They wanted to do a large scale set design for their “Episode” event, which is a weekend winter retreat for students from multiple churches. The decision was made to make a large wall of gridded squares, lit from the inside using LED strips. Due to cost, they decided to only light every other square.
The wall consisted of 90 squares (45 lined and lit with LED strips). It was constructed out of 2×4 (outermost frame) 2×2 (all the inside framing) and 1×4 (used as a face board across the entire front). They were able to rip 2×4 down the middle to create 2×2, in order to save some money. They also found 1x4x14 “strips” from Home Depot, which was much cheaper than buying 1x4x12 standard grade lumber. The total size of the wall was 30 feet wide and 12 feet tall, with each square being 22.5”x22.5”.
The event was actually in a different state, so the entire set was constructed in a warehouse, then transported 300 miles to the event venue. Because of this, they made the wall in 5 identical panels, each 3 squares wide, and 6 squares tall, and then tied the panels together using eye bolts once they got to their venue. This design also allowed them to use the set again in different, smaller venues, where maybe only 2 or 3 panels would fit.
They currently have 2 panels laid on their side in our middle school room, which is much smaller and has little vertical space.
The 45 lit squares were lined all the way around with RGB led strips, and then carefully dressed with 18G wire, running to DMX encoders. Each DMX encoder could only run 8 squares, and since each panel had 9 lit squares, they decided to connect all the lit squares on the bottom row to their own decoder. The lit squares were then backed with white Coroplast squares cut to 24”x24”. When it was all complete, each of the 5 panels weighed around 175 pounds, but held up very nicely in transit.
Since they had already run the electrical, it only took about 2 hours once at the venue to piece the wall together and get it in place. The entire wall was set on 6 large black road cases, and tied to a hanging truss for stability.
In total, the set took around 150 man hours to complete, which was mostly Saturdays in a warehouse with half a dozen volunteers.