This set design was inspired by the 252 Basics theme of the month: All Hands on Deck (Service). It was easier than usual to make the theme for this month clear. The moment the kids walked into our environment they knew exactly what our theme was. We managed to stay within our $100 budget this month by purchasing a few key items, and making the rest of the decorations out of materials and decorations we already had on hand. Since we started doing a full live band during worship these last few months, we have to keep more of the stage clear for our instruments and vocals. We’ve learned to simplify our stage decorations and focus more on the entire environment. This has been a huge positive since it’s helped us realize the importance of making our entire environment fit the theme.
The right and left sides of our stage are quite similar this month. I made one larger space ship and two smaller space ships for the main stage props. I used one of my favorite set design essentials, free pieces of cardboard, to make the space ships. I looked up pictures of simple space ship shapes online, and free-handed them on the cardboard in pencil (so I could erase it when it looked terrible). For some reason, I had no problem free-handing the larger space ship, but when I went to make the smaller two space ships it took me a few times to get it right, and they still looked like fish without the details painted on. So, don’t feel bad if you don’t get it right on your first try, and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Once I had my space ship shapes, I cut them out with an x-acto knife, and spray-painted them with this silver spray paint. You can get it from Walmart for less than $5. Your space ships will dry in a matter of minutes and you can start painting the details on. I looked at simple images of space ships for my inspiration and went to it. I drew the lines on in pencil and used round lids and objects to make the circles for the windows. I used acrylic craft paint I already had in my office to paint over the lines I drew with the pencil. I also added some loose craft glitter to the windows to make them pop. You will also see a familiar alien space ship attached to the top of our points wheel. I re-used the alien space ship I made for a game on Minion Day by taking him off the dowel rod and attaching him to the wheel. I love it when my kidmin hoarding comes in handy.
The side banners were no-brainers this month. I definitely wanted the room to feel like we were a space ship floating through space. We used a starfield video to create this feel. Unfortunately, it is just impossible to capture the “awesomeness” of it all in a picture. You can also see “planets”, “space ships”, and “falling stars” hanging from the ceiling around the room and from the trussing above the stage. My assistant and I had a lot of fun creating our own “solar system” of planets using assorted colored paper lanterns as well as black lanterns with stars already printed on them. Some of you may even already have a bunch of paper lanterns lying around just waiting to be turned into awesome planets. We used our imaginations, craft paint, glitter, and anything else that suited our fancy to create our planets. We also cut some small space ships out of silver craft foam that had been sitting in one of my drawers for years, and attached them to a couple of the planets. My favorite thing was creating “rings” for some of the planets using spare cardboard and some aluminum foil. We traced the circumference of one of the paper lanterns on cardboard for the inner ring, and made another circle around that to create the outer part of the ring. We cut the rings out with an x-acto knife, and covered them with aluminum foil using hot glue. By the way, hot glue and aluminum foil are a combination that will most likely burn your fingers, but if you are impatient (like me) that’s a risk you’ll have to take. The silver “space ships” were created by hot-gluing two roasting pans together. We already had 4 of these on hand that were actually teenage mutant ninja turtle shells for costumes, and we re-purposed them into the space ships. You can usually find these pans for $1 at the Dollar Store. The “falling stars” were made on metallic card stock I bought in a 24-pack from Walmart. We bought two packs of the card stock, printed four different-sized stars on them, cut them out, hole-punched them, and strung them together using fishing line.
My favorite part of the whole set design are the space ship “windows” we created out of our three large windows in the back of the room. It was an idea that we didn’t even have until the day we built the set. My team and I joked about how there is always one big idea that we have last-minute at set designs that ends up taking up two or more of the four hours we had planned for the set. The windows did take close to two hours to make and put up, but they were totally worth the extra time and effort. The best part was they didn’t cost anything extra. We finally used up the end of the black kraft paper roll we have had for the last two years. We measured our windows, and cut out a piece of kraft paper with those dimensions. Next, we made a circle large enough to stick your head in using a bucket as our guide and carefully cut the circle out using an x-acto knife and scissors. We wanted the windows to look good and stand out from the inside and outside of the room, so we added a silver ring around the windows on both sides using a silver sharpie. It was a lot of work, but I noticed parents and leaders really liked the windows on Sunday morning. They thought it was fun to make silly faces in the windows.
Our entry way was probably the easiest part of the whole set design,
but it attracted the most attention from kids and parents. The reason for this attraction is the inflatable light-up R2-D2. He is actually supposed to be a lawn decoration, but who says he can’t be inside too? I was originally planning to put him on stage because he was my best prop, but my team quickly reminded me that there was no room for him up there. It worked out great because he is now the Gen Kids greeter of the month. He is the first thing kids and parents see as they walk into the room. I have had at least 15 people offer to take him off my hands at the end of the month. He looks even cooler in the entry way that we already had lit up by our LED curtain. We also have some “falling stars” over the entry way as you walk into the room.
We kept our info table simple this month. We attached two smaller versions of the space ships on stage to the TV, along with a couple leftover planets. We decorated the front of the info table using some small space ships made out of sparkly silver craft foam, and this bendable silver star garland.
Our kids are already loving this space themed set design this month. My amazing husband, along with a witty team member, created this opening sequence that is reminiscent of Star Wars. When we played it on Sunday the kids went nuts. With Star Wars being all the rage right now, due to the new movie coming out, space themes are popping up everywhere. How do you plan on incorporating this Star Wars trend into your ministry?