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  • That big, jolly man in the red suit with a white beard didn’t always look that way. Prior to 1931, Santa was depicted as everything from a tall gaunt man to a spooky-looking elf. He has donned a bishop's robe and a Norse huntsman's animal skin. When Civil War cartoonist Thomas Nast drew Santa Claus for Harper's Weekly in 1862, Santa was a small elflike figure who supported the Union. Nast continued to draw Santa for 30 years, changing the color of his coat from tan to the red he’s known for today.
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Santa's Castle + Security

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Very well done. Looking really good ..... I am looking at this thinking it would work great in my yard :)

Yeah, I just sent my husband to look at this thread. I'm all about giving him ideas that we can both work on.;)

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This thread is moving slower than I expected.

Two things are slowing the thread.

I hope you appreaciate that most of this project is Research and Design.

And it comes from a thought in my head.

Which means I have to stop and think about how the next step is going to fit.

The second is once I have worked out the next step.

I have to cut and paint then assemble the parts.

Currently working on and to come next is the shelving.

The corners of some shelving has to be cut so that electrical cords can pass through them.

Also cutting and painting the framing of the opening, which is going to support the draw bridge.

Material has been purchased for the installation of a lexan window.

To be installed after the frame for the opening.

Also cutting and painting the material for the draw bridge.

Yes, it will have a working draw bridge.

PS. For those of you in Canada and/or access to Canadian Tire.

They have a 12Volt winch on sale this week that is going to be used to power the door.

(Cost $39.95)

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This deals with making the frame work for the opening.

The opening is 24 inches wide by 40 inches tall.

This to take into account the items that I wish to display.

Your particular needs may be more or less.

I started out by making the cutout.


Shown in the picture above

Then I added a 27" 2x2 at the bottom of the cutout.

(The top of the 2x2 is flush with the bottom of the cuttout.)


Shown installed above.

Install lots of screws in this 2x2 as it will carry some load.

It is important to note that screws for this section must be chosen

so that the head of the screw is install flat and flush with the plywood on the inside.

Other wise it will interfer with the lexan window that is going to be installed next.

Next I installed 40" 1x2's on each side of the cuttout.

Shown below.


Finally a 27" - 2x2 and 33"-1x3 was added across the top.

The 2x2 is necessary. The 1x3 is purely for decoration.


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I obtained a piece of lexan material and mounted it on the inside of the opening.

The lexan will have to weather some extremes of weather so a much larger hole was

drilled in the lexan than the screw and fender washers were used to fasten the lexan on with. This to allow for expansion and contraction.


You can see the screw and fender washer in the picture above.

You can also see the screws that were used to fasten the 1x2

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I have also build a drawbridge for this castle.


I cut 11 lengths of 1x3 to 48 inches long. (shown vertically)

I then cut 3 pieces of 1x3 to 28 inches long and screwed them together as show.

The drawbridge was fastened to the bottom 2x2 using 2 hinges.

I then drills holes for attaching a rope.

This is a little difficult to describe and I couldn't really take a picture to show it either.

But I eyed up the front of the 1x3 and drilled through it into the top 2x2.

The 2x2 (and the lexan behind it) was then drilled out much larger than the rope so that it would put through freely.


I was hoping than the lexan would show up in this picture, but it did not.

The finished look of the drawbridge with it down is as follows.


You will note the half semi circle and some 2x4's on the ground.

That is the framework for the left hand mega tree.

I am currently working on this frame work and was hoping to get somewhere with it today.

But the weather man did not co-operate this afternoon.

An important aspect of this design is to allow for ground variations with the mega tree attachment.

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Looking from the rear of the castle there are three shelves in this section.

Each shelf is 24 inches by 47 inches.

Shown in the above picture is the middle shelf.

It acts as the roof of the display area and it is the shelf that is going to house my controllers.


Another view of it is shown here but you will also note the 2x2's that are mounted on the structure for the roof of the controller section.

(I puposely painted them a different colour so that they will show up.)


Here you can see the roof has been added.

Note the cutouf in the roof for the 2x2 corner.


In this picture you can see the 2x2 that was added to stiffen the rear of the roof.

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A hole was drilled into both front corners of the middle shelf.

This is to allow passage of electrical cords through them.

The final shelf was put over the 2x8's on the floor and painted white.

Just something nice to set my pieces on for display.


You may note that 2x2's are also mounted on the side pieces.

This is for a shelf that is 14" deep by 6 ft long.


The intent of this is for several reasons.

It adds a lot of stiffening to the side peice and it also acts as a shelf to mount other illuminated objects on.

Strobes and floods could be mounted under the shelf.

And additional controllers could also be mounted in this area as well.


Again, a large 3" hole was drilled into the display area under this side shelf to allow passage of electrical cables.

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I cut up some plywood gussets and framed together 3 - 12 ft pressure treated 2x4 as shown in the picture above.

The base of the triange is on the left and the brace is in the back.

The right angled upright is shown is the one closest in the picture that is going right.

It is set back 38 inches from the front of the base 2x4


This is a side view of the frame of one of the mega trees attached to the castle and the base of the mega tree is sitting on the 2x4.

Incidently, that base is a piece of 3/4 inch plywood with a 38 inch radius.

It is just sitting there and has yet to be fastened.

I used a piece of 3/4 inch plywood 36 inches long by 10 inches wide to fasten the frame of the mega tree to the side peice.

3/8" galvanized carriage bolts were used, along with fender washers.


As shown in the picture above.

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Doors were put on the center section.

The top picture shows the doors open a little.

Note the top on is the compartment in which I will lock my controllers in.

Locks and handles have yet to be added.

The picture below shows the doors closed.


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The structure has finally come along far enough to get a good feel for what the finished product is going to look like.

The frame for the mega tree on the right side needs to be added but you can see the base in position so you know where that is going to go.

Next steps are: Lights for the display area, the mechanism to make the draw bridge work needs to be added, the hook system for the mega tree and adding locks on the doors.

I have added some pictures with figures added so that you will get a feel for what this is going to look like.


I know that this my first year, but I have high hopes for what it will be.

PS. we had a tornado warning yesterday and I am pleased to say that this took some heavey winds yesterday without any problems.

Despite the fact the unit had no additional weight nor was it staked to the ground.

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I like the way you have the characters standing on the shelves on the side pieces. Almost as if they were standing guard over the castle. Great work!

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I have not forgotten about this project.

September and October are naturally very busy month's for me.

It is however now at the point that this article will be finished with the final assembly and lights on in my front yard.

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Well it is November and I have finally joined the rest of you putting up lights.

The good news is that the structure was moved to the front yard and the frame or shell was assembled in about 2 hours.


I set it up very quickly for halloween night.

And after Halloween, I started to converti it to Christmas.

A couple of things are missing in the construction.

You need to make two 1/2 disks for the top of the mega trees.


This disk is only 7 1/2 inches across.

I measured out 1 1/2 inches (width of 2x4) and then drew my semi circle.

Cut it out with a jig saw.

Inserted vynl coated steel hooks. (8)

1 for each channel.

Oh yes, I used 3/4" thick plywood to make the disk out of.

Next, I fashened down the bottom disk that was made earlier usind 3/8" galvanized carriage botls.

And inserted hooks for each light drop.

32 in total.(8channels x 4 drops).

1 light string goes up and back to make 2 drops.

16 light strings in total per 1/2 tree.


Also, shown in the picture is the fact that I dropped a cord for each line.

I then made 3 wraps of the lights around the cord/rope (choose a material with no stretch) and tie wrapped the lights to the cord.

This assists in releiving the strain on the wire of the light set and allows you to tension the

cord or rope tight and allows you to hold a neat straight line on the light set.


One finished tree is shown in the picture attached.

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Well my first year is almost over.

For the most part I am happy with my first attempt and it is probably time to share my mistakes.


The first problem is that I had not counted on the amout of snow that we got this year.

(At one point in time all those yard ornaments were buried.)

If it was not for a warm spell that has melted the snow down about 2 feet snow, I was thinking that I might have gotten snowed out as I was digging out every day.

Next year all those chennille figures will be raised up on platforms so I can easily clear snow off of the figures.

I think two platforms about 8 inches off the ground will work.

Also I'm thinking that an iceburg backdrop may work. MMMM maybe another 560 lights to embed in the icebergs.

Another 280 lights along the front of the platform.

A big mistake was trying to animate the drawbridge.

With all that snow. It was a no go.

Another poor choice was the colour for the castle.

You would think that the grey would show up in a background of snow.

It does in the day time.

But even with lighting on the castle it disappears at night.

I added rope light to the upper edge and some net lights on the side walls but it still disappears.

Thinking about repainting the structure to a lighter colour and put more lighting on it to better define it.

The other thought is to wash the front of the house with a colour that might make the castle stand out.

Another surpise was one of an optical nature.

All the light shows look great from the neightbours place across the street.

But from a car directly in front of the house the lights on some sequences move too quickly from left to right to appreaciate.

Will have to slow down some portions of my sequences.

I hope those of you who followed this thread enjoyed it and may I wish you all a Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year about to come.

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