Holiday Home Improvement
By: Danny Lipford
Elizabeth Lemieux moved into her home two years ago with her two youngest children, Lauren and Jarrett. Things have been hectic since they moved in, and they haven’t been able to decorate for the holidays like they’ve wanted.
Jarrett, especially, loves decorating the house for the Christmas season, so Liz enlisted our help to surprise him with our plans. Then we got to work helping the family decorate with some unique projects, including foldable holiday shelves and DIY topiary trees, while offering a few handy tips for decorating and storage.
Holiday Display Shelf Unit
One of the Lemieux family’s favorite decorations is a miniature Christmas village they’ve been collecting for years. Allen designed a folding shelf unit with a mountain theme to display the Christmas village, but the basic design can be used for a variety of purposes.
The vertical side supports were made from two sheets of 3/4-inch cabinet-grade plywood. In this case we wanted them to resemble a mountain, so we drew and then cut a gradual taper on each piece to make it narrower as it went up. The two vertical pieces were joined with a piano hinge.
We cut 3/4-inch notches in the vertical pieces to support the horizontal shelves. The shelves should fit snugly, and the pieces should become shorter and more narrow as they go up. This continues the mountain theme but also prevents the unit from being top heavy.
Once all the pieces were cut, sanded and tested for fit, Lauren painted the shelves like a snowy mountain. The result was an attractive display unit that doesn’t take up a lot of space and can be folded flat for storage at the end of the season.
Watch How to Build a Holiday Display Shelf Unit for project details.
DIY Topiary Trees
Store-bought topiaries and trees can be pricey, so Chelsea and Liz created DIY versions.
They started with tomato cages that – with a lot of muscle – they cut to size to fit in planters. They connected the wires at the top with a rubber band to make a tree shape.
They wrapped the cages with garland from the bottom to the top, then with lights from top to bottom.
Finally, they decorated the trees with red and gold bows to add an elegant touch to the front porch decor.
Check out Chelsea’s blog post DIY Christmas Topiary for details on the project.
Decorating and Storage Tips
- If your family celebrates with a real tree, cut at least a 1/2 inch off the trunk to help it absorb water. Then cut a 2-foot diameter circle from a piece of plywood so you can attach your tree stand and staple plastic sheeting to it. It forms a stable base for the tree while the plastic protects the carpet from water spills and allows the tree to pivot easily for decorating.
- To simplify watering, tape a funnel to a length of plastic pipe and rest the pipe in the water reservoir. You can hide the funnel in the branches and secure it with a cable tie.
- Diagnose and repair most incandescent holiday lights with the LightKeeper Pro.
- Hang outdoor lights with clips for easy mounting and removal.
- Connect outside lights and decorations to a Wifi-enabled power supply, so they can be controlled by a smartphone or tablet.
- Use weather-tight housing to seal the cord connections.
- To hang a wreath without damaging a door, push a thumb tack into the top edge and suspend the wreath with fishing line.
- Use plant ties or zip ties for attaching garland or lights to hand rails without using any nails or screws.
- Notch a piece of cardboard on each end to make cord caddy to wrap lights around. Label the cardboard with the location where the lights will be used.
- Add decking to the attic with plywood to increase storage space.
Watch Holiday Decorating and Storage Tips for more info.
Other Tips from This Episode
Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
How to Make a Wood Pallet Christmas Tree
Pallet projects are always popular. Here’s how to make a decorative Christmas tree from an old wooden pallet.
Watch the video.
Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Bosch Laser Measure
The Bosch laser measure with bluetooth is easy to read and accurate to 1/16 of an inch, with a 165-foot range. It is available at The Home Depot. Watch the video.
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