We created this set for a 9-week series I wrote this year called Are We There Yet. It will be available for you to purchase TOMORROW! In this series, kids will take a road trip through the life of Moses. They will discover that the road of life is full of detours and decisions, but we have God to help us navigate all the twists and turns. The cost for this set design was a little higher than normal, but worth it since it is for a longer series. We spent $50 on the road signs (used obviously), about $50 on materials for the car, and $25 for the small road signs (1st-2nd grade room). We already had the foam board and paint on hand. My inspiration for this set design and series was a vintage road trip. For this series, we focused primarily on the main stage area, and continued to utilize the permanent “screens” around the room we installed during during this set design. I don’t have pictures of the screens, but we used footage out of a window of a car driving to make it look like they are windows.
Let’s talk about how we made this car! It’s really the only item we made for this set design, but we put a lot of time and detail into it.
- 4 1×2 boards (Home Depot) You will need to cut them down to make the frame of your car.
- 1 4×8 ft. sheet of coroplast
- Grip Rite tin caps (for securing screws in foam)
- 1 4×8 ft. 1/2 inch thick sheet of insulation foam (white with silver coating, Home Depot)
- Various colors of acrylic paint/paint brushes
- Hot knife (for cutting foam)
- X-acto knife (for cutting coroplast)
- Optional: add real lights for headlights
I had an amazing kid’s pastor friend who actually did a lot of the work on creating this car, but I will do my best to break down the details on how she did it. You will first need to create a base for the car using the 1×2 boards. You can see in the pictures above what our base looks like. We just cut the boards down to the right size and screwed them together to make a solid base for the car. If you are not great with wood (like me) you can skip this part, but your car will be much less sturdy.
Next, you will want to add the body of the car to the wood base. You will need to cut your base body shape out of the sheet of coroplast using an x-acto knife. If your lines aren’t perfect, that’s ok! Our lines were far from perfect and it still turned out great. To create the sides of the car, you will need to score through only one layer of the coroplast to bend it back in the correct spots. It should be a pretty basic shape because you are going to add the details in foam later. Once you have your shape cut out you will screw the coroplast into the wood frame. We waited until after the body of the car was assembled to paint it, but you can choose to paint it before attaching it to the wood frame.
Now, it’s time to get detailed! We made all the details out of the insulation foam sheet except for the license plate. The license plate was a piece of leftover coroplast. You will need to remove the plastic covering from both sides of the insulation foam before attempting to cut it into the shapes you need with the hot knife. Cut out all the shapes for the details you want to add. Paint them before attaching them to the car. We screwed the foam pieces into the coroplast, but we added the tin caps to keep the screws secure in the foam. Finish the car off by adding any additional coats of paint if desired. Funny story: we actually painted the car a dark yellow color first, realized it looked like a school bus, and painted over it with the turquoise paint. I like how it turned out in the end! If you want to go all out, add some cheap lights as headlights so your car can actually light up!
Other than the car, we purchased a lot of used real road signs on Offer Up for only $50. I would suggest checking Craigslist as well. We wanted them to look old and used since we were going for that vintage look so it worked out well. We screwed the signs directly into the stage or into small wooden stands and screwed the stands into the stage to keep them secure. They are actually much bigger and heavier than you realize close up.
In our 1st-2nd grade room we had to keep everything light and portable as usual. We share that space with a school during the week so we have to set it up and tear it down each week. We used small construction cones we already had on hand and purchased these play road signs to add some theming to this smaller space. They are smaller and super lightweight, but perfect for a smaller or portable space. We simply stack the cones and put the road signs and cones in a large cabinet during the week.