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The Main Gate will be the first thing children will see when they arrive and should be a show stopper.  Here are a few simple ways to create a Worship Rally stage that builds excitement and anticipation for a great time at Vacation Bible School.

*Decorating Tip- Before placing tables and props in the space, hang any items on the wall or from the ceiling so props are not damaged later.  It is always easier to use the tables to assemble props and tape posters.  Avoid working on the floor unless you prefer bending over or squatting to improve your health.

Amusement Park Backdrop– This is a simple scene so to give the idea there is an amusement park in the background.  The audience will see mostly trees and clouds with a roller coaster track rising about the trees.

Items Needed:

  • King Size Flat Sheet (light blue to represent the sky) *note- Bed sheets are easily purchased at discount stores.  You do not need high thread count since they are being used for props.  Often hotels have used clean sheets they will not use and will donate if you ask.  Most often these are white but free is a great price.
  • Spray Paint (dark green, light green, medium green and white)
  • Two bungee cords.

Prepare to paint the backdrop:

If the sheet has creases and folds from being packaged, be sure to wash and dry the sheet.  Remove the sheet from the dryer while hot to avoid more wrinkles and hang in the painting area.  I used a wall in my garage that I covered with paper to prevent over spraying on the wall. Hang the sheet by poking a hole through the top hem corner of the sheet using a craft knife.  Slip the hook of the bungee cord through the hole and attach the other hook on a nail in the wall.  Do this for both sides so the sheet is stretched tight.  I the bottom of the sheet needs to be stabilized simply add bungee cords to the bottom and weight them down.

Create a cloud shape stencil using a large piece of cardboard (like a copy paper box lid).  Be sure the border edge around the shape is large enough to shield the sheet when spray painting. Hold the cloud stencil against the top half of sheet and spray paint white clouds.  Avoid a polka dot pattern by grouping clouds.  Odd numbers look best so place three on one side and five on the other.

Create tree tops across the bottom third of the sheet.  Note- If the sheet is too long, pull it up to the desired height and pin it in place.  This will also help shield the sky from green paint.  Using the cloud stencil, spray paint the medium green color in random place across the bottom third of the sheet.  Next, fill in more tree tops with the light green and finally with the dark green.  All the cloud shapes will create the look of tree tops and the variety of green colors will let each tree top be more visible.    Be sure to fill in any spaces with the paint so the blue sheet does not show.  After the paint dries, you might need to spray paint some areas a second time for better coverage.  When you are satisfied with the painting, you can add the roller coaster track.  Using a black permanent wide tip marker, draw the tracks by drawing the tall slopes of track over the trees.  After drawing the first line, come back and draw a second line as the opposite side of the track then add lines like ladder rungs around the track.  You can add a silhouette of coaster cars with people holding their hands in the air or any other amusement park attractions peering over the trees. *Note the backdrop should be filled with details but rather a suggestion for the scene.

Entrance Gate- This gate will need to be strong enough to support many items and bring a wow factor to the worship rally stage.  When reading these suggested measurements and placement of items on the stage, you will need to consider media, sound and stage size of your facility and customize these suggestions to best fit your needs.

Items Needed:

  • 2- one inch PVC pipe six feet long,
  • 2- large coffee cans and sand or rocks,
  • 1- ten foot vinyl down spout (guttering),
  •  jute or cotton rope like clothesline,
  • 2- copy paper boxes (white),
  • 4 yards colorful fabric,
  •  Velcro self-adhesive dots,
  • colorful duct tape that matches the fabric,
  • 4- Yellow sheets of foam board,
  • craft knife,
  • string flags,
  • Christmas lights (clear, any size you prefer),
  • one roll of Hot Water Tank insulation wrap (looks like silver bubble wrap),
  • black pipe insulation tubes for both sides of the track.

Place each PVC pipe in a coffee and fill the can with sand or rocks to stabilize.  You may prefer a larger container or plaster of paris.  Attach the long downspout across the top of the poles (about two feet in on each side) by tying the rope in an “X” formation around the pole and spout until it is tight and strong.  Stand this in place on the stage.  All the following items will be attached to this structure.

Place each white box (no lid) in front of the pole to hide the coffee can.  A slot can be cut in the end of the box so the pole can sit in the box.  Use colorful duct tape to create stripes or designs on box.  Divide the fabric in half.  On each side, attach the width of the fabric across the downspout covering the front of the pole using the velcro dots. Gather the fabric near the bottom and tie around the pole with string to create a triangle shape banner or flag in front of each pole.

Create a roller coaster track using the silver water tank wrap.  Roll out the length of track you will attach to the downspout and hang down on each side.  Make a rectangle template from poster board .  Place this on the silver wrap material and draw around the template with a permanent marker.  Continue moving down the track with the template until you have drawn all the rectangles to be cut out.  Use a sharp craft knife and cut along the lines to remove the rectangles and reveal your track.  Attach black pipe insulation one each side of the track.  Finding the middle of the track, begin attaching the track to the downspout using velro dots.  Allow the track to be waving and drape to the floor on each end. *Note- It might be easier to add the pipe insulation after it is attached to the downspout.

Sign– The letters MAIN GATE need to be enlarged and traced onto a half sheet of yellow foam board.  You should be able to get two letters per sheet.  Remove the letters using a sharp craft knife and attach them to the downspout using velcro dots.  *Note- Find the middle and work towards both ends.  Add so clear Christmas lights that flash to bring an energy and excitement about the amusement park.

Fountain– Many amusements parks have fountains just inside the gate.  Often you find people ready to snap your picture for purchase at the end of the day.  Here is a suggestion for creating the fountain.  If pictures are a possibility, ask the photographer to wear a red and white striped vest and flat straw hat.  Logo name tags as park employees could be fun too.

Items Needed:

  • Empty large coffee can,
  • 2 inch PVC pipe six foot long,
  • sand or rocks,
  • umbrella with removable handle,
  • box of straight pins,
  • two blue foil curtains,
  • one iridescent foil curtain,
  • blue child’s size pool,
  • blue and clear sheets of tissue paper,
  • aluminum foil,
  • VBS logo (large) from the bulletin board set.

Assemble the fountain by placing the PVC pipe into the coffee can and fill with sand or rocks to stabilize the pipe.  Wrap the pipe with aluminum foil and tape it into place.  Place the pole into the child size pool.  Open the umbrella and remove the hook handle so the shaft will fit inside the pipe.  Attach the blue foil curtains to the top of the umbrella with straight pins round the center point on the very top.  This should allow the foil to cascade off the umbrella all around.  Add the iridescent foil curtain as well.  *Note- It will be easier to work on the umbrella if it is held up with two tall chairs then put in place.  Secure the VBS logo piece to the top of the umbrella.  If there is not a long enough point on the umbrella, cut a small slit in the fabric to attach a dowel rod or ruler to the shaft and then to the logo.  Place the umbrella shaft inside the pipe so the foil curtain can hang off like water falling into the pool.  Use some scissors to cut the foil curtain at different lengths.  Let the blue be shorter in some place the iridescent hang lower for a watery effect.  Tissue paper can be added to the bottom of the pool if desired.  *Idea option- Make two fountains for collecting offering for VBS.  Boy’s fountain and girl’s fountain.  Place the signs on the pipe under the curtain to designate fountains.

Main Gate Trees– Make some very stylish, tall slender trees by drawing a puffy cloud turned on its side then two lines running parallel as the truck.  There is a pattern on the CDROM.  Begin with double thickness cardboard sheets (4 x 8 feet).  Draw the tree on butcher paper to make a pattern then transfer that to the cardboard so all your trees will match.  You should be able to get two trees per sheet by turning one upside down.  Cut the trees from the cardboard with a sharp utility knife and paint the foliage area with a medium green color spray paint.  Now draw three or four puffy clouds on a piece of poster board and cut out to become stencils. Each stencil should be the size of roughly a quarter of the poster board.  Lay the stencils on the dry green paint and spray paint a dark green around each.  Move them down and around continuing to spray until the foliage area is covered.  After that dries, repeat the process with the light green spray paint.  The effect is different and fun.  The truck can be left as brown cardboard with a dark brown spray paint down the edges and some vertical lines here and there on the face of the truck.  All the trees can be painted this way on both sides so when they are hung from the ceiling with fishing line and hooks or open paper clips, they might turn and show both sides.  Place these trees on both sides of the main gate entrance to help fill the stage if needed.










Other Items– If you want a fence to go on each side of the gate, cut stripes of white foam core about two inches wide.  Attach the stripes vertically on microphone stands or toilet plungers.  Attach a couple of horizontal stripes at the boards running from post to post.  Add silk flowers and green turf carpet if wanted.  String flags on each side will add to the celebration as well.

Turnstile– If you would like to make a turnstile for the stage or any other classroom attraction, here are the materials you will need:

  • four ¾ inch PVC (18-inch lengths),
  • four ¾- inch PVC end caps,
  • round outdoor ¾ -inch PVC electrical junction box,
  • 1 ¼ -inch by 3 foot wooden dowel,
  • nails or drywall screws,
  • PVC glue, plywood scrap,
  • patio umbrella stand, or mic stand for base,
  • spray paint primer for plastic,
  • chrome metallic spray paint for plastic.

To make the turnstile, first paint all the pieces with the primer then the finish paint once the primer has dried.  Next, attach the four smaller lengths of PVC pipe into the electrical junction box as arms of the turnstile.  Use PVC glue to secure the arms and add the caps to the end of each pipe. Finally, attach 1 ¼-inch dowel rod to the base. Remove the cap of the electrical junction box.  Place the box on the top of the dowel with the open side up.  Attach the box to the dowel through the center with a nail or screw.  Be sure nails or screws are not too tight so the box will turn on top of the dowel.  Replace the cap of the junction box. *Note- A two inch PVC pipe can be glued to the bottom of the junction box.  When dry, slide the pipe over a mic stand pole.

Watch Mark Create the Main Gate (Video)

Watch Mark Create the Main Gate (Powerpoint)

Click HERE for Main Gate Letters

Click HERE for the Printable Version (Main Gate Backdrop)

Click HERE for the Printable Version (Main Gate Entrance)

Click HERE for the Printable Version (Main Gate Fountain)

Click HERE for the Printable Version (Main Gate Turnstile)


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