Wednesday, November 30, 2011

2D Tree acrylic Christmas tree | 2009

As a condo dweller, I don’t really have the space to put up a big Christmas tree or to store it when the holiday season is over.  So I decided to put the joy I find in plastics, especially acrylics, into making a tree.  If you can’t find what you want, you’ve got to make it yourself.

I set out to put together a modern, minimal “tree” that would solidly stand upright and flat against a wall. It could then be easily stowed at the back of my closet for the 11 months of the year it needs to be out of sight.

Christmas tree sketch

Christmas tree sketch

I started by planning out the tree on paper with a couple of sketches.

Christmas tree scale drawing

Then I integrated my sketches into a more detailed, scaled drawing.  I standardized the dimensions of many of the limbs for ease of construction.  I chose acrylic bar stock in a commodity size: 6 foot long sections, 1 inch wide, and 1/4 inch thick.    This kept the cost down.  Acrylic bar is also easy to score and snap so cutting to size was easy.  The one tree I made took 7 of these bars, 42 linear feet of acrylic.

Christmas tree scale model

I had previously tweaked the design to minimize waste.  A few small pieces were all that remained and received plenty of attention once I started to practice drilling holes.  Next, I made an adjustable scale model out of cut paper. 

Acrylic Christmas tree assembly

With the paper model beside me, I cut the bar stock to size and assembled the tree, marking the drill sites with a Sharpie.  To keep the tree transparent, I chose polycarbonate screws.  I drilled the holes, installed the 24 screws, and after a couple of afternoons had the tree ready.  Once set up, shadows and reflections play across the wall, giving the tree the impression of some depth.  The tree could absolutely be wrapped in light or draped in garland, but I also like it the way it is.

Acrylic Christmas tree, finished

Acrylic Christmas tree, finished   Acrylic Christmas tree, finished

My finished acrylic tree!

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