I got bit by the Halloween bug big time this year! I strung up orange lights, put out spooky decorations, and then felt the front entrance needed to make a more festive statement. This sudden urge to decorate led me down a creative path to make my own Halloween bat trees!
I loved the idea of flanking both sides of my door with Halloween trees creating a dark forest ambiance to the entrance of our house. They were expensive to buy, so instead I got motivated to make the trees myself.
This project may at first appear to be intimating. If you are afraid of creating an asymmetrical crooked, scrawny tree well then you are in luck because that is exactly the look I was going for!
Here is a list of materials you will need:
– Black Garland (optional)
It’s hard to believe that the materials above will look like a dark spooky Halloween trees when I am done. It’s so exciting to transform something out of nothing!
Step 1: Begin by cutting three long strands of 16 gauge wire. To make a tree 5′-6′ tall you will need to cut these strands roughly 4′ long. I then used the 19 gauge wire to connect those three strands of wire together by wrapping the 19 gauge completely around each 16 gauge several times creating a strong spiral pattern. This step is messy, so don’t worry about how it looks. The wire can be sloppy because most of it will get covered up in the end. What’s important is to keep it narrow. The base opening should be no bigger then 3″ in diameter (but large enough for the wooden stake), and must gradually get skinner towards the top. Funny bends and bulges are a good thing!
Step 2: Time to add the branches. The branches I got have wire in them so they can be manipulated at the end to create the look you are after. Use 2″-3″ of the 19 gauge wire to secure the branches to the trunk of the tree. Take the time to make sure the wire is wrapped a good 3″- 4″ around the beginning of each branch.
I also trimmed a little off the top branches to make them smaller for the top of the tree.
TIP: Once the branches are all on you can go back through your tree, and add wire to parts that may seem unstable or weak.
Okay, it’s starting to look like a tree!
After holding it up I realize the trunk is not strong enough to support the weight of the branches. This was a problem!
I needed to run two stronger gauge wire down the middle of the trunk for support. I decided on the 9 gauge wire below and it worked perfect!
Step 3: Cut the 9 gauge wire at about 10′-11′ and fold in half. Then, slide it through the trunk of the tree. Once the 9 gauge wire is in place, anchor it to the trunk using the 19 gauge wire. There should be extra 9 gauge wire sticking out the base of the tree which can be used of balance when displaying the tree.
Step 4: Cut a wooden stake to size. One of my trees was a bit shorter then I wanted so I used the stake to add some more height. My girls wanted to help so I had them paint the stakes black, but this step is optional. You will want the stake to be at least 18″ long, maybe longer depending on your needs.
Then take the stake and push it 6″-10″ up the base of the tree. The opening to the base of my tree was so narrow that I had to jam it into the trunk, and also had to added more wire to the base.
Wow what a difference that 9 gauge wire made! The stake also added more height. I’m very please with the way the tree is coming along. Now it’s time to cover the wire with black tape.
Step 5: Cut 3″-5″ strips of black Gorilla tape to wrap tightly around the trunk of the tree, and where the branches connect to the trunk. This will also add stability to the tree.
TIP: Black Gorilla tape worked awesome! It’s waterproof, super strong, and durable. One roll should be plenty. I made two trees out of one roll and had tape to spare. I recommend cutting the tape strips into various lengths and thickness. Making the strip narrow made it easier to achieve the desired look I was going for.
Step 6: It’s time to add Lights! Start at the top and wind the lights down the trunk of the tree. Occasionally, wind the lights around the branches and tape in place. It’s important to keep the lights tight to the tree to give it a thorny, prickly appeal!
It’s also important to purchase lights with black wiring.
TIP: Double check to make sure you are starting with the appropriate end of the lights when hanging! I accidentally started with the wrong end, and the plug was at the top of the tree. Grrrr!
Once my girls were done helping me add the lights, I went through the trees and added more tape to secure it all together, and to keep the wire from flapping about. Remember, this is a Halloween tree, and we want it to look black, creepy, and scraggly as if it’s practically dead.
Woo Hoo! My porch appeal just got a bit creepier! The base of these trees stuck into the dirt in my planters perfectly. These trees can also be placed directly into the ground. I did find it easier to put the trees in their final location before adding the lights.
My girls also love the trees! It didn’t take them long to dress up and play with them. The trees look like they could be finished at this stage, but there is one more thing I wanted to add…the bats!
This was a very easy step. I also planned on wrapping black garland around the base of the tree, but decided the trees didn’t need it, and skipped this step. Feel free to add black garland to your tree for an added texture.
Step 7: Use the black Gorilla tape to add the bats. The easiest way to do this is to cut the tape strips down to 1/4″ x 3″ strips. I also discovered the bats look best hung at the ends of the branches. If you use different bats the 19 gauge wire may possibly work better.
TADA! I now have Halloween Bat Trees! (I’m soooo excited right now!)
I have found these trees to be very strong and durable. We live in an open field, and it gets incredibly windy at times. I’m thrilled to report that my trees stand tall and strong, and have not bent or fallen. I plan to uses these trees for many more Halloweens to come!
Happy Halloween Everyone!