Endless VBS Promotion, Decorating and Snack Ideas!

Katie DeCilloIf there’s one thing we know you’re doing right now, it’s looking for inspiration!  VBS is seriously just around the corner.  We’re really excited about all the great sharing and conversations going on on our Facebook wall, but we know VBSers are active on Pinterest, too!

We’re doing our best to find what you’re pinning and pin it to our board so that our followers can see what you’re up to.  Be sure to check out the TONS of ideas VBSers have posted online!

Tip: Don’t see what you’re looking for on our board?  Type “Colossal Coaster World,” “Jungle Jaunt” or search terms like “theme park decorations” in the search bar and hit enter to see what others are posting.

Happy Pinning!

A Colossal Coaster at Prestonwood Baptist!

katie2We are always so thrilled this time of year when pictures start showing up on our social media networks like Facebook and Twitter and in our inboxes of all the wonderful things churches are doing to promote and prepare for their VBS programs.

Last week, someone forwarded me these images of an incredible welcome space Prestonwood Baptist created for their VBS registration.  They were even kind enough to share the instructions so you can build your own coaster!

DOWNLOAD ROLLER COASTER INSTRUCTIONS

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Check out that Ferris wheel to the left!  You can find Melita’s easy instructions for building your own moving Ferris wheel here. IMG_6179

You can get your own giant roller coaster background by purchasing the VBS 2013 Supersized Coaster Backdrop.  These 6′ x 3′ backdrop panels can be used like wallpaper to create a topsy-turvy coaster that will wrap around any space. Ideal for hallways and classrooms, it’s a set of three panels packaged without folds for a crease-free, easy set up. The design allows you to connect multiple sets over and over for an endless coaster scene.

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We love this giant coaster they have suspended from the ceiling! Looks like it was made out of pipe insulation.  And I spy several of the VBS 2013 Inflatable Coaster Cars up there!  They make the perfect addition to any homemade coaster and also function well as a fun table-topper!

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In this picture, you can see even more of the suspended roller coaster, as well as a DIY marquee “ENTER” sign.  You can find instructions for making your own lighted sign here.

If you have pictures of your VBS space, please send them to us at katie.decillo@lifeway.com or upload them to our Idea Share App.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for VBS??

katie2aIf you’ve been around kids for any amount of time, you know they can be LOUD!  What’s more fun than to be a little loud during VBS?

This year, make sure you don’t miss these super fun Screamer Balloons.  They’re long balloons that make a crazy “screaming” noise when you let the air out!

Check out this funny video of some of our LifeWay Kids team trying them out for the first time.

Building the Swing Ride

Materials:swing1

  • Cardboard carpet tube (often free from carpet/flooring suppliers)
  • Hammered, silver metallic spray paint
  • Yellow spray paint
  • Optional: painters tape
  • 2” thick rigid insulation foam
  • Jig saw with fine tooth blade
  • Colored duct tape
  • Circle punch (scrapbooking tool)
  • Holographic scrapbook paper (with adhesive back is ideal)
  • Large Styrofoam ball (Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, or JoAnn’s)
  • Medium diameter dowel rods
  • Small diameter dowel rods
  • Red latex house paint
  • Paint brush and roller
  • Blue spray paint
  • 11×17” heavyweight paper
  • Swing template from Decorating Made Easy (CD-ROM)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Rotating Christmas tree stand (ours was purchased online here)
  • Dowel rod to fit Christmas tree stand
  • Scrap lumber
  • Screw gun & screws

 

1. Spray paint a cardboard carpet tub with silver metallic spray paint. Wrap with colorful tape (or painters tape and then spray paint again, then remove tape) to get a “barber pole” effect.

2. Trace a hula hoop onto 2″ foam TWICE to get 2 matching circles for the swing ride. Cut these out with the jig saw and line them up so they fit together. Glue together, paint, and then hide the seam with colorful duct tape. (This gives you a 4″ thick foam circle.) Embellish with holographic circles (cut from scrapbook paper) to resemble lights.

3. Trace the diameter of the outside edge of the carpet tube and then transfer it to the center of the 4″ circle. Cut all the way through so that it can fit snugly around the carpet tube. Slide into position on the top third of the carpet tube.

ball4. Paint a 10″ Styrofoam ball (or as large as you can find). Press it down onto the top of the carpet tube to mark where it needs to sit. You’ll likely need to “carve out” a place for it to fit over the tube. I used a paint can opener for that and it worked quite well.

5. Paint varying lengths and diameters of wooden dowels and then push them randomly into the Styrofoam ball all the way around… these will look like spikes. Position the ball (with spikes) on top of the carpet tube.

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6. Paint long, thin dowel rods (2 per swing). Print the template from the CD-ROM in the Decorating Made Easy book and create as many swings as you need from heavyweight paper. Decorate as desired. Hot glue 2 rods to each swing and then carefully press them into the bottom of the 4″ inch foam circle. Tip: Push the rods in at an angle to make the swings look as if they are moving fast.

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7. Find a dowel rod roughly the same diameter as a Christmas tree and screw it into the tree stand with the provided screws.

8. Trace the inside diameter of the carpet tube and then transfer it to a scrap piece of wood. Cut out with a jig saw then screw it to the top of the dowel rod (think “T”). Slide the tube over this and as the rod turns in the tree stand, so will the whole carpet tube!

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Building the Ferris Wheel

As an exclusive to our faithful blog readers, today and tomorrow we will post instructions to two decorating items that cannot be found anywhere else! These instructions are not even in the Decorating Made Easy book! We know you’ve been asking for them, so here they are… up first is the Ferris wheel. Be sure to check back tomorrow for the swing ride!

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 Materials:

  • 4×8’ rigid insulation foam board (½”thick)
  • Scrap pieces of ½” foam board
  • Scrap pieces of 2” foam board
  • Small scrap piece of ½” PVC pipe
  • Gorilla tape (stronger than duct tape)
  • Construction adhesive
  • Latex house paint and craft paint
  • Painters tape
  • Holographic/reflective scrapbook paper
  • Circle punch (various sizes)
  • Hot knife or heat gun
  • Jig saw with fine tooth blade
  • Optional: Low RPM (8 or so) DC motor, coupling, & housing (for bracing)

 

1. Use a makeshift compass to trace 2 identical half circles onto 2 pieces of thin foam board and cut out using a jig saw. Tape together from behind to make an 8’ diameter wheel.ferris wheel 1

2. Paint the wheel using either latex house paint or craft paint. Lay out your design with painters tape, then remove the tape after painting (see Decorating Made Easy for sample diagram). Tip: Purchase the blue insulation board instead of the pink and then you won’t have to paint a base coat… it’ll just look like blue sky behind the spokes/design!

3. Simulate lights around the wheel and spokes with holographic/reflective scrapbook paper. Use a circle punch to cut various sizes of circles, then attach wherever desired to the wheel.

4. If you want the wheel to move, make a small hole in the exact center by pressing the rod (attached to the motor) through. We attached our wheel directly to the rod with Gorilla Tape so that it would spin as the rod was spinning. If you don’t need your wheel to spin, simply tape it flat against the wall at whatever height you wish and attach the front pieces to it (building on in layers).

5. If the wheel will spin or be freestanding, it will need to be braced from the rear. Cut a scrap piece of 2″ foam into a circle (approx. 9-12″ in diameter) and push the rod (from the motor) all the way through the center to make a hole. Move it around a little to make the hole a little bit bigger than needed. Then cut a scrap of 1/2″ PVC pipe to approx. 2″ length and push it down inside that hole (needs to fit snugly). Use a little construction adhesive to hold it in place. This will help the wheel turn better because the rod didn’t squeal against the foam as it turned and it didn’t wear away or misshape the foam after hours of turning. Tip: Make sure the rod coming out of the motor slides easily through the PVC pipe. You don’t want that pipe too big or too small. Tape this foam circle to the back of the Ferris wheel. Make sure the holes line up exactly on top of each other. Then cut 4 “spokes” out of scrap 2″ foam (each approx. 2′ long). Round one end of each spoke so that it fits snugly up against the circle in the center. Be sure to place 2 “spokes” along the seam where the 2 pieces of the Ferris wheel fit together. This will give that seam stability. Then place the other 2 “spokes” on the opposite sides. Tape everything well to the Ferris wheel. When you get ready to put it in place vertically, be sure to get some help. It’s definitely a 2-person job!Ferris wheel sketch

6. Motor: If you got to see the Ferris wheel in action at any of our VBS Preview events, you probably checked out the back to see what was making it spin. We used the same motor that turned our airplane propeller in Amazing Wonders Aviation. Unfortunately, that particular motor and stand were built long ago so I can’t really speak to the exact specs for those pieces. I DO know the motor is a simple low speed or variable speed DC motor (approx. 8 RPM). These are available from any industrial supplier (such as Grainger, Harbor Freight, etc.). Ours has a rod and 2 couplers (couplings?) with the rod extending about 18-24″ (so that there’s plenty of room to incorporate the stand and anything the motor is spinning). We set our stand on top of a piano bench or plastic crate to get the full height we wanted. If the Ferris wheel will sit behind something else (like a roller coaster backdrop) you don’t have to worry about hiding any of that. Originally I had thought the Ferris wheel would sit in front of the coaster though, so I created a 3-sided box (think project board) and painted it black to hide what would be visible between the bottom of the spinning wheel and the floor on 3 sides. If yours will stand alone or be in front, that might be something you want to consider. (Or you can just drape everything with a black sheet.)

side sketch

7. Cut a round scrap of 2″ foam as a “spacer” of sorts between the base (the box where the motor is housed) and the spinning wheel. This just keeps the wheel turning smoothly and keeps it from rubbing against the motor’s base. It also helps eat up some length on the rod that sticks out (less to have to hide/cover on the front of the wheel).

8. Place the wheel on next. Then comes the piece with the “legs” (see below or Decorating Made Easy p. 30).

legs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Make sure the “leg piece” extends slightly above the spinning rod (rod goes through the top) and all the way to the floor. Measurements will vary. Cut the legs from a single piece of ½” foam (scrap is fine).

10. Trace a small hula hoop onto another scrap of 2″ foam and cut out with a jig saw. Use a hot knife or heat gun to smooth & seal the edges. This circle should be larger than the “legs” as it will be attached to the top of the leg piece and is the final piece of the Ferris wheel base. Paint as desired and finish off with a small wooden or foam circle in the exact center for added decoration.FW closeup

11. Center this circle on the top of the leg piece. Tape together from behind. Create a hole through the legs and into the outermost circle for the motor rod to enter, but be sure the rod does not go all the way through the outer circle.

12. Lean this final piece against the spinning wheel (with about 2 fingers space away from the wheel). There is no need to secure it as the angle and the support of the rod will keep it in place without needing to be secured. If needed, you could tape the legs to the floor from behind.

13. Trace 4 circles about the size of a small paper plate onto scraps of ½” foam. Cut them out with a jig saw or utility knife then cut them in half to yield 8 half circles. These will be the “baskets” where people would sit to ride. Paint as desired.

14. Tape the half circles from behind around the edge of the Ferris wheel.

 

Building the ENTER Sign

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Hey guys! Many of you asked for a STEP by STEP of the ENTER SIGN seen in the videos and at Preview events so here you go:

Materials:

12″ Chipboard letters (JoAnn’s or Hobby Lobby)

Round chipboard boxes (JoAnn’s or Hobby Lobby)

1 panel of high density foam insulation board, 2″ thick

Red latex house paint

Silver metallic spray paint

Jigsaw, fine tooth blade

Hacksaw blade

2 strings of Christmas or patio lights

Painter’s tape

Loctite Power Grab All Purpose Construction Adhesive, clear

 

EZ Steps:

1. Carefully cut off the front of the letter using an Exacto knife. Use this as template to layout the light bulbs. NOTE: You can buy any letter, A through Z, to spell or make a sign for “Registration” or “Welcome” or whatever you’d like!

2. Spray paint the inside and the edges of the letters with a silver metallic spray paint.

3. Cut the high density foam board to 2’ X 8’.

4. Center the letters and round boxes on the board allowing about 2 inches between each letter. Lightly score a few lines around them to mark their place on the board.

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5. Create a triangle at the bottom by striking a 45 degree angle from the bottom left and right corners of the board. This triangle will make the point of the arrow.

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6. Measure 2” from either side of the top letter. Strike a line to the bottom left corner of the board and another to the bottom right corner. This will form the left and right side of your sign. (You’re basically drawing the sign around the letters.) Freehand the curve at the top.

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7. Remove the letters and round boxes. Using a jigsaw, cut out the sign. If needed, use a hacksaw blade to finish the cut. Sand or file the sides to smooth out any rough edges.

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8. Using construction adhesive, position and glue the triangle/arrow in place. Construction adhesive can also be used to fill in the space – like spackling – between the triangle and the arch.

9. Paint the whole thing with red latex house paint. Use the same paint for the outside of the letters.

10. Measure 1″ around the outside edge and tape it off with painters tape.

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11. Spray paint the outside edge silver. Be careful to protect the middle ground of the sign using a scrap piece of cardboard or drop cloth.

12. Mark and cut out the holes in the letters and round boxes for the light sockets using an Exacto knife.

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13. Remove the painters tape. Use the construction adhesive to glue the letters and round boxes back into place. After the glue dries, use an apple corer, or a 3/4” drill bit, to cut the holes through the board for the light sockets.

14. Take the bulbs out of the light strand. Starting at the top of the sign and the end of the light strand, use your thumb to push the light sockets through the back side of the sign. Bring the socket flush to the inside of the letters. NOTE: Guide the socket through the hole with your index finger—just be sure it’s unplugged first!) Screw the light bulbs into place.

15. Tape off any unused light sockets and tape the loose cords to the back of the sign. Also, tape the easel to the back leaving one leg free.

Plug it in and have a great VBS!

Meet Mr. Mark

markLet’s kick off this week with some great decorating helps. Our buddy, Mark Jones, over at “Mr. Mark’s Classroom” is the master when it comes to reusing, repurposing, and recreating VBS decorations. But not only that… this year he is also the author of Decorating Made Easy. This year the decorating book has been completely retooled at YOUR request to feature ideas that are not only cost effective but easy to execute. That’s why we called in the expert. Be sure to check out all of Mark’s fabulous ideas on his blog…

 

classroom

 

Coaster Alley (Bible Study)

Main Gate (Worship Rally)

Cotton Candy Café (Snacks)

Global Expo (Missions)

Scissors & Stuff Emporium (Crafts)

Tune Town (Music)

Adrenaline Zone (Recreation)

Preschool Decorating Ideas

 

Also check out video walk-thrus of each of Mark’s decoration sites on the VBS Website…

And be sure to pick up your copy of Decorating Made Easy today!

 

Tabletopper, Photo Prop, or Something Else?

tomlinsonIs it a tabletopper, photo prop, or something else? It’s all these and more.

In case you haven’t heard there is a really cool, new product in the LifeWay VBS lineup. It’s our VBS 2013 Tabletopper! And for $6.99 it’s a lot of bang for your buck.

Just check out how we used these at our Preview events this year.

 

 

 

Of course these are great tabletoppers for any table you need to set up. You can use them on your sign up and enlistment tables, registration tables, snack tables, and the list goes on. Here you can see we used the side with the park scene to conceal our extra supplies in the Cotton Candy Cafe.

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But wait! You can turn them around to use the coaster car side as a photo prop. As we’ve done here:

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Would you like to see how we created the coaster car “seatbelt?” Well, you’re in luck, we just happen to have a few pictures to show you how.

First we cut two slits at the bottom of the safety bar on each side. Then we ran some grograin ribbon through the slits. You may want to but a small piece of tape over the end of the ribbon to help you thread it through the slits. We used black ribbon at our events, however I only had blue available when I made these for the post. You can use whatever color you wish.

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Next we stapled the ribbon on one side of the tabletopper. We only stapled one side so that folks could “adjust” the seatbelt by pulling the opposite side longer for large groups or shorter for small groups.

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See how easy that was to give the tabletoppers another use? We would love to hear your ideas about how you plan to use the tabletoppers or any VBS accessory in an unusual way.

 

Foto Friday and a Giveaway!

katie-thumbHey VBS’ers!   Who is getting ready to join us for a VBS Preview event in Nashville or Kissimmee?  We can’t wait to see you and share the excitement of Colossal Coaster World!  Get ready for a wild ride!

Did you know we’ve been sharing lots of photos from each event on our Facebook page?  There, you can find lots of creative ideas for decorating, snacks…and even some fun costume ideas!  We’ve been updating the album with photos during each event so that you can experience the whole thing with us!

741096_10151420332574948_122765358_oIf you have or will be attending a preview event, make sure you upload your photos, as well!  We really want our Facebook page to be the hub for sharing ideas for VBS 2013.  But that doesn’t work unless everyone shares!

And because it’s Friday, how about we give a little something away, huh?  Be sure to fill out the Rafflecopter form below to win some great Colossal Coaster World gear!

Enter below to win your very own Colossal Coaster World vendor apron, visor, collectable buttons, viewer keychains and headboppers!  You’ll be super stylish!  (If you win and you’re headed to Preview, you’ve basically already got your costume together so that you can enter to win a spot to the 2015 VBS Think Tank.  Woohoo!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Over the River…

img_5318Over the river (Little Pigeon River) and through the woods (Mt. Pisgah National Forrest) to VBS 2013 Events we go! It is going to be a COLOSSAL week!

This is the week we (LifeWay’s VBS Events Team) look forward to all year – the first in a series of awesome fun events – where VBS groupies from all 50 States, Canada, and Mexico (and sometimes even a groupie or two from Great Britain or Korea) join together for two days of exciting VBS sights and sounds!

Over 1200 VBS leaders will be our guests at Ridgecrest Conference Center later this week for worship with Dr. Shane Garrison and Austin Adamic, teaching by some of the best VBS practitioners in the country, inspiration and creativity of LifeWay’s VBS Graphics and Publishing Team, and a performance of the Colossal Coaster World Musical by a great children’s choir. AND if all this is not enough, how about 60 degree weather (we typically have ice) in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

If you are not registered for the Ridgecrest event, there is still time to join us January 18-19 in Fort Worth, January 31-February 1 in Nashville, or February 8-9 in Kissimmee. Like I said before, these events are going to be COLOSSAL so don’t miss out.

To learn how you can be part of a one of these awesome Preview events go to lifeway.com/vbs/events.

We’ll be looking for YOU!