I visited a big box store nearby over the weekend and saw a wire tree that was decorated with lights on it. I thought that would be perfect for our yard for the holidays. When I got closer, I saw the price — 29.95! Examining it closer, I realized that the wire ‘tree’ looked almost identical to the tomato cages that I use in the summer to keep my tomato plants from toppling over. I also remembered I have a big box of Christmas lights that we don’t use any more.
So, I decided right then and there that I might be able to make something similar out of materials I had on hand. My final cost to build it myself: Zero! And it’s a very quick and easy project to make with no special tools or expertise required.
Here’s what I did: I retrieved a heavy-duty tomato cage from my back yard (I have three of them and use them in the summer). Then I flipped it upside down so the widest part is on the ground, which acts as the base. I pulled the tips of the four metal legs together and used a Zip-tie to hold them together.
Next, I dug out my spare Christmas lights I had stored away that we don’t use any more. To my delight, I discovered that I had a couple of strings of old-fashioned lights with big bulbs. There also were and a couple of strings of green mini-lights in the box. (If you don’t have the old-fashioned big Christmas lights, you can just stick with all mini-bulb strings. They’ll work just fine).
Starting from the top, I wrapped the female plug and cord around the tip where the four legs intersect. Then I used the hooks on the back of the big lights to secure it to the tomato cage wires. Once I had them secured and spaced out evenly, I plugged the green mini-lights into the big lights’ electrical socket at the top of the tree and wound my way down to the bottom. I just wove them through the wire to hold them in place.
Digging deeper into my old storage box of Christmas misc, I found a tree-topper star. Stuck it on top and plugged it in. Viola! Project completed!
The whole thing from start to finish took me about an hour (I had to replace a few burned out bulbs). Now those tomato cages have been re-purposed for winter, and I can use them through the holidays.
If you would like to try this project but don’t have any tomato cages lying around, you can probably pick one up for under $10 at your local garden center or at Lowe’s or Home Depot. As for the Christmas lights, if you can’t find any of those, you haven’t been getting out much lately have you?
Most grocery stores, department stores, home improvement stores will have them in plentiful supply in a variety of lengths, colors, and sizes.
List of materials you will need for this DIY project:
- 1 heavy-duty, wire tomato cage.
- 4 25-foot strings of Christmas lights (or two 50-foot strings or whatever combination you want)
- 12 or so 4-6-inch Zip Ties to secure the four feet of the tomato cage together and the secure the lights into place once they are mounted and adjusted the way you want them.