Western theme VBC

This year, our church used the “SonWest Roundup” VBC curriculum from GospelLight. The guy who usually paints the VBC backdrops had sprained his wrist, so I got asked to do it. I came up with some ideas early on, but then procrastinated until just a couple weeks before to actually take the time to go and paint.

The illustration style I was going for came from the town graphics in the curriculum, but I wanted to make them less pastel and more earthy, but still fun and quirky. In the weeks leading up, I kept visiting Ace Hardware’s “oops” paint area, but they just had really odd colors. The day before I had planned to go paint, I found awesome shades of light blue, a warm yellow, dark brown, and beige — exactly the shades I was thinking of using!

I started with the sky:

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Then, I used painters’ tape to make straight edges for some of the buildings (I freehanded the curves).

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Steve brought the boys over to have lunch with me. They brought their painting pajamas to “help” me paint, which meant my productivity went down 90%.

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After they left, I was able to get more of the details done:

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The next day, I finished up the details. I was really happy with the shadows on the Theater.

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The yellow panels that the boys had helped me paint got put up on the side of the stage:

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And I painted them more to turn it into a life-size sheriff’s office, complete with foam-board sign up top and foam-board swinging doors.

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My initial duct tape and hinges job only lasted one night before falling off, so they had to get screwed on.

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Finally, I hit up a thrift store and found smaller-sized baskets, mini crates, and even a mini wine barrel half to put outside the trading post.

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One challenge I ran into was that I started running out of painter’s tape, which I was using to help mask the windows — the shapes, “panes,” and trim. I ended up reusing tape over and over again. The original paint was green, and you can see how many layers of paint I have below!

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The rest of the team came in and did their magic. Other volunteers created the stagecoach image; signs were hung out; fences and hay bales added; and lots of butcher-paper silhouettes were taped to the walls. Here’s what the final room looked like:

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The entryway had a life-sized wine barrel and our chicken-wire mannequin in a rocking chair. (The mannequin shows up in the decorations somewhere every year, and never fails to creep us out when we’re working on decor in the late night.)

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The week of VBC was a blast for all the volunteers and kids. The volunteers all dressed up with the western theme – good thing cowboy boots are “in” right now!

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The cooking team made fun snacks every day. The first day, they made bagel “wagon wheels.”

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A few other places on the campus were decorated, too — specifically, the “bible barn.” I loved that they had succulents and plants brought in for the outside!

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The inside had hay bales for seating (I cringed when I looked at the floor and thought about clean-up), play horses corralled in a corner, and a wooden fence as a backdrop.

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A good time was had by all!

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