How to Make a lit bottle tree
Create a quirky accent for your yard or garden by making a lit bottle tree. An old southern tradition holds that blue bottles hanging on trees in the front yard ward off evil spirits. Hang any color of bottle that appeals to you on a bottle tree made from copper. Light the tree and enjoy your colorful copper creation at night. If the evil spirits stay away, maybe the tree is doing its job.
Cut a length of copper pipe equal to the desired height of the bottle tree. This pipe is the trunk of the tree. Beginning 18 inches from one end, drill 1/8-inch diameter holes straight through the pipe every 8 inches along the length of the pipe.
Cut two, 24-inch-long sections of copper tubing for the first hole. Cut a pair of 22-inch long sections of copper tubing for the next hole. Continue to cut two lengths of copper tubing for each hole on the pipe; reduce the lengths of each successive pair by 2 inches. Copper tubing makes flexible branches for the bottle tree.
Drill 1/8-inch diameter holes 1/2 inch from one end of each length of copper tubing. Bend the drilled end of each copper tube at a 45-degree angle so the drilled holes will fit against the copper pipe. When the bent end of the copper tube is pointing down and pressed against the side of the copper pipe, the holes in the tubes and the pipe will all line up. The straight end of the tube will angle upward to form the branch.
Cut a 12-inch long strip of 22-gauge copper wire for each copper tubing pair. Insert a 3-foot-long rebar pole 18 inches into the ground at the desired location of the bottle tree. Fit the end of the copper pipe without holes over the rebar pole.
Insert one strip of wire through the pipe's bottom hole so half of the wire is sticking out of both sides of the pipe. Fit the hole drilled through one of the 24-inch-long copper tubes over the wire exiting the right side of the pipe. Slide the tube until the bent section rests against the pipe. The bent section should be facing down. Fit and slide the other 24-inch-long tube over the wire exiting the left side of the pipe. Wrap the excess wire around the copper tubing and the copper pipe, to fasten the tubes in place.
Follow the process to attach the remaining sets of copper tubes to the copper pipe. Each successive set of branches should be 2 inches shorter than the last. Wrap a strand of outdoor rated twinkle lights around the trunk and each limb of the tree. Secure the wire to the tree with copper colored duct tape as needed.
Invert bottles and fit them over the ends of each lit copper tube on the bottle tree.
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Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home-improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost-effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.
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