We created this set for a 6-week series I wrote this fall called Spiritual Warfare. It will be available for you to purchase this week! In this series, kids will learn about a different piece of the armor of God each week. They will learn the importance of putting on the full armor of God every day to take their stand against the devil’s schemes. The cost for this set design was $34 for us because we already had some of the foam board, cardboard, paint on hand. If you need to purchase the foam board it would cost you about $34 for four 4×8 sheets of it at Lowe’s. My inspiration for this set design and series was the armor of God, as well as a vintage video game called Spiritual Warfare that I loved playing when I was a kid. In the video game, you collect the armor of God while “saving” unsaved people using the fruits of the Spirit. It is a lot of fun and similar to the old Legend of Zelda game. You should definitely check it out… for research purposes of course! It was so much fun seeing the pieces of the armor of God and the scenes from the video game come to life in this set design. For this series, we focused primarily on the main stage area, and added some permanent “screens” around the room. More on that later.
Let’s start with the easier part of the set design: the pieces of armor we created for underneath our main screen. I wanted the pieces of armor to look like the ones on the video game which was not a super easy task since it was created for the original Nintendo so they were quite pixelated. That was the look I wanted though! I can’t take the credit for making these awesome replicas. I had an amazing artist from my church take these home and make them. I was planning on trying to make them myself, but I’m sure they wouldn’t have turned out this well and detailed. She used some spare cardboard she had lying around and acrylic paint she already had on hand to create these masterpieces. If you aren’t as artistic or you can’t find someone who is to help you make your pieces of armor, you can still make them without adding as much detail. They will still look awesome from a distance to the kids. I included close up pictures of the armor pieces in case you are interested in giving the detail a try. We attached the finished pieces of armor to the bottom of our screen using black zip ties.
We also added some led tape around the top pieces of our stage to light our stage up. In our 1st-2nd grade room (which is set-up and tear down each week) we used these inflatable rafts that look like old Nintendo controllers as decorations. We inflated them and attached them to small wooden stands so they could easily be transported in and out of the room each week.
Now, for the more complicated part of this set design. If you aren’t techy, just skip these next two paragraphs and scroll down for a non-techy alternative. Remember those extra screens I mentioned at the beginning of this post? We created ten additional 4×4 ft. screens for the walls around our room to add permanent environmental projection to our room. It was a lot of work and required a lot of equipment to make it happen, but now we have these awesome screens to use to enhance every set design we create. They were totally worth the extra effort in my opinion. However, I will warn you to recreate what we have done here you will need a decent amount of tech experience. My husband (the tech guru himself) made this project happen, I just created the screens. The screens are the simple part of this project. They are just 3/8 inch thick 4×8 ft. pieces of white insulation foam board from Lowe’s cut approximately in half with a hot knife. It was tough to get a perfect cut so I added black electrical tape around the edges of each of the foam pieces to make it look more finished and like it had a frame. This worked pretty well, but the tape doesn’t adhere extremely well to the foam. When I originally mounted the foam squares to the wall using gaff tape (not a permanent solution) the tape began to slowly peel at the corners of the foam. This was exceptionally annoying as I had to get on a tall ladder to fix them. I came up with a solution to the permanent mounting and tape peeling problem. I hammered a small nail into the corners of each of the screens through where the tape pieces met, and that has worked like a charm. The screens have been up for over four months now and they still look flawless.
Our setup required five projectors to get the job done. This could get expensive, but we had recently bought a bunch of used projectors on Craigslist for our VBS setup so we already had these on hand. They don’t have to be super nice projectors, but the bulbs need to be bright enough to see the projection with the lights on so keep that in mind. We like the hitachi brand projectors and they are affordable and easy to find used on Craigslist. You might be wondering how we used five projectors to project on ten small screens. This is where it gets a little more technical. You will need a triple head to go to make this work. It isn’t cheap, but you might already have one at your church if you ask around. I have linked an example of what you will need to purchase, but you will need to make sure you have the correct model for your computer or mac. Again, this is not a simple project so make sure you know what you are getting yourself into before you begin.
Once we had everything mounted and set up we grabbed screen shots from the Spiritual Warfare video game and projected them on the screens. Here is your non-techy alternative I promised! If this project is way out of your budget or technology expertise I completely get that. Another option to bring the video game to life in your kid’s ministry area would be to grab screen shots from the game or the internet and blow them up to a larger poster or even bigger size and have them printed.
If you loved this set design, make sure you check out the Spiritual Warfare Curriculum Series available this week!