It’s that time of year, Star Wars time! Christmas time!! I started down the path of decorating for Christmas with some Star Wars decorations (which were donated by one of my sponsors for something I was working with them on) and eventually I ended up making some GIANT LIGHTSABERS!  They’re great, and garner a lot of attention, but I still thought I needed one more piece.
I threw around all sorts of ideas for large pieces that could be built from plywood (flat, so I could store them easily) but eventually it came down to time and money, so I landed on the DEATH STAR!

This is an especially simple build, but it was an extra touch to our front yard that my kids absolutely LOVE, and that’s what really makes me happy about doing it!

Here’s what you’ll need:

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I measured in 24″ from the sides and the end. At this point, I hammered in a finishing nail.


I tied a string around the nail, and around a pencil. The string was around 23″ long.


Holding the pencil parallel to the nail gives you a pretty reliable compass to draw a circle with.


It took me several tries, but I sketched on a Santa hat over the edge of the circle.


With several overlapping lines, it got confusing. I traced the lines that I wanted to keep with a Sharpie.


The Sharpie line was my guide for cutting the shape out with a jigsaw.


The jigsaw left a pretty rough edge, so I cleaned it up with a sander.


I covered the back of the piece with some grey exterior paint.


I also covered the edges, before covering the front up to the “hat” section.


It took several coats of red spray paint over the “hat” area to get enough coverage to partially hide the wood grain of the plywood.


After the grey dried, I sketched on some longitude and latitude lines to visualize the spherical shape.


I poured a little of the grey paint into a cup, and added some black craft paint to slightly darken it.


This new grey was my first coat of the detail painting. I painted the dish and the equator with it.


I separated a little of that paint into another cup and added more black, giving me a third grey color.


With the third color, I added another layer of “detail”. Since this will be seen at quite a distance, I wasn’t too worried about being a great painter.


I used some white craft paint to covered the rest of the hat.


After all of the paint dried, I sprayed over the whole thing with polyurethane to help the craft paint hold up against moisture.


I trimmed down some scrap pressure treated plywood that I had.


I added a hinge to this piece, a little back from one end.

Screen-Shot-2015-12-07-at-3.52.49-PMThe other side of the hinge was screwed into the back of the Death Star.


I trimmed down another piece of scrap. I just kind of guessed at the length of this one.


I added a hinge to one end, then flipped it around and over.


I added a third hinge to this end.


I set this “leg” in place, propping up the Death Star and screwed in the bottom hinge.


I adjusted the angle of the Death Star and screwed in the last hinge.


I drilled a hole in both sides of the plywood and screwed in an eyelet.


I also added two eyelets on the back side of my house, on opposing sides of the house.


Unscrewing the hinges let’s the Death Star flatten out for storage or transport. Once I had it on the roof, I reattached the top hinge.


I sat it in place, and ran a line from the eyelets to the ones on the back side of the house.


I used a Tautline Hitch knot so that I could slide the knot to tighten each line.


After I got both lines reasonably tight, I faced the Death Star where I wanted it to be the most visible.


I added a bag of sand on the base just to help it stay in place. We had quite a bit of wind and rain that evening, and it didn’t budge.


I set everything up, including a spotlight on the Death Star, and it was all done!