Jump to content
Light-O-Rama Forums
Sign in to follow this  
Guest guest

Tomato Cages

Recommended Posts

Guest guest

Was in one of my local Lowes stores yesterday, stacks and stacks of tomato cages, two sizes....I used the Lowes cages last year for mini trees, both sizes worked well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DonFL wrote:

Was in one of my local Lowes stores yesterday, stacks and stacks of tomato cages, two sizes....I used the Lowes cages last year for mini trees, both sizes worked well.

What ever happened to my posts on this thread? I could not even log on yesterday, Fatal Error..........then something about Line 400. Even Don's (From Medicine Hat Alberta) Post was deleted. He asked about a "how to" and so what is written below is for him and anyone else.

Anyhow yes tomato cages work very well for mini trees. I have been using tomato cages since my 2007 set up. I use those smaller ones (32 inch I believe) and they fit my display very well.

I use two tomato cages per mini tree so that I have a more rounder tree. So when you inert 1 cage into the other cage just make sure there are six visible steel wires to give you that rounder look when adding lights.

I then tape or zip tie the cages so that they stay together. If there is some gap between the rings that is good because those gaps help hold the lights in place.

Since I live in a snowy area I leave about the 1st 6 inches of the cages free of lights. So you have the big ring on the bottom and so you leave the 1st 6 inches free of lights and then fasten the male plug on 1 of those 6 steel bars. I use electrical tape to fasten the male plugs, or zip ties.

Before I forget........those 6 steel loose bars make up the point and so I bend them over to make an eye and insert about 3 or 4 zip ties to keep those loose steel bars together for that point.

Usually 3 strings of 70 count LEDs cover the 32 inch cages O K......but 4 might be better. So maybe a 36 inch tree might take 4 or 5 strings.

So I start about 6 inches from the bottom ring and I start to wrap the lights and I tape or zip tie that 1st wrap to those 6 bars and then I do not use another zip tie until I get to the point of the tree.

Remember those gaps between those rings (if there is any)? Well while you are wrapping and you get near or on that ring insert a few lights into those gaps (those few lights will be facing inside the cages now) and that will help hold that light string in place without it slipping down, however if you are using only one colour of lights then you can add a few extra zips along the way. I have 2 colours of lights on one tree and so they stay put.

If you are using two or three colours of lights you could make a super string 1st and then wrap that string around the cages. I wrap 1 colour at a time.

As a side note some folks wrap "wire mesh" around the two tomato cages to get even a more rounder look. Then they zip tie the lights strings unto the wire mesh.

I bought 1 of those orange safety cones to try as a tree but you need to fill it full of news paper or maybe even spray foam to give it some firmness. I used paper. O k it is now orange. I have not tried it yet but I will wrap the cone in green or black cloth or duct tape to see how that will work. I might sand the cone 1st to get it rough so the the tape might stick better.

That is how I do it Don from Alberta

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Don Gillespie

lightzilla wrote:

What ever happened to my posts on this thread? I could not even log on yesterday, Fatal Error..........then something about Line 400. Even Don's (From Medicine Hat Alberta) Post was deleted. He asked about a "how to" and so what is written below is for him and anyone else.

Anyhow yes tomato cages work very well for mini trees. I have been using tomato cages since my 2007 set up. I use those smaller ones (32 inch I believe) and they fit my display very well.

I use two tomato cages per mini tree so that I have a more rounder tree. So when you inert 1 cage into the other cage just make sure there are six visible steel wires to give you that rounder look when adding lights.

I then tape or zip tie the cages so that they stay together. If there is some gap between the rings that is good because those gaps help hold the lights in place.

Since I live in a snowy area I leave about the 1st 6 inches of the cages free of lights. So you have the big ring on the bottom and so you leave the 1st 6 inches free of lights and then fasten the male plug on 1 of those 6 steel bars. I use electrical tape to fasten the male plugs, or zip ties.

Before I forget........those 6 steel loose bars make up the point and so I bend them over to make an eye and insert about 3 or 4 zip ties to keep those loose steel bars together for that point.

Usually 3 strings of 70 count LEDs cover the 32 inch cages O K......but 4 might be better. So maybe a 36 inch tree might take 4 or 5 strings.

So I start about 6 inches from the bottom ring and I start to wrap the lights and I tape or zip tie that 1st wrap to those 6 bars and then I do not use another zip tie until I get to the point of the tree.

Remember those gaps between those rings (if there is any)? Well while you are wrapping and you get near or on that ring insert a few lights into those gaps (those few lights will be facing inside the cages now) and that will help hold that light string in place without it slipping down, however if you are using only one colour of lights then you can add a few extra zips along the way. I have 2 colours of lights on one tree and so they stay put.

If you are using two or three colours of lights you could make a super string 1st and then wrap that string around the cages. I wrap 1 colour at a time.

As a side note some folks wrap "wire mesh" around the two tomato cages to get even a more rounder look. Then they zip tie the lights strings unto the wire mesh.

I bought 1 of those orange safety cones to try as a tree but you need to fill it full of news paper or maybe even spray foam to give it some firmness. I used paper. O k it is now orange. I have not tried it yet but I will wrap the cone in green or black cloth or duct tape to see how that will work. I might sand the cone 1st to get it rough so the the tape might stick better.

That is how I do it Don from Alberta








Scott do you have any photos you could post for me to see

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

You're right....several useful posts got deleted by the crash...:(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

O.K. My post went bye bye too. I use double cages, 400 lights per tree. I start at the top and work my way down, using a "lazy susan" to put the trees on for wrapping. Only zip tie the start and end so 2 ties.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

Reposting..after the crash of 2011..:(

I went the (plastic) chicken wire route, and one cage last year, but thinking I'll try the double-cage method again this year..I didn't care much for the look when i tried it last spring, not round enough, but have a few ideas on how to fix that this year.

Wrapping the wire is a pain in the a**, so all for saving some time if two staggered/stacked cages will do it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DonFL wrote:

Reposting..after the crash of 2011..:(

I went the (plastic) chicken wire route, and one cage last year, but thinking I'll try the double-cage method again this year..I didn't care much for the look when i tried it last spring, not round enough, but have a few ideas on how to fix that this year.

Wrapping the wire is a pain in the a**, so all for saving some time if two staggered/stacked cages will do it.

You could use the double cage and wire mesh combined method.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don Gillespie wrote:



Scott do you have any photos you could post for me to see

No I do not have any pictures with the double cage idea.

In 2007 I used 1 cage but it looked 3 sided.

So in 2008 I still used one cage but I had an idea.

Below is a link to the 2008 trees. You can get a rough idea of what to do. I think that after I did this picture report I switch to two cages though.

http://www.christmaslights.ca/sforum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=18740

However I am sure someone will post pictures soon enough on "how to make mini trees".

2009 & 2010 seasons were double cages. It works great.

Maybe 3 cages might even be better but it would be heavier and a bit more costly.

Here in these pictures I started at the top but now I start at the bottom of the tree like I stated in the 1st post I posted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

lightzilla wrote:

DonFL wrote:
Reposting..after the crash of 2011..:(

I went the (plastic) chicken wire route, and one cage last year, but thinking I'll try the double-cage method again this year..I didn't care much for the look when i tried it last spring, not round enough, but have a few ideas on how to fix that this year.

Wrapping the wire is a pain in the a**, so all for saving some time if two staggered/stacked cages will do it.

You could use the double cage and wire mesh combined method.


I'm trying to get away from the mesh..,maybe I haven't discovered the magic secret of wrapping the cage in the mesh, but it is a major pain to do it on even a single cage...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I made my Mini Trees so they are "collapsible".

They fold down to 20" in diameter and only about 9" tall.

They also serve as "bases" for my Mega and Mini Arches to hook into.

It is basically a ring at the bottom and a collar at the the top with 8 braided strings hooking the two together...then I zip tied the light strings to the braided strings...

Here is a picture of them collapsed...


Attached files 240847=13089-mini trees collasped.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And here they are set up...don't have the arches set up yet..but you can see the small pieces of rebar (at the base of the mini tree and on the pole) where they arches would go.

The tree also still needs to be turned 90 degrees so the rebar is pointing the same direction as the railing (parallel to it).


Attached files 240850=13090-mini trees 3.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used 4 different size tomato cages, then I welded in extra vertical rods give each tree a very round look. For storage I cover each tree with a heavy paper and then stack, keep the lights from getting stuck together. All together I have over 20 tomato trees

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Don Gillespie

Well this certainly gives me some ideas, I am not using the cages this year will incorperate them into next years show, this years show is already written in stone and because I have been sequencing heavy for three months (in order to play golf for the summer) I don't make any changes that would cause me more sequencing that isn't needed. :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

jimswinder wrote:

And here they are set up...don't have the arches set up yet..but you can see the small pieces of rebar (at the base of the mini tree and on the pole) where they arches would go.

The tree also still needs to be turned 90 degrees so the rebar is pointing the same direction as the railing (parallel to it).
Are those high tension power lines overhead in the picture?
Have you found a way to tie into them???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BrownOut wrote:

Are those high tension power lines overhead in the picture?
Have you found a way to tie into them???

I don't think they are High Power..but they are power lines...

Feel free to come over and tap into them gfor me!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Don Gillespie

jimswinder wrote:

Feel free to come over and tap into them gfor me!!!!

Whats a gfor? ;):P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don Gillespie wrote:

jimswinder wrote:
Feel free to come over and tap into them gfor me!!!!

Whats a gfor? ;):P

a "g" is FOR lot's of things!! :?

Glucose-fructose oxidoreductase

gfor programming

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Denise Brunner wrote:

I used 4 different size tomato cages, then I welded in extra vertical rods give each tree a very round look. For storage I cover each tree with a heavy paper and then stack, keep the lights from getting stuck together. All together I have over 20 tomato trees

Just when you think you've thought of everything, a simple idea comes along and you go, Wow why didn't I think of that. I have 24 mini trees and have struggled for three years about how to store them. They take up a lot of floor space in my storage unit. I tried stacking them with miserable results. I have several rolls of red builders felt that will work. Thanks for a good idea.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

lightzilla wrote:

DonFL wrote:
Was in one of my local Lowes stores yesterday, stacks and stacks of tomato cages, two sizes....I used the Lowes cages last year for mini trees, both sizes worked well.

What ever happened to my posts on this thread? I could not even log on yesterday, Fatal Error..........then something about Line 400. Even Don's (From Medicine Hat Alberta) Post was deleted. He asked about a "how to" and so what is written below is for him and anyone else.

Anyhow yes tomato cages work very well for mini trees. I have been using tomato cages since my 2007 set up. I use those smaller ones (32 inch I believe) and they fit my display very well.

I use two tomato cages per mini tree so that I have a more rounder tree. So when you inert 1 cage into the other cage just make sure there are six visible steel wires to give you that rounder look when adding lights.

I then tape or zip tie the cages so that they stay together. If there is some gap between the rings that is good because those gaps help hold the lights in place.

Since I live in a snowy area I leave about the 1st 6 inches of the cages free of lights. So you have the big ring on the bottom and so you leave the 1st 6 inches free of lights and then fasten the male plug on 1 of those 6 steel bars. I use electrical tape to fasten the male plugs, or zip ties.

Before I forget........those 6 steel loose bars make up the point and so I bend them over to make an eye and insert about 3 or 4 zip ties to keep those loose steel bars together for that point.

Usually 3 strings of 70 count LEDs cover the 32 inch cages O K......but 4 might be better. So maybe a 36 inch tree might take 4 or 5 strings.

So I start about 6 inches from the bottom ring and I start to wrap the lights and I tape or zip tie that 1st wrap to those 6 bars and then I do not use another zip tie until I get to the point of the tree.

Remember those gaps between those rings (if there is any)? Well while you are wrapping and you get near or on that ring insert a few lights into those gaps (those few lights will be facing inside the cages now) and that will help hold that light string in place without it slipping down, however if you are using only one colour of lights then you can add a few extra zips along the way. I have 2 colours of lights on one tree and so they stay put.

If you are using two or three colours of lights you could make a super string 1st and then wrap that string around the cages. I wrap 1 colour at a time.

As a side note some folks wrap "wire mesh" around the two tomato cages to get even a more rounder look. Then they zip tie the lights strings unto the wire mesh.

I bought 1 of those orange safety cones to try as a tree but you need to fill it full of news paper or maybe even spray foam to give it some firmness. I used paper. O k it is now orange. I have not tried it yet but I will wrap the cone in green or black cloth or duct tape to see how that will work. I might sand the cone 1st to get it rough so the the tape might stick better.

That is how I do it Don from Alberta







I owe you big for this tip, bought tomato cages at Lowe's here and though they looked alright I just wasn't a big fan of the "triangle". Tried your method of two together plus I gut off the bottom part which leaves me with a nice round beautiful shape to I can adorn with lights!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used 32" (I think they are) cages, wrapped with the black plastic chicken wire from HD, then RGBW 100ct strings, topped with garland (for daytime appeal).. looks good, but I need to add 8 more and may try using plain thin chicken wire (less cost). Doubling cages may be an option just to round it out more, but the chicken wire's for that.

As to storing them, I am able to slide the 8 I already have, standing up under a work bench in the garage, out of the way. I tried initailly stacking them, but it busted a couple bulbs, so that nixed that.. no room to hang them either.

Attached files 242562=13203-MiniTreeAssemblyLine.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

I remain envious of how cleanly you wrap the plastic chicken wire...I said a lot of inappropriate (but well deserved..:)) things to that chicken wire while making trees last year...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DonFL wrote:

I remain envious of how cleanly you wrap the plastic chicken wire...I said a lot of inappropriate (but well deserved..:)) things to that chicken wire while making trees last year...

Everyone has their way of doing things. Double cages will do you just fine. It will give you a round look compared to the 3 ribbed cages......now you have 6 ribs. If you are using 300 lights per tree or so then hardly a zip tie would be used providing the first string is secured well.

Of course wrapped in green garland would be an added bonus.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It actually went on pretty easy.. I rolled each cage, trimmed the plastic into a cone, and zip tied iron just a couple places on each rib.. hardest thing was cutting the wedges in the top so it would roll closed at the top.. trying the wire version this summer I hope it goes as easy.. one thing im sure of, when the wire gets bent into place it'll stay formed better than the plastic wire..

teege

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

you had better luck than I did cutting to fit. I'm trying the double-cage method this year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I initially thought of tomato cages when doing my trees last year but had a box of pvc fittings and pipe left over from a job. Turned out real nice. They are about 3' tall with garland for daytime and 100ct white lights. I am making two 4' and two 5' trees for this year. Painted the frame black for the final assembly.

Attached files 242638=13210-trees.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...