How to Build a Christmas Office Desk Igloo!

Every year at work, our Ecommerce department’s various teams compete in a Christmas desk decorating competition to win not only a hamper, but the kudos of being the reigning champions of the competition for the proceeding 12 months. Every year the competitiveness within the office has been growing however this year, my SEO team took things to the next level, building an Igloo over our block of 6 desks.

Christmas Office Desk Igloo

 

Christmas desk decorating ideas

After much searching within Google for Christmas desk decorating ideas, it tends to pull up the same results time. You can make a fireplace out of your screen, you could create little huts over your monitors but let’s face it, this has all been done before.

My team wanted to do something original. A bit of further research into icy/Christmas themed things led us to come up with the idea of building an igloo!

Things you will need

The cost of building our igloo came in at around £70 for materials which was only just over the £10 per head budget we had set ourselves for the build.

So, things you will need:

  • 5 x packs of tent poles
  • 300-400 x white balloons
  • 1 x balloon pump (unless you have very strong lungs!!)
  • 8 x G-Clamps
  • 1 x roll of white duct tape
  • 1 x roll of string
  • 1 x line of white/blue fairy lights

All of our materials here were sourced as cheaply as we could get them on eBay and Amazon UK.

Building the frame

The key to the construction of the igloo is securing a sturdy frame on the desks. As you are putting fibreglass tent poles under high pressure due to the curvature, you must must must ensure the poles are very securely attached to the desk. If you don’t secure things tightly you risk them coming away from the desk and under high pressure potentially hitting someone in the face – that is not a HR conversation you need to deal with at work!

Step 1 – Connect the poles together

The first thing to do is put your tent poles together at different lengths:

  • 2x lengths consisting of 5 pole pieces
  • 2x lengths consisting of 6 pole pieces
  • 1x length consisting of 7 pole pieces

When considering the basic shape of the igloo it needs to be like a dome. We had a block of 6 desks to decorate so we had 2 shorter poles (5x pole pieces) mounted on the desk ends (and mounted slightly lower) and then 2 longer poles (6x pole pieces) mounted in the middle section of the desks allowing them to stand taller.

Step 2 – Attach the G-Clamps to the poles

With the tent poles arched they are under a lot of pressure – we came up with a pretty good solution to attach them to the desks.

  1. Duct tape each end of 2 small poles and the 2 medium length poles to the G-clamps, wrapping the tape around several times to create strength and ensure the poles are securely attached to the clamps.
  2. With someone each side of the desks, slowly arch the poles upwards and inwards and clamp the poles into position – be careful not to over-tighten the clamps however as you don’t want to split the office desks!!
  3. For added security that the clamps won’t fly off under the pressure, attach the clamps under the desk to each other using string or find another way to secure them to another part of the desk. The last thing you want is a clamp coming loose, the tent pole straightening and hitting someone in the face.

This is how we did things which was rock solid, not going anywhere.

G-clamp attached to tent pole

 

Step 3 – Clamp the poles to the desk

As per this image you can see 3 of the 4 poles set up – mount the 2 shorter poles at each end of the desk. To create the dome shape, mount the 2 longer poles in the middle:

Christmas office desk igloo

Step 4 – Add a stabilising brace

With all 4 of the arches in place, take the long pole you are yet to use and attach the pole along the top of the entire structure, duct taping it in place at each intersection with the arches. This ensures the structure is a solid unit of poles so it can’t be knocked over or easily broken. Secondly, the long beam doubles up as a balloon mounting location!

Christmas desk igloo

Adding 300-400 balloons!

I’m not going to lie, this stage took forever! And that was with 3 people and 3 balloon pumps! It is however a critical part of the built so you just have to plough on through.

Once your balloons are inflated, tie them into groups of 3 using string. These can then be attached firstly to the arches and then to the long overhead beam – place the tent pole in the middle the 3 balloons and then twisting 2 of the balloons over each other to attach them. This will save hours of time as you don’t need to actually attached the balloon to the frame with any string.

First balloon arch taking shape

At this point you need patience. And LOTS of it. This bit, like the balloon inflation takes time! But persevere! Arches starting to get full…

Balloon igloo

Arches complete, time to fill in the central pole and build out some density!

Desk igloo

Bask in the glory of having created a Christmas desk igloo!

After a lot of balloon attaching, string your fairy lights through the middle and it will be complete! We also added balloons to the backs of the chairs to make it appear more of a sealed unit…

Christmas desk igloo!

Christmas Office Desk Igloo

 

So what’s the view like from the inside?

Balloon igloo

So that’s it, complete! Needless to say, my team won the Christmas desk decorating competition this year!

Christmas office igloo

If you’re planning to replicate this build a few pointers:

  1. Make sure you’re not going to upset your facilities team or breach any health and safety rules!
  2. Note that this thing is BIG. It’s very intrusive in the office and will get you noticed – be prepared for a lot of attention and distractions!
  3. Make sure you very securely attach the poles to the desk – you don’t want this thing springing apart
  4. Inside the igloo it is hot – it acts as a heat trap with the PCs so your desk area will warm up quite significantly – maybe plan to build a chimney for your igloo!
  5. Be prepared for the occasional balloon explosion – it happens and scares the hell out of you each time!

We ended up using 300 balloons for our igloo but in all honesty we could have done with an additional 100 so I would plan for 300-400!

So the next time you’re stuck for Christmas office desk decorating ideas, check back in to this post and enjoy building your own Christmas desk igloo – good luck!

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