Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Weird Animals VBS

Gotta admit, that when I found out the theme of this year's VBS, Weird Animals, I was not feeling it, at least from a decorating standpoint.
I watched the video from Group on how they created the set and related decor, 
and I was still lukewarm.

But woah.
Once we started creating, it was pretty magical.
The theme was extremely forgiving in that anything goes and more is better.
And since it's based on fantasy creatures and habitat, 
there really weren't any rules.

Here is the entrance to the sanctuary.
Used the Group elephant ear leaves to make an archway.

At each column we set spray-painted fake plants.
We actually spray painted a lot of plants. 
What church doesn't have an unending supply of those ancient, dusty
and hardly appealing fake ficas trees and ferns around?
We decided to retire some of ours and sprayed them with fluorescent paint. 
The result was was more attractive than how they usually look!

The one on the left got a rainbow paint job.
Don't forget the trunks; here on the right it's yellow with black stripes.
And don't forget to paint the Spanish moss that serves as filler in the pot!
For the ferns that normally live in the sanctuary (and were off limits for painting),
we stuck some of the fan flowers in them.

We had ordered two of the Hip Habitat Fabric Wall Hangings.
Rather than build a PVC frame, we used six rolling walls, 
attaching the fabric to the back of the walls using Tpins.
By using the walls, we were able to angle the hanging nicely 
(rather than it being a straight line).

More spray-painted plants.
(The fan to make the waterfall appear to flow is hidden behind the ferns.)
We also thought it would be cool to use a sound machine that has the water feature on it.

The giant flowers were so much fun to make!
I used a different painting scheme than Group.
We spray painted the flower petal edges (I think they used regular paint 
and then sprayed water and feathered the edges).
I sprayed black around the centers to make them pop.
We made stands for flowers using leftover insulation foam.

For the grasses in front of the flowers,
I made flowers using pipe cleaners and pom poms.

The bases of the large flowers are covered in the Group-purchased
water fabric.

The waterfall happened to be one of my favorite projects. 
I had Ace Hardware save me super sturdy Stihl boxes (the long ones trimmers come in),
and these were the perfect base for the waterfall rock walls.
The smaller walls on each side are separate pieces, so everything can be disassembled and moved.
I used two colors of cellophane for the water (teal blue and iridescent).

Once the rock walls are painted, I sprayed on that Krylon
Stone Spray Paint to give them some texture and realism.

For the pond, I found pictures of koi fish online, printed them out, 
cut them out and put them under the topmost layer of cellophane.

This little guy is a line-art fish drawing I found online, painted him all weird,
and put him onto a plexiglass stand so it looks like he's jumping.
I used white liquid chalk to make the water rings.

We made tons of truffula trees and used them as markers on the pews
to designate where the specific crews sit.

For all of our large foam pieces we used the 2" foam.
Hands down, one of our best decisions.
Amazingly sturdy.
Which is a must since we take all of our decor and pass it forward at least twice.

For the large trees, I wasn't crazy about Group's foliage (the wraparound of bulletin board paper),
so I opted for using crepe paper flowers 
and hanging Group-purchased "Spanish moss" from the branches. 
(Both flowers and moss are attached with Tpins, which will allow for easy removal, transport and reattachment when passed on to the next church!)

In our Fellowship Hall, for the snack table centerpieces,
I went to my trusty (and huge) stash of pickle jars stored in my garage.
Each jar got two pieces of the 2" foam glued inside (to brace the metal-skewered sign),
surrounded by spray-painted dried Spanish moss. 
We tucked some plastic critters inside, embellished the empty space
at the top of the jar with curled pipe cleaners and pom poms, 
and voilà!

I reached out to display/outdoor signage companies for pieces of large cardboard, 
my Ace Hardware men for boxes (and they mixed all my paint 
and had it ready for pick up a few days later).

For the wishing well which we used for a Bible skit,
I had been to the local high school drama production of Beauty and the Beast and 
seen a great wishing well prop complete with wheels.
I called after the production ended and asked if they loaned props.
She said they would take it apart, so if I wanted it, come and get it!
It's huge, with a crank, bucket and rope.
I've found that when it comes to VBS, 
locals are always willing to pitch in and help any way they can!


Josie // Hello Josephine said...

I love this project! As I looked at the pictures I found myself singing that Willy Wonka song: "Come with me and you'll be in a world of pure imagination..."

Christine said...

I can see where it would of been hard to get started and how it just took off! The results, I'm sure, were more impressive then you could of imagined.

Hannah's Tutus said...

Great Job ours is in a few weeks so I am loving seeing how the stuff is coming together for other churches

Lori said...

Can you tell me how you attached your pool noodles to the pews? :) Fantastic job.

Dawn Gahan said...

Lori, hope you visit this comment section again, as I don't have a way to reach out to you. We used clear fishing line to attach the noodles; just tied them right on. It's strong, doesn't show, and kept us from the potential of damaging the pews had we used tape.

Lori said...

Great. Thanks for the tip. I'll give it a try.

Cindy Halunen said...

Great job! I am wondering if you still have your Hip Habitat Wall Hanging? If it's in good shape, is there any chance we could buy it from you?

Thank you
Cindy Halunen

Dawn Gahan said...

Cindy, hope you get this response! The wall and all of our decor have been paid forward to three other churches. When is your VBS and where are you located? There's a slight chance that we could loan it to you if your dates don't coincide with the other churches using it.


Casey said...

what did you make your giant flowers from?

Dawn Gahan said...

Hi, Casey!
Hope you come back to visit and get this response, as I don't know any other way to reach out to you.

We used cardboard. My men in the red vests at Ace (I have a love affair with this hardware store), help me out every year at VBS. This year, they collected giant sheets of cardboard for me (pulled from whatever packaging came into the store and would have been otherwise recycled or trashed). I also got cardboard from a local environmental graphics / display company. Their sheets were HUGE!

I've found that people are so very willing to contribute to VBS. All it takes is a phone call!

Hope this helps.

billie3863 said...

What did you attach your large flowers to?! Thanks!

Dawn Gahan said...

billie3863, hope you come back to see this comment. Am not familiar enough with Google Plus to figure out how to communicate with you via that channel.

We scoured the warehouse of our church and gathered random pieces of super long wood and lengths of PVC piping. Sprayed them green and then attached them to the back of the flowers with screws. We ran the backing clear up to the top of the highest petal so they wouldn't flop. Hope that helps!

Andrea said...

Fantastic job! We were working today on our giant flowers and had trouble figuring the best way to attach them so they would stand up. How did you attach yours so they stood up?

Dawn Gahan said...

Andrea, hope you come back to get this answer!

We scoured the warehouse of our church and gathered random pieces of super long wood and lengths of PVC piping. Sprayed them green and then attached them to the back of the flowers with screws. We ran the backing clear up to the top of the highest petal so they wouldn't flop.

Then one of the dads fabricated a base using random pieces of the 2" insulation. The base was about a foot high and in the shape of an X.

Hope that helps!

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