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brianleeking

Looking For Advice On Creating A Fake Pond With Lights

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For my Christmas display, I would like to create a small "pond" made of lights. This would be the type of thing I would set up penguins and reindeer around. I am wondering if any of you have done this before and could offer me some advice. Cheap and easy are what I am after!

 

Here is my thought by browsing some on the internet:

 

Cut a clear painter's drop cloth (plastic) into the shape of a pond and place it over a couple of strings of blue lights. Outline it with a blue rope light. 

 

I'm not looking for something very big - probably 6 feet across at most.

 

Any idea what would look best? What I describe above or something else?

 

Would it be better if I put a blue tarp on the grass and clear plastic over top with white lights between?

Should the rope light border be blue or clear?

And most importantly (because my wife will not let me decorate next year if this happens :-)  will the clear plastic laying over the grass for a few weeks kill the grass?

 

Thanks!

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All good questions  .... my 2 cents   

 

use LEDs to keep from melting plastic.

colors would be your choice

 

 as far as grass it could kill it not sure....

maybe use clear bird netting,

and make a mat you could roll out to use, and roll up to store and it wouldn't kill the grass.

 

Like I said my 2 cents  just a thought how I might try it..

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The grass is just about guaranteed to be killed though might bounce back a bit if it's fully dormant when you lay down the material.

 

Another idea is to use all lights to fill in the shape. It's a little more pricey but cheap strands of incan mini's can be had for a few bucks at Target. Zip tie them to a piece of plastic tree netting cut to the shape of the pond you want and outline it with doubled up rope light to clearly define the edge.  I created a 20ft river for my lighted deer to drink out of using this method and it turned out really nice. Cost me maybe $50 for lights.

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Ive seen people make the pond out of plexiglass and have it raised up the ground in the corners etc so your grass doesn't get killed and then you just put  your blue led lights under the plexiglass and it looks awesome you just put outdoor blue garland around the edge to snazzy it up and you cut the plexi in a shape you like for the pond it may take 2 sheets etc depending on how large you want it but then you can put your characters right on the pond ice skating etc and its all up lighted have a great day this is just the way Ive seen others do it

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Wish I knew of a cheap and easy way......Ended up using 13,000 blue led's and 60 + channels to make my stream :o

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You can buy cheap "fairy" LED net lights on ebay in blue and they have small controllers on them with different effects, one of which will definitely meet your needs. Be careful to protect the controller from the elements and make sure you specify you are using them in the U.S. so they give you an adapter with them.You can cover the top with a shower curtain as you previously mentioned. BTW, this is probably one of the few things the cheap "fairy" lights are good for!!!

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Wish I knew of a cheap and easy way......Ended up using 13,000 blue led's and 60 + channels to make my stream :o

What do you ever do that is considered easy or small lol your stuff is always amazing

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What about a piece of that direct burial black water pipe wrapped in a heavy frosted painters plastic?

 

The pipe already comes in a round roll and with a little heat on it, you can shape it into any pond shape you want. Then use a some sort of contact cement, glue or caulk on half the plastic and pipe, and when that half dries, glue and stretch the other half the next day so the plastic pond surface has an even look to it. Then lay your blue lights down and put your pond shape over them.

 

The plastic should defuse the light to some degree so it has an even blue look to it.

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Here's an idea.  We make a "skating" pond every year by laying down chaser light strings, right on the grass.  Cover with quilt batting over the lights.  We have a long chaser string on ground spikes (plastic) that we poke through the batting into the grass as a pond border and to keep the batting in place.  Trim off the excess batting, outside the spikes and plug it all in.  We add cutout skaters right on/in the pond.  To do this, we scratch a hole through the batting with a finger.  We do this for two reasons; first, we don't want to cut the wires on the "under ice" chasers, and second; when we drive in the stake to mount the cut out, we don't pull the batting into the ground.

 

As for effects on the grass.  It's actually a benefit, as the batting keeps a slight amount of heat in the ground.  When we pull up the pond, the grass is actually greener than any surrounding areas.  Keep in mind, we're talking Denver, Colorado here.

 

The lights twinkling under the batting have a very nice effect.  One nice thing about the batting; any snow/rain will go through and not pool up.  One bad thing about the batting: squirrels love it for nesting.  Many days we find holes where the batting has been "stolen".  While this would be cause for squirrel hunting to many, we just reactivate our "Squirrel Rehoming Project".  We live trap them and transport them to "greener" pastures.

 

I do NOT recommend laying plastic on grass.  One exception to this is when the grass is totally dormant as in completely brown, NO green at all.  This is pretty rare as most areas have some weather warm enough to cause grass to green & grow ever so slightly, but it is enough for plastic to do harm.  Not something you want to see in spring.

 

Good Luck,

Terry Miller

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i do this ever year with a sheet of 2'' Styrofoam that I cut to the shape of a pond then used a pencil to make  holes all the way around the perimeter then inserted blue LED's looks very cool when lit. not very bright but that's what I was looking for. just enough to give it a glow without it being over whelming. I can then steak it to the ground with old wire clothes hangers that I cut and bent into a j shape. I then place my ice skating  penguins on top and steak them down the same way. hope this help Good luck

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Does anyone have any problems with the snow falling and covering the pond and lights. I live up in Canada , Sudbury , Ontario and we get lots of snow from December through to march. I want to build a pond as we'll, and my idea is to use 2 sheete of 4x8 sheets of ply wood and raise it off the grass with bricks. You then trace out the pattern of the pond on the plywood and then cut it out. Then cut holes all over the plywood ,so you can stick lights through them from underneath the plywood and staple them to the underside of the plywood using a mixture of white and blue led lights. Before adding the lights paint the entire plywood pond with white paint (3 coats) and add some blue painted details to resemble streaks in the water. Then add your sculptures and then the lights. You will have a great effect and when snow does come it will give it a great effect. After adding the sculptures you can add clear plastic to protect the lights and will still give a great effect. Also you can add small pieces of 2x2's around the perimeter of your pond and add a set of white lights around the pond. Hope this gives some ideas because next year I will be making this project. Can you post some pictures I would love to see what your pond looks like. Thanks Derek Durkac.

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Mine is quick and easy. I cut out two 4x8 pieces of white 10 mill coroplast, and angled them to each other, outlined by a mixutres of blue and white LED lights.  The shiny coro reflects the lights.  I used green and brown spray paint to soften the edges so it blended in with the surrounding grass.

 

Visitors often asked if it was real ice. It doesn't come across that way in photos but it really looked good.  http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r42/Clevercanines/P1020963.jpg

 

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Do you get a lot of snow covering up your pond display.

No, we don't get snow at all where I live.  If snow is a problem for you, then you might want to use all lights like suggested in a previous post.

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My idea for this years theme is also an ice pond with animated skater or skaters. So far I've found at a thrift store an old fiberglass produce stand in rectangle shape (I would load a picture of it but I don't know how to on here) 4 ft x 8 ft.  I plan to put net lights in the tray part and cover it with a rectangle tempered glass table top that I found and then spray insulation foam on the sides and paint white to give it a snow covered rim. My problem is trying to figure out how to make a skater, and make it animated. I have an animated deer motor (but don't know how to make use of it for this), I have a rotating tree stand (but find this rather slow) I saw on here where someone had a sled going pretty fast around in a circle but from experience I know it wasn't the revolving Christmas stand that did that so I need help figuring out what motor or item can I convert to get the speed to make the figure move that quickly, or how can I use that deer motor to make his legs move like he was skating.  Any ideas?

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My idea for this years theme is also an ice pond with animated skater or skaters. So far I've found at a thrift store an old fiberglass produce stand in rectangle shape (I would load a picture of it but I don't know how to on here) 4 ft x 8 ft.  I plan to put net lights in the tray part and cover it with a rectangle tempered glass table top that I found and then spray insulation foam on the sides and paint white to give it a snow covered rim. My problem is trying to figure out how to make a skater, and make it animated. I have an animated deer motor (but don't know how to make use of it for this), I have a rotating tree stand (but find this rather slow) I saw on here where someone had a sled going pretty fast around in a circle but from experience I know it wasn't the revolving Christmas stand that did that so I need help figuring out what motor or item can I convert to get the speed to make the figure move that quickly, or how can I use that deer motor to make his legs move like he was skating.  Any ideas?

go to more reply options and attach photo

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This ice pond is really cute. I can find lots of characters for outdoors that have skates, none so far are animated just the indoor Mickey's and such that I probably could weather proof the components but I want something bigger than 20 inches and my vision is for people like 36 inches or taller of boy or girl....I always have to re-invent the wheel I think sometimes...just not satisfied with what the market has to offer to fit my little vision and I love animation.   I saw on here just a picture that someone had cut slits in plywood for a toy truck to move back n forth using what possibably could of been a deer motor so I was thinking that if I get a piece of plexiglass and figure out how to make that deer head motor move each leg rather than the full half circle it does for the deer then my tree stand might work to help the look of him getting somewhere on the ice pond.  I'm just ignorant about levers and motors so I have to look for such things that my mind can see the type of animation I'm looking for and I wish I could just buy them....or find somebody that can make the plumbing pipe animation frames that I see so often on the haunt sites...I wish some of them would put them on ebay....because I think there's more people like me than those crafty mechanically inclined genius' and I'm really disappointed with the products you have to buy nowadays ....so cheaply constructed you cant even make it to Halloween without them quitting or flopping over in their flimsy frames (it should include a statement about concrete blocks required to hold it up).

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