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:
Then, I used painters’ tape to make straight edges for some of the buildings (I freehanded the curves).
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%.
After they left, I was able to get more of the details done:
The next day, I finished up the details. I was really happy with the shadows on the Theater.
The yellow panels that the boys had helped me paint got put up on the side of the stage:
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.
My initial duct tape and hinges job only lasted one night before falling off, so they had to get screwed on.
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.
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!
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:
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.)
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!
The cooking team made fun snacks every day. The first day, they made bagel “wagon wheels.”
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!
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.
A good time was had by all!