Center Stage

I created this set design for a 6-week series I am currently writing called, Fearless. The Fearless series is all about teaching kids how to face their fears with God’s help. We are NOT celebrating Halloween with this set design. However, fear is a huge issue at this time of the year for kids, so I figured the month of October was a great time to address it. This set design is not meant to scare the kids, but we have provided some less scary examples of common fears in the room to start conversations. If you are concerned about parents feeling you are celebrating Halloween by addressing this subject in October, feel free to use this idea at a completely different time of the year. The cost for this set design came in at just over $100, with the majority of the cost coming from the fog machines that were purchased. We plan on using the fog machines after this set, and we consider them a great investment. We debuted this set design last Sunday with our kids and families and had a great response. Parents are very curious about what we are learning about, which opens up a great opportunity for our leaders to encourage parents to connect the message to what the kids learn at home.img_0112

This set design has a lot great details that are hard to see in the main picture above. Don’t worry, I took a lot of pictures up close to show the details of what we did for this set design. We were able to purchase some really great decorations from the Dollar Tree because of the time of the year. If you are planning on doing this set design later in the year, make sure you visit your local Dollar Tree now to stock up. Let’s start with my favorite part of the set design, the radioactive slime trash cans. I already had the trash cans on hand so I didn’t need to purchase them. I have the 33 gallon black trash cans from Walmart that only cost $10. I had to empty out all the playground balls and pool noodles to use them for this set design, but it was worth it. If you are wondering what I did to create the “slime” effect on the trash can, it was super easy and cheap! It is Great Stuff Insulating Foam Sealant and green acrylic paint. That’s it! I bought my Great Stuff at Walmart for just under $3, and one large bottle of green acrylic paint for about $3 as well. I used three cans of Great Stuff to do the front two-thirds of two trash cans. If you want to decorate all the way around the trash cans, or you are planning on using the lid instead of the fog, you will need more Great Stuff. We sprayed our trash cans on their sides to help keep the foam from sliding off while drying. Some of it did slide off, but not enough to matter. The foam should be dry in a couple hours, and you can stand the trash cans back up at that time. Once the foam is dry, take your acrylic paint and dab it all over the foam with a paint brush. You don’t need to worry about making it look perfect because a messy look is what you are going for. We finished the trash cans in a single afternoon. The black rats are stuffed animals we found at Ikea for $2.99 each. They always have these in stock. My cat loves the smaller versions of these rats.img_0118 The trash cans are already awesome at this point, but we wanted to take them to the next level. We added small fog machines inside each of the trash cans by simply drilling a hole in the back of the trash cans to run the cords through. We were able to purchase our fog machines in a 2-pack on Amazon for under $100. They have worked great so far. We also purchased some extra fog juice because they only come with a very small bottle. The extra fog juice is much better and thicker than the fog juice that comes with the machines. We placed a cheap led light on top of the fog machine in each of the trash cans to give them a green glow. The kids, teens, and adults love these!

We have two pieces of trussing on each side of the stage against the wall for lighting. We covered the trussing in a light layer of spider webbing. We used about 2 bags of this spider web on each piece of trussing. It is cheapest to purchase the spider web at Walmart right now, but you should be able to purchase it year-round on Amazon. We also bought some little spiders to put all over the webbing. It is hard to see them from a distance, but the lighting shows them off really well. The spiders we purchased came as spider rings, but they still worked great for what we were using them for.


We made a table of creepy, crawly things under our screen to the back center of the stage. We used some jars, cups, and containers we had around the church, and filled them with fake eyeballs, worms, spiders and snakes. We purchased everything, but the snakes from the Dollar Tree. The snakes we purchased are pretty small, so we used them all in a bunch to get a better effect. We also purchased two large black spiders and two inflatable eyeballs from the Dollar Tree that are hanging from the screen.

img_0121We decided to finally light our drum cage, which makes the tan rats we bought from Ikea look really cool on the top of the drum cage. The torn cloth on the pipe and drape on each side of the stage was purchased at the Dollar Tree. It is not very distressed when you pull it out of the packaging so we pulled lightly on different parts of the cloth to make it look more distressed. We purchased six packages of the cloth to get this effect on each side of the stage. There is one giant grey spider on each side of the pipe and drape that we purchased for $10 at Target. The spiders are very flexible so you can attach them to anything. We purchased the grey spiders because we felt they were less scary and unrealistic. Spiders are at the top of the list of fears so we wanted to highlight them.img_0128

Originally, we had planned to hang the smaller inflatable eyeballs we found at the Dollar Tree in packs of three from the ceiling, but when we went to hang them, they were just too small to be seen in our room. We went on a Dollar Tree tour to find ten more of the large inflatable eyeballs to hang around the room with clear fishing line. If you have a smaller room or lower ceilings, the smaller inflatable eyeballs may be a better option for you. Otherwise, you can buy them for a variety of games to go along with your set.

Check out this video below to see the entire set design in action. The full Fearless Curriculum Series will be available soon.

What are you doing to help the kids in your ministry handle the fears they are facing on a daily basis?