As children, many of us lay beneath the Christmas tree looking up in amazement at the lights, sparkle and ornaments that hold so much promise of the great things to come. But as adulthood sets in the tree often becomes a chore, a challenge of the holidays, one more item on the to do list. Several years ago I decided to put a new “spin” on the Christmas tree by not only making it hollow and transparent but having it hang from the ceiling rather than supported by the floor. This idea came from working with polyester/fiberglass ribbons (PET strapping). This amazing material not only has amazing tensile strength and can be heat fused, but its has a beautiful green transparency. The tree I built was entirely suspended and relied on the natural compressive properties of the material to form a hollow cone. I had adults playing in this tree all New Year’s Eve!
After seeing the NESTREST and contemplating the imminent arrival of my three year old nephew, Sam, I decided I could create something for the enjoyment of old and young alike. Unlike the previous tree, the new one was actually going to support weight (at least 2 people) and allow for lounging, watching movies, looking up at the lights, etc.
Using the diagram below I was able to get a 4′-9″ circle and armrest ring out of one old piece of plywood. For both aesthetics and the comfort of the occupant, I wanted an arm rest ring – this makes the top ring of the “basket”. But because this ring has to have an opening, structurally, it acts like a horizontal arch. Two different sets of all-thread bolt both hold the ring in place and keep it from pinching back together at the opening. The six PET straps which support the basket hold 1500lbs a piece – I could literally pull down my roof with these six straps. These are the only green bands of structural significance, the 12 additional spiral bands are hot glued the the six primary bands. Lights, sparkly garland, and PLASTIC ornaments are wired into place.
All in all, this project cost me about $50 for the plywood and all-thread bolts. The PET strapping was scavenged from a previous sculpture – but could also be picked up at many lumber yards.
Note: I’m particularly proud of the gold painted macaroni ornament hanging directly over the entry – provided by Sam!