Josiah Palmer from VC2 in Tennille, GA brings us this joyful set design.
Their stage design was built around their series on Joy, “Tis the season to be jolly”. They did a series in July called Christmas in July so they didn’t want to do a full blown Christmas set again. Instead, they decided to focus it on the word joy and synonyms in different languages. To do all of this, they needed a canvas so they built 2 false walls (10′ x 8′) out of shipping pallets and 2x4s (for the framework). These walls were self-standing but they did secure them with cables attached to the ceiling to be extra safe. Once they finished building them, they took 5 words (joy, cheer, happy, jolly, and jubilee) and used Google Translate to get them in 9 other languages (french, spanish, portuguese, swedish, chinese, german, japanese, gaelic, and italian). They chose these languages because of their racial mix in congregation and also the countries that watch their video messages online.
To give the walls a more Christmas whimsical feel, they used a staple gun and 4 sets of white Christmas lights (2 per wall) and poked some lights through any crack or hole in the boards. Because the pallets they got varied in size and how bowed they were, there were natural gaps between boards that they utilized to put the lights through.
To make the focal word (joy) stand out from the others, they made it a separate piece. They did this by taking the font they wanted and displaying the word through a projector onto the wall. Then they traced the outline onto a large roll of paper. Once that was complete, they set the paper on a table and outlined it using 50ft of copper wire. Once they had the basic shape, they cut shorter pieces of copper and soldered them to give more support. It took a support beam about every 2 to 3 inches. Once the piece had cooled down, it was time to wrap it in yarn. Since it was a completely separate piece from the rest, they used a paper mache type technique to allow the yarn to have extra support. So they mixed water, Elmer’s glue, corn starch, and sugar into a watery mixture. Then they soaked the yarn in the mixture then wrapped it around the copper wire frame in a random fashion. Once it dried, it became hard and helped support the whole thing. To be extra secure, they purchased some cheap hair spray and gave it a good coat of that as well. They used a few screws to hang the “joy” on the false-wall.
Because they always do a bigger Christmas set than their normal series, they wanted the whole auditorium to feel whimsically overwhelming when you first walk in. So, they purchased 60+ paper lanterns from PaperLanternStore.com of various sizes ranging from 3″ to 36″. Most were white but they also ordered a some red and a few gold star-styled ones. Since their series colors were red, white, gold, and silver, they used some left over gold and silver spray paint and painted some of the medium sized lanterns. From there, they created a grid on the ceiling using 40lb fishing line and attached each lantern using 4lb fishing wire at various heights. They intentionally clustered more toward the front and made it fan out a little more as it got to the back of the auditorium.
Finally, they had 6 LED par lights that they placed on the floor and shown on specific points of interest. An off-white one was put on the word Joy to help it pop even more. White lanterns received an orangey-yellow light or a white light and red lanterns received red lights.
To tie everything in and to help spark conversation, they took every word used on the wall and created a wall translation guide that is mixed in with their pre-service slideshow.
All in all they spent about $300 broke down as follows:
2 x 4’s for wall frames – $130
Pallets – free from local auto parts store
White paint – free (left over from building project)
Yarn & Copper Wire/Solder – $30
Paper Lanterns – $130
Fishing line – free (left over from previous set)