Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Turn the lights down low and illuminate the magic of winter with this gorgeous glowing snow tree. This is a project for the whole family. An adult needs to make the wire frame, but lots of little hands are necessary for forming the snowballs. Plastic film gels, used to filter light, are available at camera and art supply stores.
You will need:
• outdoor extension cord
• 4 thin wooden poles or stakes, each approximately 6 feet long
• 30 pieces of 22- to 24-gauge wire, each about 6 inches long
• wire cutters or tinsnips
• roll of galvanized 1/4-inch mesh hardware cloth, 20 feet long by 30 inches wide
• outdoor-rated utility lamp with 100-watt bulb
• 1 green plastic film gel
Select a snowy spot for your tree within reach of your extension cord. Position the 4 poles in a circle, 21/2 feet apart, burying the ends about I foot deep into the snow. Use wire to bind the tops of the poles into a teepee at the top.
Using wire cutters, cut the piece of hardware cloth in half lengthwise, creating two 10-foot lengths. Attach one corner of one length to the top of the teepee with an anchor wire. Allow the cloth to spiral down around the poles from the top, forming half the cone. Attach the cloth to the poles every 12 inches with pieces of wire, and also attach it to itself where it crosses.
At the base, fold any extra cloth flat to the ground and cover with snow. Repeat with the remaining half of the cloth, spiraling and securing it in the same way, to complete the cone. In the back of the structure, at ground level, use wire cutters to cut a hole large enough to slip in the light later. Smooth and tightly pack at least I foot of snow around the base to secure the cone and create a foundation for the snowballs.
Ring the base of the tree with hard-packed 12-inch snowballs, leaving the light hole exposed. Stack slightly smaller snowballs on top of the first ring, leaning them slightly into the mesh. Stack and build snowballs tightly to the top, gradually decreasing their size.
Cover the light with the green film gel, place the light inside the base of the cone, and plug it in. Flick the switch on a few minutes after dusk, and enjoy the green glow.
Excerpted from Christmas Trees: Fun and Festive Ideas by Peter Cole, Frankie Frankeny and Leslie Jonath (Chronicle Books, 2002).
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