DIY Ornament Arch Tutorial

One night, maybe 3 weeks ago, I came across this amazing outdoor ornament arch project by Macy Blackwell. Her ornament arch was lit up on her front porch and framed her front door beautifully. I knew I wanted to make an ornament arch for our home and that our arch would have to be built quite differently, as we did not have the same porch construction. Nevertheless, I was intent on figuring it out and making my very own ornament arch. I’ve included the step-by-step tutorial of how I made this DIY Ornament Arch below!

DIY ornament arch frames the front door and is backlit with white twinkle lights
Our front porch never looked so good!

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1. MEASURE & ESTIMATE MATERIALS NEEDED

You’ll need the measurement of two verticals on each side of the arch & the horizontal part across the top. If you have free-standing pillars, like Macy’s, you can also take a measurement of their circumference.

Since we did not have large or free-standing pillars, I didn’t have to worry about needing more than one piece of chicken wire to surround the pillar. When I measured the vertical pieces, I measured from the ceiling to the porch floor, knowing that I’d have some extra to cut off at the end. I measured from wall to wall and added a few inches for the horizontal part. We ended up with a total of 24 feet of chicken wire, cut into 3 pieces, so it would be easier to take apart and store. You could hypothetically make them into even smaller pieces so they may be easier to store in smaller bins during the year and then attach each piece of chicken wire to another piece of chicken wire. My concern, and why we didn’t do that, is that the weight of each piece of wire covered with ornaments would be too heavy and would stretch out each piece of chicken wire. The way we did it, we were able to double up the chicken wire and attach it to the pvc pipe frame.

2. Gather Materials

1. PVC Pipe, connectors, tees, and elbows: For the frame we used 3/4 PVC pipe, connectors (because we purchased 5 foot sections and had longer distances than that), Since we couldn’t secure the frame to the pillar by wrapping a zip tie around the whole pillar, we ended up building feet to wrap around the pillar. So that meant we also used some pipes and elbows to connect the pvc pipe pieces.

2. Chicken Wire: We purchased a 2 foot wide roll of chicken wire so we could fold it in half and give it a little more strength.

3. Zip ties– I used clear/white zip ties that were 4-5 inches long. It couldn’t have been helpful to have some longer ones in order to fill in some holes from the front.

4. Shatterproof Ornaments: I used 120mm, 100mm, 80mm, and 60mm bulbs from Old Time Pottery, Hobby Lobby, & At Home Store. Target, Walmart, and the Dollar Store also carry them. We went through about 500 ornaments total, with about 10% from 120mm, 25% from 100mm 60mm, and the rest 80mm.

5. String Lights: Make sure you have more than you think you’ll need. I used about 100 feet of lights. I could’ve used one more 20 foot strand.

Ornament arch materials

3. Build a PVC Pipe Frame

We built the top and sides of the frame to run along the wall and ceiling.

If you have pillars, you can attach the frame by wrapping zip ties around them. Since we couldn’t do that, we placed a screw behind the pillar and then stretched a zip tie around the frame to the screw, as you can see at the top of the frame in the picture to the left.

We also build “feet” to help the frame stand independently. They wrapped around the side of the pillar, front to back. Then we placed a screw on the side and back of the pillar just above each “foot”.

This frame ended up withstanding serious storms with intense winds, so I can confidently recommend this construction.

4. attach your ornaments to chicken wire

In Macy’s video, she attached the chicken wire to the pillar first and then added the ornaments with the wire vertical. It seemed more manageable to me, based upon the outside temperature and the height of the porch off of the ground, to put the chicken wire on the coffee table and attach the ornaments while sitting on the sofa. This meant that I was able to binge watch The Great on Hulu (highly recommend) while doing this super repetitive part.

I started first by sporadically attaching a few of the largest (120mm) ornaments with the zip ties on the first part of chicken wire. Then I added the next largest (100mm), making sure to spread them out fairly evenly. Then, I started at the top and began attaching the 80mm and 60mm ornaments to fill out each section. Every once in a while, I would pick up the panel from the top to see how the ornaments were laying and where I needed more.

2 TIPS for the DIY Ornament Arch:

  1. Consider getting some super glue: Some of your bulbs may come off of their cap where you attach the zip tie. Once I started, it became really clear which ones were going to come apart and which were likely secure. I started to add some super glue to attach the caps to each bulb on each one that was loose. I haven’t had any fall off since we hung the arch.
  2. Think through if/where your pieces will overlap: I started the ornaments on the vertical pieces about 1 foot below the top because I planned to hang them from the top of the frame, but I wanted the horizontal/top piece of the arch to overlap the vertical pieces by about 1 foot.
IMG_8017

5. Hang Your Pieces & Fill in Holes

This is the moment of truth! We attached each side piece to the top and sides of the frame with zip ties. Each piece stopped right at the porch floor. Then we added the top/horizontal piece, adding zip ties to the sides and middle first, then adding more to pull it even with the top of the frame and eliminate dips.

Notice how the side piece has enough empty space at the top that the horizontal piece will be able to overlap and lay flat.

Once each piece was hung, I went back through and added more bulbs to fill in the larger, more noticeable holes. Keep in mind that you’ll want to be able to see the lights behind the ornaments, so it’s ok if there are some smaller open spaces.

If you want to go for a fuller look, you can use longer zip ties and layer up some smaller bulbs, maybe 30-40mm on top of larger ornaments. I added a fair amount to this piece in the picture on the left, but did not feel the need to layer them up.

6. Add string lights to the back of each piece

Add string lights to the back of each piece and secure with zip ties.

I tried running up and down the full length of each piece as well as zig zagging back and forth on short stretches. I cannot tell the difference from the front, so I would just focus on securing the lights with zip ties in each small space and behind any transparent or translucent ornament you’ve used. That way you get as much lighting as possible showing through the front.

IMG_8028

And here’s the final product! I have received so many compliments from my friends and neighbors, and I absolutely love how it turned out. Once I take it down for the season, I’ll post again about how I’ve stored it and any tips I have from that process.

DIY ornament arch made from shatterproof red, silver, and gold ornaments zip tied to chicken wire and hung to a pvc pipe frame
DIY Ornament Arch Tutorial

I hope you found this tutorial to be helpful. If you ever make your own version of this ornament arch, I would absolutely love it if you would send me a picture or tag me in a social media post! Until then, hang out and check out the latest posts on the blog!

XOXO Alicia

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