.
Starting with the top strap as it's stacked on the rod, gently bend the strap in an arc until the last hole on the end reaches the threaded rod. Slip the hole over the top of the rod and against the end of the conduit. You may want a helper (wearing work gloves) to hold the strap in place while you bend and place the next strap in the stack. Repeat the procedure with all of the straps.
As you add the remaining straps, you may need to clamp some of them together to hold the assembly in place.
After all 10 straps are in place, add a washer and tighten a 3/8-inch 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 conduit against the strapping.
Paint the assembly with exterior green spray paint and allow to dry.
Run string lights along the conduit and each of the straps, securing them as you go with green cable / zip ties. Snip of the loose ends of the ties.
Remove the assembly from the plywood. Insert the open end of the threaded rod into the ground at the desired location. Plug the lights into an extension cord and connect to a power outlet.
For extra convenience, add a timer to turn the lights on and off automatically.
When the season is over, you can convert the decoration to year-round outdoor decor. Simply remove the string lights and repaint. For this example, we used two colors. You may want to remove the straps for painting. Apply two coats of paint one side of the straps, allowing the paint to dry after each coat. Repeat the process on the other side of each strap. Paint the conduit as desired. Once all the parts are dry, reassemble the decoration.
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 inches 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.