I created this set design for a 7-week series on Creation. In the series, kids will learn about about their creative Creator and how God created each of us with a unique purpose. It shows how the creation story in Genesis connects with the rest of the Bible and what that means for us. The cost for this set design was about $25, and we decided to repurpose some items from the Emoji Series as well as some other resources we already had on hand. All of the decorations for this set design were homemade, so you don’t need to purchase a lot to make it happen in your ministry. There is a creativity element to this series so feel free to adapt this set design to work with what you have on hand at your church.
We really went with the creativity element and made things out of anything we could find around the church. For the main stage, we created two large items to hang from the side trussing pieces and a circular piece of art to represent each day of creation. As you can see, there are only four circles on the stage in the picture above. We decided that since it was a longer series, we would make it a progressive set design. It was a lot of fun to see the stage change throughout each week.
First, let’s talk about the base set design in the picture above. We made the large hanging cloud out of a big piece of cardboard and a couple bags of pillow stuffing. You can pick up large pieces of cardboard for free from bulk stores like Sam’s Club and Costco. We already had the stuffing left over from making emoji pillows with our 5th-6th graders. We cut a cloud-like shape out of the cardboard using mixed media scissors and attached the stuffing with hot glue until you couldn’t see the cardboard anymore. We poked a couple holes in the top of the cloud and hung it from the truss using clear fishing line. On the other side of the stage, we created something that is reminiscent of a waterfall out of a blue baby pool and blue strips of plastic. We spray-painted the inside of the pool to be solid blue because it had fish all over it before. Next, we attached the blue strips to the inside of the pool with a lot of gorilla tape. We drilled a couple holes in the sides of the pool and used some wire to attach it to the trussing. The clear fishing line was not strong enough to hold the pool so it snapped. You will need to use something more heavy duty like bendable wire to get it to stay up. If you don’t happen to have random blue plastic in your attic, you could cut a few blue plastic tablecloths into strips or use blue streamers for a similar effect.
Next is the first four circles that are on the stage representing the first four days of creation. We had a lot of fun making these “pieces of art” for each week. Again, we used anything we had on hand, so feel free to make this idea your own. You may recognize the circle cardboard shapes from our previous Emoji Set Design. We decided that we could repurpose the emoji shapes into our creation art pieces. It worked like a charm! If you don’t already have cardboard circles, you can make them yourself out of free cardboard sheets. We traced a hula hoop onto the cardboard and cut the circles out using mixed media scissors. It is a lot of work, but they look great when you’re done. If you don’t want to make circles, you could use the cardboard the way it comes as a square or rectangle or create large frames for your art pieces.
Day 1 (Day and Night) – This was a simple concept, but it did end up being time-consuming. I taped off one side of the circle with painters tape and spray painted the other half with black paint. Wait for the paint to dry before you remove the tape. After the painted side was dry, I removed the tape and worked on the day side. It was already painted yellow because it was an emoji. If yours is not yellow, you will need spray paint the other side of your circle yellow. Once it is dry, use an x-acto knife to cut out small squares all over the day side. This is the time-consuming part. I covered the entire day side in glue and attached small yellow and white squares I had cut out of yellow and white tissue paper all over it. It will take a few hours for it to dry. When it is done you can make a stand for it using some spare cardboard or attach it to something else on your stage. We put a small light behind the circle so the light would shine through the squares. It was well worth the effort!
Day 2 (Sky) – We made up for the difficulty of the day 1 shape with this piece. We simply covered the whole circle in a blue plastic tablecloth and hot-glued more stuffing to the top of the circle. It kind of ended up looking like a blue cloud man, but I was ok with it. You could also use blue kraft paper or spray paint to get a similar look.
Day 3 (Land, Plants and Seas) – We went more for the land and plants look with this piece since there was already a lot of blue in day 2. This circle was simple to create as well. We covered the circle in brown kraft paper and attached small fake vines to it with hot glue. We used some vines we found in the attic, but you can usually find small greenery similar to this at the Dollar Tree.
Day 4 (Sun, Moon, and Stars) – I loved how day 4 turned out. Again, we worked with the circle already being painted yellow. If your circle isn’t already yellow, you will need to spray paint it. I didn’t end up taping off this circle because it didn’t need to have a perfect edge. After the yellow paint is dry, paint over the yellow with silver spray paint in the shape of a half moon. Once the silver paint is dry, you can attach some stars to the center of the circle. You can probably purchase silver stars at a craft store, but we cut stars out of some white foam sheets and covered them in silver glitter. This may be the first time I have used glitter in years. It is so messy, but super shiny.
We covered the stage in blue paper on Week 2 when we talked about the waters separating to create the sky. It really added a pop of color to the room. We used a big roll of light blue kraft paper and rolled it out on the stage. It took 2 strips of paper to cover our stage and a lot of double-sided duct tape and gorilla tape to secure it. Everyone who was on the stage after it was covered were told to take off their shoes to reduce damage. It lasted for a few weeks, and was a fun change-up to the color of the stage.
Above is a picture of all of the circle art pieces we created. We added Days 5 and 6 as their weeks came around. It was a lot of fun having the kids guess what God created each of the days based on the art pieces. Our kids really didn’t know much about the days of creation before this series. We decided to literally “rest” on the seventh day, and didn’t create an art piece for that week.
Day 5 (Fish and Birds) – I loved the textures on this art piece. We actually purchased the blue feathers for the bird side at Hobby Lobby for I believe $3.99. It only took one bag of feathers to get good enough coverage. We cheated a little bit by spray-painting each side blue and orange before attaching things to it to get away with not covering the circle entirely. The fish side is orange felt material, also purchased at Hobby Lobby for 33¢ per sheet. I believe we used five sheets total. We attached the feathers and the fish gills to the circle with hot glue.
Day 6 (Humans and land animals) – We skipped worrying about representing animals on this piece and stuck with the Adam and Eve concept. Adam and Eve’s “shadows” and the apple were created out of black poster board. You could leave your cardboard background blank or spray paint it any color you want. Our circle was already yellow so we went with it. We attached Adam and Eve with double-sided duct tape instead of hot glue because they were pretty large.
We made a few extra circle art pieces for our 1st-2nd grade room as well. It worked perfectly because we could easily set them up and tear them down each week (since that room is used during the week by a school that meets in our facility).
For the ceiling, we decided to play off the graphic for the Creation Series. We bought these clear paint cans off Amazon and hot-glued plastic tablecloths to the inside to make it look like the paint buckets are pouring out paint. We hung the paint cans from the ceiling using clear fishing line.
We repurposed the emoji board from our previous series into an art canvas board for this series. We simply removed the yellow felt material and covered the board in canvas material. We already had this material on hand, but you could find it cheap at Walmart or a craft store. We allowed the kids to create their own art pieces on the canvas with markers before and after services. They loved it. This is the board we originally purchased. This is the second time repurposing this board, and it won’t be the last time.
I hope this set design has encouraged you to get creative and think outside of the box when creating set designs for your environment. You don’t have to have a big budget to create an awesome, inviting environment for your kids.
The full 7-week Creation Series will be available soon.