Easter set design

This weekend, our church had our Easter services. The theme was “Celebrate Easter,” the whole idea of new life and joyful celebration. Some of us had a brainstorming meeting and had different ideas on how to communicate this. I had an idea for a stage design of hanging stuff from the ceiling.

Only problem was, we have a flat ceiling with nothing to hang from it. So much for my hanging stuff from the ceiling idea.

So I had another idea.

Here’s a picture of how our worship center stage usually looks. Actually, there are usually silk plants all over the stage too. But (as usual) I forgot to take a “before” picture. I always forget to do that.

The idea I had was to use bright colors to communicate life. Unfortunately, hardly anything goes with gold and maroon curtains and pink carpet. I guess that might work for fall, but we are in spring right now.

So I just decided to ignore those colors since there was nothing I could do about them anyway. I went to Illustrator and drew out the idea to scale to get an idea of what it would look like. (Fortunately I had a scaled drawing of our stage from our Breakaway/Vacation Bible School event last year, which saved me a lot of time.)

Here’s how the drawing looked:

So here’s what we did.

We got large 4’x8′ styrofoam sheets (1 inch thick) to use for the squares.

Glen used a skillsaw and cut them in two so we had two 4’x4′ panels.

I learned from Glen that you are supposed to connect the power tool to the extension cord and tie it in a knot so it doesn’t come apart. I didn’t know that! But then, I never use power tools either. (Well, hardly ever. Definitely not saws. They scare me.)

Then it was time to paint.

We used cute little rollers because they don’t soak up as much paint as the big ones. They are also reusable.

Pretty soon Keith came along and said, “Great job, guys! You’re doing a great job! Let me see, what else am I supposed to say to you so I can be a good manager?” He made me laugh.

Here’s Kyle demonstrating the technique: pour the paint on and roll it out directly. I love how he even dressed appropriately for the occasion by picking a shirt that would match the paint color.

The day before Kyle and his friend (I think this name was Gary) had built these stands from a design made by Bill. (There sure were a lot of people involved in this project!) There are 15″x15″ particle board bases with wooden squares screwed together. In the middle is a metal rod.

We taped the boards to the bases with duct tape.

When we turned it around, voila! Colored square.

We made them different heights to add variety.

In addition to the squares, we also had 4’x8′ panels we painted black for an experience during the services.

After that, we placed them around the stage for later fine tuning. Here you can see all the silk plants around the stage, which add to the cluttered feeling.

Unfortunately, the next day we discovered that the duct tape got loose and they all fell down so they were all the same height. We screwed a screw into the board in the back, and taped it with duct tape. That screw rested on top of the rod and we taped that. That worked a lot better!

We ran out of time and didn’t have time to climb on a ladder and try to hang the squares on the sides of the stage with fishing wire. And once all the silk plants were taken out, the walls looked bare. So we improvised. (The positive thing was that our previously bare lobby now had a nice collection of silk plants to warm it up!)

Glen nailed small brads into the wall and then pushed the styrofoam in. He used his head to push it in because his hands were holding the boards.

It actually looked pretty cool because it made the stage feel more balanced with the free-standing stands. We didn’t have time to paint the stands black, so Glen remembered we had some black fabric left over from Breakaway and we used that to cover the bases instead.

I forgot to bring a camera, but our photographer Andrew shot this photo during the services, that gives an idea of how the stage looks. Wow, what a difference in quality in his photos and my iPhone pictures!

What a great feel the color adds!

(April 8 – took a photo today…  here’s how the stage looked… without all the instrument stuff.


For the experience, we put a 3×3 sticky note in each person’s bulletin/program. After the sermon, Jamie (our senior pastor) asked people to write down prayers of confession, praise or requests onto the sheets and to bring them up and stick them on the “prayer wall.” (The black panels we had painted and mounted on the wall on either side of the stage.)

The notes were not sticky enough and started falling so after the Saturday night service I went and stuck them up high so the other services would have more room down lower. (Back to my low-quality iPhone picture.)

I chose sticky note colors that would fit well with the squares on the stage. At the end it was great because I got a comment, “I finally get it! The sticky notes are the same shape as the squares on the stage!”

Here’s another one of Andrew’s excellent photos, which captures the intimate spirit of the prayers of people lifted up to God.

As I was taping them, I got to read the prayers… some greatly to be celebrated, others heartbreaking… and to pray for the people. The prayer wall was a great visual reminder of the ways that God works in the lives of people. We’re going to keep it up a couple weeks so people can read them and pray over them and remember the new life that God gives each of us through Christ.

The Easter services were great. What a wonderful celebration through music, message, video, and drama. Everyone behind the scenes and up front used their gifts for God — truly a team effort. He was glorified through it all!


A Yee

Angela Yee is a professional designer (graphic design, stage design, interior design — angelayeedesign.com) and teaches leadership skills at strategysketchnotes.com.

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  1. Keith - April 5, 2010

    platform looked AWESOME! Thanks again for designing and putting together.

  2. Glen Nielsen - April 6, 2010

    Looked WAAAAAAAY better than the standard easter lilies we have seen for years … impressive, hip design … if only we had a black curtain backdrop …

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