Jul 30 2012

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Making A Giant Spiderweb

We threw my son a Spider-Man themed birthday this past weekend. As part of the decorations, we wanted to have a few large spiderwebs hanging in the yard. We already had one giant spiderweb that we put up every Halloween, but after staring at that one for years, I figured that I could make another one.

I built the whole web with two 100 foot lengths of clothes line, 100 small zip ties, and two stakes — of course having trees the right distance apart really helped. I started by stringing a line from tree to tree about 10 feet high, about as high as I can reach from my 6′ stepladder. Then I ran lines from the bottom of one tree to about 10 feet up the other tree. To complete the radial lines I ran lines about 1/3 of the way across the horizontal line and staked them in the ground so they’d cross in the center. Once the lines were crossing in the right place, I went back up and zip-tied the line to the horizontal rope. After I got all the lines crossing neatly in the middle, I zip-tied the middle together.

One note about the zip ties, the original spiderweb I copied used twine to tie the circular thread to the radial lines. The lines and the thread could slip in either direction. After hanging the web for many years, I discovered why: you never hang the web exactly the same way and the slippage allows you to re-adjust the web so it looks right. So I tightened the zip ties snugly enough to allow movement when you pulled on the lines and threads, but not so loose that they could slip by themselves.

Once I finished the radial lines, I started from the inside and made each circular thread by zip-tying the rope to each of the radius lines to form an octagon. I bound the tag-ends together with another zip tie. I just kept adding circular threads until I ran out of room on the radial lines. In hindsight, I wish I would have used a spiral pattern — I think it would have looked cooler without being much more difficult.

After I finished the web, my wife stuffed my son’s Spider-Man costume with plastic bags and we hung him (the costume) up on the web. It’s really hard to get a floppy model to look like he’s crawling on the web and not hanging unnaturally.

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