We created this set for an 8-week series I wrote this year called Names of God. It will be available for you to purchase TOMORROW! This set design would also be great for anyone doing a board game or scrabble theme in your services or for an event. We actually used all the set pieces we created and bought for this series for our VBS this year since it was board game themed so we splurged a little bit on some of the items since they were going to get so much use. Names of God teaches kids about eight names of God from the Old Testament and what their meanings tell us about God’s character.
The majority of the work we did went into the letter tiles and tile holders on the main stage. We went with purchasing some already-created items for our K-2nd grade room and the wall in the kid’s room which did end up costing a bit more than our normal set design budget. We were able to do this because we used all of the items for our Game Changer VBS and worked them into that budget. If you are unable to purchase these items you can definitely make them, it will just take more time and effort. My inspiration for this set design and series was the board game, Scrabble.
Let’s talk about what we made for the main stage first since that was the majority of the work we did for this series. We created these larger than life letter tiles and tile holders. The tile holders were 8 ft. long! We made letter tiles for almost every letter in the alphabet and a few extras of some of the letters. In the Names of God series, we learned about a different name of God each week. I wanted to be able to spell each of the names of God on the tile holders, so we would change out the letter tiles each week. This might seem like a lot of work, but it was totally worth it! The names were all difficult to spell, pronounce, and remember even for an adult. It was so great to have the name of God each week on the stage right in front of the kids as a visual to help them learn and remember it. Also, we used the letter tiles and the tile holders for a lot of the large group stage games and the kids loved being able to actually use and play with the set design pieces. So, these set pieces were fun, functional, and informative!
Now, let’s talk about how we made them. Originally, I was not thinking creatively and I wanted to make them out of real wood. Talk about heavy and expensive! My amazing set design guru and friend, Donna, came up with an idea to make them out of much cheaper and lighter weight materials and simply make them look like wood. I was skeptical at first about the idea, but as usual, she was right! We made the tile holders out of 4×8 sheets of coroplast from Lowe’s. Coroplast isn’t the cheapest. It runs just over $20 a sheet, but we were able to make both of the tile holders from one sheet of coroplast. We cut the coroplast into two pieces, keeping the 8 ft. length for each of the tile holders. Coroplast has these convenient ridges built into it so it’s easy to cut it and bend it any way you want. We bent the coroplast into the shape of the tile holder and added some hard foam to the end of each of them. We taped it really well using clear packing tape and duct tape, keeping the tape on parts of the tile holder that wouldn’t be easily seen. We painted them with a light tan house paint, let that dry, then used some brown acrylic paint to add the faux wood lines. You would think that part would be difficult, but it was the easiest part! We just used a foam brush and added random lines and “notches” and it looked so real from a distance people actually thought it was real wood. The letter tiles were made out of 4×8 foam sheets from Lowe’s. I like the 1 inch white foam with the silver coating on it for this project. We removed the silver coating and the plastic coating, cut it into squares and added rounded edges using a hot knife, painted them the same way we painted the tile holders, and added letters and numbers using black acrylic paint and a foam brush to finish them off. Your tiles don’t have to be perfectly the same size, just close enough that they will look about the same size from a distance. Make sure your letter tiles are small enough to get the longest word you want to create on your tile holder. The longest name of God is eight letters and it just barely fit, so our letters were about 1×1 ft.
We utilized our DIY environmental projection screens again by making them giant letter tiles that spelled out our Kid’s ministry name (DSC KIDS) and GOD. If you are interested in our process for making those screens and masking images onto them, check out this post for more detailed instructions.
You can see in one of the pictures above an awesome 6 ft. tall scrabble board we put on the wall for the kids to play with. It was rather pricey, but we decided to spring for it since the kids could play with it and it could remain up even after the series was over as a pre and post-service activity. For whatever reason they don’t make the little scrabble letter tiles removable and I wanted the kids to actually be able to play with it! I simply bought some velcro circles at Walmart and added one side of the velcro to each of the squares on the board and the other side to each of the letter tiles. This did require about 200 velcro circles, but the kids have absolutely loved playing with it for months now and it has held up really well to all the wear and tear it has gotten.
I don’t have any pictures of our K-2nd grade room, but we kept it super simple for this series. We didn’t want to make any more of the letter tiles so we just bought a pack of letter tiles already made from the Shindigz, the same website we ordered the scrabble board from. We only ordered one pack of letter tiles and I would recommend ordering two if you can afford it. You only get one of each of the letters and it can be tricky to spell a lot of words when you only have one of each letter to work with. We ended up spelling a few words on two of the walls and just using the leftover letters randomly on the other wall. It still turned out super cute and was so quick and easy. You can of course make your own letters out of poster board, cardboard or whatever else you have on hand if you don’t want to pay for the ones that are pre-made.
If you loved this set design, make sure you check out the Names of God Curriculum Series.