Light of Lights

Nathan Venegas from Asbury Church in Madison, AL brings us this awesome Christmas vibe.

From Nathan: This stage design was inspired by several different posts on this site, namely Stringtrest and Floating Arcs. I’ve also wanted to build some marquee signs for a while, so we went with it this time since we focused on the word HOPE for the Advent season. (Found tons of designs on Pinterest, of course.) A lot of work went into this design and I was the most excited for the Advent season as I have been in a long time. Very thankful for our team and for how this blessed our church and how it worked with everything to create an atmosphere for worship at Christmas.

For the marquee sign, we used luan for the inside of each letter. We made two of each and put a 2x4x6″ spacer in between so they could all be free standing. Total width was close to 16′. We ran a 2x4x16′ board along the bottom and screwed each letter to the board to keep them from sliding around and to keep the “P” from falling over as well.

For the letter casing, we used Ram Board from HD. I cut it down to 10″ widths and scored it wherever there was a 90º angle. So, for the most part, the casings are solid, and very long cuts. The casings were hot glued to the luan. This got very tricky at some points. You have to make sure when attaching the spacers between the luan letter cutouts that the front and back cutouts are exactly even. I laid them flat, placed the spacers in between and used a speed square to make sure they were even so that when I added the casing, it would lay perfectly. The “O” was the most challenging letter, in this case and the casing did NOT lay well. I had to make some adjustments on the way, but they weren’t noticeable from the floor.

What IS noticeable (and what I was least happy about) is some warping from painting the Ram Board. I’ll see about using laminate instead next time, though that would be more labor intensive. We used G-50 bulbs, which I found sets of 12 of (very convenient) at HD for around $10/ea. We were able to plug them in separately.

Additionally, we made two smaller sets of these marquee signs for photo booths for our contemporary and traditional services. These were about 1/6th scale and used 1 single 50-light strand of G-40 bulbs each. We also used one of the smaller sets for our float in the Huntsville Christmas parade which we were invited to participate in for the first time in our 30+ year history. I love how much use we got out of this design.

The side panels are simply varying lengths(6′-8′) of 8″ width luan boards, bent at different amounts, lit from top and bottom to create some great shadows and depth.
I found several ‘how to’ videos on making the twine globes. We used 3′ diameter balloons from Amazon, some glue, and a lot of patience.

You can find a story archive of me talking through the process on our Instagram account. (It was getting late when I started that, so forgive the shenanigans.) What I love most about creating is facing obstacles and finding solutions that are right there in front of you and don’t require waiting until the morning when Home Depot opens to get what you need.

I’m all about texture more than anything. I’m also all about recycling/repurposing. We already had most of the material for this set from previous set designs, including luan, Edison bulbs, chandeliers, string light sets. The cost breakdown for everything is also in the Instastory.

I’m also all about creating sets that are versatile. The beauty of this design is that we were able to take out the Hope sign and the trees but keep the globes and the side panels up until Ash Wednesday when we’ll install a new set for our series leading up to Easter.

2 responses to Light of Lights

  1. This looks fantastic! I love the different textures! I’m curious how the string globes are attached so that the Edison bulb is in the center. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great question, Christina! Thanks! I attached them to the cable of each pendant using brackets I found in the electrical dept of Home Depot. They come in packs of 10, which was perfect. I couldn’t find the packs online, but they’re also included in electrical junction boxes for ceiling fans. They’re small plastic grey brackets, you can see them pictured here: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Commercial-Electric-1-1-2-in-Deep-15-3-cu-in-Ceiling-Fan-Box-with-Metal-Cover-CMB150/205383181
    I just placed them at the appropriate height, and then simply hung the twine globes to them and they stayed perfectly. I’m sure there’s a much more technical way of doing this, but this is just kinda how I roll! LOL

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