Instagram Inspired Set Design
This set design was inspired by the 252 Basics theme of the month: In Focus (Individuality). The idea behind this set design was to have an "Instagram" feel, and to have lots of pictures of the kids all over the environment to represent their individuality. The kids absolutely love this set design because it features them! The minute they walk in the room they start looking for pictures of themselves and their friends, and counting the amount of times they can find their face in the room. Most of the time and effort for this set went into finding, editing, and printing pictures, but it was totally worth it.
The right side of our stage features a large camera, some foam frames, and some polaroid picture props. All of these props were easy to make, and were constructed all in one afternoon. For the camera, I bought a piece of black foam board and a styrofoam wreath. I didn't have to cut the black foam board at all. I cut a small rectangular shape out of a piece of leftover foam board for the "flash" and hot-glued it to the top of the black foam board. Next, I hot-glued a piece of aluminum foil to the piece of leftover foam, and covered the styrofoam wreath with foil as well. I hot-glued the wreath to the center of the foam board, and added letter stickers to the center of the camera. If you have great handwriting you probably wouldn't need the stickers. The camera probably took me 30 minutes to put together. For the polaroid picture props, I just cut a square out of the center of the foam board with an x-acto knife. I made a black one that says #individuality and a yellow one that says #genkids. I used the squares I cut out of the picture props to cut out the smaller foam frame decorations. I did use a ruler and pencil to get more even lines, but you could probably just freehand them as well. I'm a bit of a perfectionist.
The left side of our stage features a giant iPhone, more foam frames, and hashtags. The iPhone was also easy to make, and the kids think it is super cool. I took a piece of white foam board that I already had on hand and rounded off the corners with an x-acto knife. Next, I cut out a rectangle for the screen from black poster board, and hot-glued it to the foam board. I added the home button and camera features with gold and black sharpies. I wanted to add apps to the screen, but ran out of time. You could easily go online, search for images of apps, print them on cardstock, cut them out, and hotglue them to the screen if you so desire. The red cardboard "hashtag" was actually a sharp leftover from our Scripture Sunday set design. I used this hashtag as the template for all of the hashtags you can see hanging from the front of the stage, the ceiling around the room, and on the side banners. I traced the cardboard hashtag onto different colors of poster board I already had in my office using a pencil, cut them out with scissors and an x-acto knife, and strung them using fishing line. The colorful hashtags really make the room pop, and they didn't cost me anything aside from the several hours of tracing and cutting.
The side banners feature pictures of our kids and leaders from the past year. We put the pictures into a screen saver called Photo Wall (comes standard with OS X) that made the pictures look like they were in photo frames. We recorded it, and set it on a continuous loop so there are always different pictures scrolling by on the screens. I had some leftover hashtags so I strung them from the banners on the left side. We used hashtags, 8.5x11 double-sided faux polaroid pictures, and black speech bubbles to decorate the ceiling around the room. The faux polaroid pictures can be created using this cheat I found on Pinterest. If you have Photoshop skills, I'm sure you can find an easier way of doing this. We used scotch tape to tape two pictures back to back since they would be hanging from the ceiling. For the black speech bubbles, we free-handed different speech bubble shapes on black poster board (two per poster board sheet), cut them out with scissors, and wrote different hashtag sayings on them in silver sharpie. Our hashtag sayings included the theme of the month, the verse reference, our kid's ministry name, selfie, the virtue of the month, our church hashtag, and several others.
We expanded the decorations to the AVL booth, back windows, and entryway with lots of adorable faux polaroid pictures of our kids and leaders. We made the faux polaroids using the same method as the 8.5x11 pictures except these were made on 4x6 photos and cut to size. We found a 3-pack of green, pink, and purple twine at the Dollar Tree, and used it to string the polaroids. If you can't find colorful twine at the Dollar Tree, try this baker's twine on Amazon. Don't forget to make the single pictures that are hanging double-sided, so no matter how they turn you can still see a picture. We used these adorable mini assorted color clothespins to pin the pictures onto the twine on the tech booth. We also made speech bubble shapes out of these peel and stick chalkboard sheets, wrote more silly hashtag sayings on them, and stuck them to the walls around the room.
We brought our environment all the way out to the main hallway this month. We made a fun Instagram photo booth prop by downloading this free template, and customizing it to fit our kid's ministry. We sent the finished product to Costco's photo lab since they have the option of printing it directly on heavy poster board. I wasn't sure if I was going to have to attach it to foam board after I received it, but it was thick enough on it's own. We decided it was best to hang it from the ceiling in front of the entrance to the main kid's ministry room using fishing line, rather than just leaving it out for people to use. I think it turned out really well. The info table features two framed pictures, and more strings of twine with faux polaroid pictures pinned with clothespins. I bought the picture frames for $1 each at Dollar Tree, and used one of the 8.5x11 faux polaroid pictures with a large group picture of the kids in one of the frames and printed the theme slide for the month on glossy paper in the other frame. I made sure to include pictures of families and leaders in the polaroid pictures at our info table.
I think this set design is great to remind the kids that we are fearfully and wonderfully made by God. He created each and every one of us as unique individuals, with different gifts and talents that we can use to make a difference in our world. How would you use some of the ideas from this set design in your own kid's ministry environment?