Don’t Leave Foam Without It

Chris Campbell submitted their team design from Calvary Christian Church in Winchester, KY. It’s these awesome foam trees.

From Chris:

Things we didn’t have on hand:
Foam insulation board (tree cutouts)
Lights for trees (monthly rental)
Wax paper (DIY Diffuser)
Some 2×4 cut down to use for mounts
Some 1×2 furring strips (supports for the tall trees)
Some L-shaped Corner Braces
Adhesive Spray

Not including the cost of renting the LED pars for the tree uplighting, we spent less than $200. We already had the trusses and all of the various stage risers on hand, as well as the 2 Christmas trees that we placed on either side of the stage. We already had most of the cabling, so we had to get a handful of extra cables (namely a couple of power extensions).

Concept:

We wanted to create a ‘forest’ of trees on stage. Originally, we wanted to line the entire back of the stage with trees and then uplight them using the rented LED lights. However, during the week leading up to the stage turn, we decided that it would look better if we spaced the trees out to tree and fill in the space more, using less trees. Also, we didn’t want all of the trees to be identical, so we created 3 different sizes.

Build:

We took 1 sheet of foam insulation board and drew a template of a tree along the short side of the board. We then used the rest of the board to create a slightly bigger tree. This way we got 2 trees cut out of a single board. The long trees we just used an entire board.

We started out drawing a single template for each size tree. Then, we used soldering irons to cut the tree out of the foam. This technique sealed the outer edge of the foam, reducing the change that the foam would flake off on the edges. Then we used the templates to draw out the rest of the trees.

Once the trees were cut, we used the 2×4 bases and the Corner brackets to make a stand. Then we used double-sided tape (lots of it) to secure each 2×4 to the carpeted stage. The trees will still come loose if you push on them, but they won’t fall over if you just walk past them either.

Once we got the trees in place, we realized that the medium and tall trees were a but unsteady and had a tendency to bend over at the base. We then got the 1×2 furring strips and used those to keep the trees upright.

Lighting:

We own some larger LED pars (OptiRGBs), that we decided to hang on our trussing to wash the stage with color. To reduce the ‘spot’ effect of the Pars, we took some Wax paper and taped it over the light output, carefully avoiding covering up and exhaust ports from the light. The LED lights are cool enough and don’t overheat, so there was no danger of catching the wax paper on fire. We got this idea from a “DIY LED Diffuser” video we saw on YouTube.

Once we positioned the wash lights where we wanted, it became clear we needed to uplight the trees using slippers. We had already rented about 15 slimpars for our previous stage, so we went and rented another 15 to put a light under each tree. Again, we used wax paper as a cheap Diffuser to help soften the ‘spot’ effect on each tree.

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