I created this set design for a 6-week series I am currently writing called, Thank You Notes to God. This series is all about being thankful to God for everything He has done for us. The cost for this set design was less than $50 and could be done even cheaper if you have a lot of bulletin boards on hand. The majority of the decorations for this set design were homemade, so you will not need to purchase much to make it happen in your ministry.
For the center stage, we kept it simple this time. We did not have a lot of small bulletin boards lying around so we decided to create our own fake bulletin boards for the four bulletin boards hanging on the screen and trussing. This saved us some money and our bulletin boards were much lighter than a real bulletin board would be allowing us to hang them using only gorilla tape. The fake bulletin boards were created using foam board, this corkboard template, bulletin board border, post-it notes, and these buttons. Foam board is the perfect option for a fake bulletin board because it is lightweight, you can put push pins on it easily, and you can buy it for $1 at most dollar stores. I purchased the corkboard template for $1.29, printed it out a lot of times, cut all the white off, and used clear scotch tape to attach the fake corkboard to the foam board. Make sure you use the invisible scotch tape so it won’t be seen from a distance. I purchased my bulletin board border at a local teacher supply store, but you can also purchase them online. You can go crazy with any border you want. I printed the buttons out on cardstock, cut them out and attached them to the finished bulletin boards using push pins. I also attached some post-it notes to the board using push pins to ensure they wouldn’t fall down after a few weeks. I decided to do some post-it note word art on the two bulletin boards in the center. It was much harder than I expected to make the post-it notes look like letters and fit the words on the boards. I ended up “cheating” by writing some of the letters on a single post-it note for the word “Thanks”. The two boards are supposed to say Thanks God. I think they turned out pretty readable in the end.
We made giant post-it notes and giant buttons to hang from the ceiling around the room. The post-it notes are pieces of poster board purchased at the Dollar Tree for .50 cents and cut to the shape of a square. We had one of the women in our Creative Department at the church write words and Scripture references that related to the theme on both sides of the “post-it notes”. Examples of words/phrases for the post-it notes: thank you, gratitude, God, 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Isaiah 9:6, a happy face. The buttons were created by blowing them up to a larger size, printing them on two sheets of paper, cutting them out, taping them together, and laminating them. We had to take them to a local teacher supply store to have them laminated because they were too big for our small laminator in the office. We made sure the buttons and post-it notes were two-sided so they would look good from every position in the room. We hung them from the ceiling with clear fishing line.
My favorite part of this set design is the giant bulletin board we created for the kids to post their thank you notes to God on each week. I wanted this bulletin board to be huge, and I couldn’t afford to buy one as big as I wanted so I decided to make my own. I purchased this sound deadening board from the home depot for only $10. It is 4×8 feet so you will need a truck to haul it back to the church, but it is pretty light. You will need to screw this into the wall. It is too heavy for tape. I found a handy guy who works at our church to help me out with this part of the project. He used 3/16 screws and oversized washers to adhere it to the wall. Just make sure it is on the wall securely so it doesn’t fall down. Our board has been up for four weeks now, and we haven’t had any problems. After it is attached securely to the wall, we added a border, some buttons, and lots of push pins. Every Sunday we have a response time after the message for kids to go over to the board and write a personal thank you note to God on post-it notes then post it on the board. It is already so full of their sweet notes. This is a great eye-catcher for parents as well. We have had many parents come into the room to look at the notes when they pick up their kids and ask about it. They love it!
We have recently opened up a breakout room for our 1st-2nd graders to go to for the last half of the service. We wanted to bring in a set design element to the room, but we have to keep it portable as this room is used during the week as a school classroom. For this theme, it was super simple to just add a large decorated bulletin board on a tripod to bring in the theme. The bulletin board serves as a decoration, and the kids use it during the response time in that room. We also have the theme slide on the screen of the tv, but in the picture it doesn’t show up. I will write a post shortly about how we are structuring our 1st-2nd grade room, and how we keep the room completely portable.
Update: We added a couple elements to make the set design have a Christmas feel for the last 2 weeks of the series. We added flashing red and green Christmas lights around our screen, a Christmas version of our theme slide, Christmas sweater garland around the bulletin boards in each room (left over from our Big Fun Family Niight event), and we changed our lighting scene to red and green.
The full 6-week Thank You Notes to God curriculum will be available soon.