Lights Dropped Out

Lights Dropped Out

Dan Grueber from Arlington Countryside Church (ACC) in Arlington Heights, IL brings us this pallet wall with lights popping through.

From Dan: At ACC, we were looking for a way to make a major impact on our worship stage. Previously we had dressed it up with some lighting affects here and there but we were looking for something that could serve as the basis for future designs. Our other unique challenge was to work within a VERY tight budget.

We decided to take some of the reclaimed pallet wood ideas listed here and do our own thing. Starting the the fall of 2015, we launched an initiative for outreach into the community and we wanted to design a new stage to have a major impact on our church year.

We built 4 panels of wood, all 6 feet wide with two panels at 8 feet tall and 2 at 12 feet tall for a total width of 24 feet. Since our stage is around 30 feet wide in total, we covered a good portion of it with this design. Each of these panels were built just like and interior house wall using 18″ on center spacing of studs. The front was clad in used pallet wood and were over lapped to give the best look. We found out that the easiest way to disassemble these pallets was to cut the sides off and pry deck of the pallet of the middle stringer. Just the pallets alone took us nearly 12 hours to complete (2 days).

Due to how tall these were, we were afraid of tipping, especially since our stage is used for the audience during upward basketball games so we secured each panel together, created 6′ long stabilizing feet for the panels (3 feet in front, 3 feet in back) and secured with with aircraft safety cable to our truss system at the top of each panel. Once the panels were complete we hung a series of 19 vintage edison bulbs hooked into two dimmer packs which we had wired in the ceiling of the stage area.

The most complicated part of all of this was the lettering that we used for our campaign “Each One Reach One”. Each letter was approximately 24″ tall and we back lit with 4 strips of LED tape. These letters were donated to us by a packaging company which had a CAD table available to them so each letter was precision cut (I work there so I just threw it on the table after hours). The top two lines had a separate DMX decoder from the bottom 2 Lines which was due to the voltage drop in the LED tape. We found out too late that the LED tape does not like to be driven off of the DMX Decoder power and for later projects we purchased a 300W 12v DC power supply recommended by another design on here. To complete the look, we lined up 5 LED light bars that we had from previous designs along the bottom to set a nice glue up the panels. Staged above the panels on the truss system were 4 LED Par’s which were also left from previous lighting designs.

These letters were actually removed and placed on a separate panel to hang over the entryway to our worship center. Since putting this all together we have had several iterations of stuff hanging on/in front off the panels. These panels served to be very versatile throughout our ministry year. We recently celebrated our 50th anniversary and made a 36″ diameter glowing sign that matched the logo that was designed to promote the celebration (Picture attached, that was a completely different set of issues)

All in all we spent right around $400 for this project. The materials list goes something like this:

10 12′ 2×4’s
28 8′ 2×4’s
50 used pallets (donated free, we got 80 but had way too many left over)
16′ of aircraft safety cable
19 Vintage Edison Bulbs
19 12′ Electrical cords with socket plugs
2 Power Strips
2 DMX 512 Decoders
32′ of RGB LED tape 5050 300 (Super Night Brand off of Amazon)
Various XLR Cables
Various screws, cables ties, extension cords and stables were also used.

This is by far the most ambitious project our church has ever taken and a majority of this project was completed by 2 people (limited number of people that wanted to play carpenter).

God definitely blessed us on this project and it has gotten many complements throughout it’s use. It is also extremely resilient and is still standing strong almost 6 months later (I wanted to submit it last fall but I was too busy to write this up).

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4 responses to Lights Dropped Out

  1. Digging’ this design! Especially the letters! Great job, guys! Where would I find company to make letters like that??

    • We just happened to get lucky because I work for a packaging company that had a CAD table that I could use. There are some places online you can purchase them for if you google “Custom CAD Cut Wooden Letters”.

  2. Coolest website ever.

  3. Coolest website ever!

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