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Coat Rack Forest

Deb Meyer from Heartland Community Church in Sun Prairie, WI brings us these tall trees that look like coat racks.

They created these with two phases in mind. The first four weeks they left them simply white and lit them from below with LED par cans. Then for their Christmas Eve services they covered them with thousands of tiny white lights.

From the designer:

We wanted an abstract tree shape, which would be in stark contrast to our black backdrop and change by reflecting the various colors from our LED lighting.

By having three different tree heights we created the illusion of depth in our “ forest” of trees.

Each tree is composed of three components: a main structural trunk, tapered branches, and a tapered face trunk, which was applied to the front of the tree.

We chose 8’, 10’, and 12’ lengths for our trees.  The main structural trunk was made by ripping a 2” x 6” in a long taper starting with a 4 1/2” base to a 3/4 “ top. This yielded 2 trees per 2” x 6”. These were screwed to a 3/4” plywood base, which was eventually screwed down to the stage floor.

Branches were constructed of 1/4” plywood cut in tapers to the desired sizes scaled to each tree size.  We simply cut several sizes using a taper jig on a table saw.

To the front of each tree we applied a long tapered face trunk made from 1/4” plywood.

Finishing: The structural trunk was painted flat black along with the backside of each branch and face trunk. The face side of the branches and the face trunk were painted flat white.  By painting both sides of the branches and face truck, we reduced unwanted reflection from the back and prevented the thin plywood from warping.

Assembly: We attached a 3/4” plywood base to each structural trunk.  We oriented the structural trunk with the tapered cut to the rear. Branches were stapled to the structural trunk in the desired pattern. Between the branches we stapled 1 1/2” filler strips to the structural trunk to create a flat surface for the face trunk. The tapered face trunk was stapled to the front of each tree. By changing the height of the face trunk on the different trees we created the illusion some trees were further away.

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