Amazing Wonders Aviation VBS. How am I going to decorate?

We have some great photos of the environments we created for Amazing Wonders Aviation. No two churches do VBS exactly the same. Whether you like to decorate big or small, we hope these photos will help you get your creative juices flowing. Be on the lookout for future blog posts related to each rotation.





The Worship Rally Hangar

Bible Study at Victoria Falls

Crafts at the Great Barrier Reef

Missions Under the Northern Lights

Music at the Matterhorn

Recreation at the Grand Canyon

Snacks at the Paricutin Volcano

47 thoughts on “Amazing Wonders Aviation VBS. How am I going to decorate?

  1. These are truly AMAZING WONDERS – Ha!

    VBS buddies — be looking for black fabric and sheets to go on sale right after Halloween for the Northern Lights display.

  2. Thanks for the photos. I’m making a collection of ideas which I plan to pass on to the teachers in my church and to the attendees at my session in our associational VBS clinic.

    There are many ways to decorate beyond the LifeWay posters. For VBS 2011 I used an I Love New York throw and a New York Mets quilt as photo backdrops. I found them at a closeout merchandise store for $3 each. The athletes in the bunch seemed to gravitate towards the Mets quilt.

  3. Orville,
    I love the idea of providing your leaders with theme-related decorating ideas that will work in your church. Thanks for the comment.

  4. Great! Well, I admire the precious time and effort you put into it, especially into interesting articles you share here! It was very interesting..

  5. Looks really great but WAY beyond my skills (Can’t draw a straight line – I hand everything crooked on purpose) AND my budget (Whatever I feel lead to spend out of my own pocket). It is really a great idea to post some less ambitious (and costly) set designs. I can’t help but feel inadequate when I look at my room and compare it to your professional level ones. I’d like to see them now so I can buy things along. I have already bought some fish and things from the summer lines (BUT I doubt they are the fish you’d find in the Great Barrier Reef!). I plan to use blue disposable tablecloths to be the sea and then use the fish, sea turtles, etc. and try my hand at painting coral on brown paper. I was planning to hang some of the fish, turtles, etc. to stick out from the wall to have a 3D effect but haven’t figured out how to do that yet (Maybe use some floral foam cut to different heights behind some of the props? But how do I get it to stick to the tablecloth without it sagging and tearing?). Please give us talented in crafting but a disaster in decorating VBSers a hand!

  6. Be looking for another blog post specifically about Victoria Falls later this month. The waterfalls were made from sheets hung over PVC pipe that is stuck into foam rocks.
    I hope the environments we have created inspire you and give you ideas.

    Melba- your ideas sound fabulous! Perhaps this idea would work for your fish–if you can cut them out and mount them to some foamboard or even poster board–something thicker than paper. Then, find some floral sticks from your local craft store and paint them bright colors. Attach the mounted fish to the sticks with hot glue or duct tape. Then poke the floral sticks (now they are “fish sticks”) into some floral foam blocks that you set on the floor. I’m not sure I understand your concern about the tablecloth tearing. Once our VBS 2012 Web site is up the VBS forum on the site is a great place to share these kind of ideas and get feedback from others. Plus, we will have decorating videos that give you a quick look at how we created these environments. Thanks for all the comments and great idea sharing.

  7. Melba, I completely understand your budget and talent constraints; however, let me encourage you to reach out in your church body for those who have talents, skills and abilities that might have made them known at this time. I am the VBS co-director and music rotation leader and I KNOW I can’t do it all. I like to help others but I find that between the various duties I am assigned to I can feel overwhelmed in a hurry. You never know when some out-of-the-box thinker will come up with a CHEAP and easy way to create some of the suggested scenes above. OH! And remember–it’s NOT about the scenery it’s about the Savior. Just because LifeWay makes the suggestion doesn’t mean stressing out about being able to–or not able to duplicate it as they have.

    One other thing–if you can at ALL attend one of the kickoff/preview events PLEASE DO IT! I went for the first time last year and it COMPLETELY changed my life and how I did things within my rotation!!!! :) Best wishes and God bless!

  8. To make the coral reef – pick up the blue plastic tablecloths from the local dollar tree wo drap over the walls of the entire room – then draw you fish and sea creatures on white contact paper – paint them bright colors – peal and stick onto the blue…… easy and looks great!

  9. I am also anxious to see how you did Victoria Falls. I love to decorate and I start looking for bargains I can use early. Hurry, let us know how!

  10. Oh hey, I didn’t mention this earlier–but because my fairly large church does VBS a week after the other churches in our area we share decorations and then we pass on to other churches. If you take care of them when you are disassembling them they can be used for several weeks with only minor touch ups. Team up with another church in your area to defray or share costs associated with decorating! :)

  11. Melba,

    For Victoria falls: Be on the look out, (you can start early and get to know the fellas) at your local hardware store, for large boxes or pieces of cardboard. You could cut it in shape. I usually try to ask church people to donate left over paints or grab the discounted cans when I am checking for the cardboard. For the water you could drap a few white plastic table clothes and put a little quilt batting at the bottom (to give it the foaming affect).

    For the coral reef: Same thing. Grab several larg sheets of carboard to mount your table clothes on. If you wanted to have 3-D coral reef and fish, put them on seperate pieces of cardboard and then use a small block of styrofoam (I collect these from various boxes during the year. Christmas time is a great time to get larger pieces of foam) cut a smaller piece of foam, a small square/or circle in your tablecloth then use a hot glue gun or liquid nails to secure it to the cardboard backing. Be sure that your fish is larger. A friend of mine is making our fish out of material and stuffing them. My guess is there are a few seamstress in the church that would help out with this. Additionally, the local $1.00 store has those straight pieces in small colored sections, with their other flowers.

    Music at the Matterhorn and Snacks at the Paricutin Volcano can be done with cardboard, also. Don’t forget to use transparency to draw your outlines onto the cardboard.

  12. Pingback: Top 11 Posts of 2011 | LifeWay VBS Blog

  13. If you check on Pintrest, there is a picture of a “waterfall” like scene using tulle and christmas lights. Our church has different colors of blue tulle that I plan on using to do the Victoria falls scene with. It is really simple to do and looks great!!

  14. Robin thanks for the link to that site! It has some fabulous inexpensive ideas! I am sooooo excited, I can hardly wait.

  15. I found a shower curtain $7.99 on line from a bathroom supply site with tropical fish and coral reef that I plan to use for the Great barrier Reef. I have made some extra coral out of styrofaom to give it more of a 3-D effect

  16. We have a member at our church who works at LOWES. He is able to get large pieces of cardboard probably 4′ x 6′ and very sturdy! These are very easy to paint, some have a crease already in them to make them stand by themselves. They can be used for any project!

  17. I am making cloud lights that I saw on pinterist. they are easy to make .
    Just hot glue some fiberfill onto a paper lantern . they are realistic when lit up

  18. In reference to NORTHERN LIGHTS, are the background props out of cardboard and painted? And are the Northern lights christmas lights with tulle?? THANKS for any help and advice!!!

  19. Jamie, the material used for the Northern Lights was a pearlized sheer material I found at a fabric store. I do not think it was tulle. Also, the trees were made out of foam insulation board and painted. The backdrop is a black cloth that was hung from the ceiling. Hope this helps!

  20. Worked hard to find the sheets of styrofoam. The Decorating guide says to check at your local hardware store. Lowes nor Home Depot carries this product except for $8.00-$9.00 sheet. Any other recommendations? I have a man with great talent in our church who wants to make the hanger as suggested, we just can’t find the materials.

  21. For the fish, Walmart and fabric shops have fairly inexpensive material printed with colorful fish, in water of course. This can be mounted on cardboard walls and then covered with clear plastic wrap, like Saranwrap, to make it look wet. Make sure the plastic wrap is not completely smooth. Laminate and cut out a few of the fish, and then reinforce the color on the backside with markers. Hang on fishing line (of course!), from the ceiling.

  22. Pastor Vern, you’re looking at the right stuff at your Lowe’s/Home Depot… it’s rigid insulation, 4-by-8 foot sheets… comes in either pink or blue depending on whether it’s from Lowe’s or Home Depot. The brand name on the blue stuff is “Dow.” You’ve found it… go for it!

  23. I like to use items that are re-usable. I got a brown tarp that I am using for the rocks of the falls and then putting blue material (sheets, etc. whatever is the most reasonable price) It does not look too bad and is something that can then be “used”. Thanks for all the wonderful ideas!!

  24. What did you do to make the back drop of the Paricutin Volcano? I am always in charge of our snack area so I need to decorate it. I have a pretty small area.

  25. Dorothy, We used muslin fabric to create all the backdrops because it’s very light to hang. You can also use king-sized sheets or painter drop cloths. You can paint it a lot of different ways by using a power sprayer or even spray paint. WARNING: spray paint adds up very quickly! My recommendation is to lightly spray base colors with a power sprayer using watered down latex paints. Once, it dries add a little spray paint on top to make your colors POP even more! Good Luck!

  26. For worship rally plane hangar, I purchased two, white 9×12 painter’s dropclothes (comes in one package together at Lowe’s for $6.99 for the pair). They are clothlike on one side and plastic on another side. I spraypainted the cloth side with silver spray paint and then I took a piece of lumber and drew on the vertical lines with a sharpie. Then, I sponged a little rust colored paint on area the sharpie lines, here and there. The plane hangar door and plane will be in the center, but I am doing a 3D plane made from cardboard appliance boxes (dishwasher sized) It will stick out of the hangar door/dropcloth mural. I did the painting affect on both the dropcloths and are going to hang them up on the church stage together with thumb tacks. This mural is rather thin, so a solid wall behind is a must (preferrably white!).

  27. the station ideas are excellent…but do you have any ideas for the class room areas?

  28. I want to make a propeller to hang on the wall of each classroom so the kids can turn the propeller each day to get to their destination. Any ideas on how to do that?

  29. Dianne, there are some ideas specifically for decorating the classrooms in each of the age group leader guides (and rotation guides too). The Decorating Made Easy book also has “easy decorating ideas” for every site that work really well in the classroom. There’s even a section of “activity-based decorations” specifically designed for preschool classrooms!

  30. In response to Jen24K on April 17, do you have any pictures of what your hanger is looking like? I really like the idea of the painters cloth, we were going to do the foam board but its really expensive, we are a small church. Thanks for any pictures that anyone can send!!

  31. For the falls, mountain, valcano and the grand canyon I will be stacking boxes at differnt depths, glueing and taping together. Then taking newspaper and crumpling it up. To make it look like rock ledges and jagged rocks. Then painting it browns, black and tan. Using dollar tree blue plastic table cloths for water. Using a rope light for lava, christmas lights (multi colored chasing) hanging infront of black sheet from pvc. Using pvc and blue table cloths for coral reef, using styrofoam for coral. Paper lanterns from dollar tree for fish. Im trying to make it all 3d effect. For hanger 3 liter pop with oil sign, furniture dollie from garage, car creeper, gray desk, hubbys tool box, ladder, pallets and black trash can for fuel. Gonna make 2 planes from boxes for inside and one big one for outside so neighbor kids can see it and get excited. You can also go on pinterest for vbs, vbs 2012 and vbs ideas. They have a ton of ideas. Have fun making your decorations.

  32. Thanks Robin any ideas help. It also helps to see what other people are trying that gets the sparks going!

  33. For a small church which uses the sanctuary for worship rally, the year that we did “Outrigger Island”, for Music Falls I stood a 6ft ladder on either side of the pulpit. I then covered both ladders with chicken wire and let it hang down past the steps to the floor. I shaped the wire so as to look bumpy like the rock sides of the falls, then covered it with brown craft paper that I had crumpled and spray painted outside with black and gray paint. (I use this trick with the craft paper any time I need fake rocks) Then I hung a child’s slip-and-slide which was bright blue(you can use the blue plastic tablecloths) over the pulpit, and let it hang to the floor. At the bottom, for the white foamy water, I pooled up some white tulle fabric and then placed fake rocks around the pool. I take large brown paper sacks and crumple them and stuff them with newspaper and tape them shut. then I spray paint them gray and spritz just a little black paint to look like indentions in the rock. I then stuck bunches of fake flowers between some of the rocks. It looked very “tropical”. I know it sounds like a lot of work, but if you have your paper in long strips and painted and your rocks ready(and plenty of tape) it doesn’t take that long.

  34. Thanks for sharing great ideas!!!
    “The Worship Rally Hanger” is the what I am looking for.
    Could you share how did you do it?
    What material did you use for?
    Thanks again!

  35. Volcanos are EASY and fairly inexpensive to make. All you need is a sturdy back board (I use the insulation boards at Home Depot or Lowe’s for roughly $11.00 (in the West GA area); a roll of brown paper in the shipping / envelope section at Walmart (the kind of paper that paper grocery bags are made of; Spray paint in brown, rust, black, red; Acrylic paint in neon orange (You can also get at Wal-Mart in a small bottle around $1); masking tape; and, Last but not least, and this is not an “optional” item: red glitter (oh and spray adhesive or white glue).
    Cut out the shape of your volcano from the insulation board. Unroll enough paper to cover your “volcano” and then roll off just a bit more to make sure you have enough. Wad the paper up like you were going to throw it away. Wad it up as tight as you can ge it. I sat on it to make sure it was good and “wadded” up LOL!!! Then carefully “un-wad” it BUT DO NOT smooth it out!! Lay it out on the ground or, if you are lucky enough to have a table to work on, table top. Then place your “volcano” cut out on top of it. REMEMBER to put the FRONT of the volcano toward the paper. Tape the paper to the back of your board. Be caeful to not pull it too tight, but it does need to have the shape of your volcano when you are done. Turn the volcano over and with your hand, create “channels” where the lava would flow. Spray paint the whole thing with the brown and rust to create a “rock: look. Do not fully cover as the tan of the paper is your “lighter” color. Spray a little, stand back and look and then paint a little more if needed. I try to spray from all sides rather than from straight up above and I am not very close to the surface. You’ll find it fairly easy to get the “real” look. Play with it until it is how you like it. Then take your black and hit the “low” spots and the “burnt” (where your lava flows) spots with it. Then take the red and spraying closer to the volcano (a few inches, and I do spray straight on here) spray on your “lava flows”. Let the black show from the edges in places from under this. Then, after that is all dry, paint on a neon lava flow streak, letting the red show from te edges. After that is dry, spray adhesive in the lava flow areas OR if you do not feel comfortable using the spray adhesive, white glue will work fine painted on with a craft brush. Sprinkle on liberaly the red glitter. Let dry completely and then bump off the excess glitter. Fill in any “blank” spots with gitter if needed. The glitter is essential because when people walk around your volcano the light hits the glitter and it looks as if it is really “flowing”. GOOD LUCK!! If you need any help or have questions, please email me at and put “VBS Decorations” in the subject line so I can weed through all the junk mail :) God bless you!!!

  36. STYROFOAM BOARDS: I don’t use what they show in the book. I get the insulation boards from Home Depot or Lowes’. They are covered with paper/ aluminum covering and are a yellowish-white styrofoam inside. Reminds me of the insulation that you get in a can after it is sprayed… They have “R Max” written on them in blue on one side and ar silver backing on the other side. Roughly$11 for an 8′ x 4′ sheet. You have to use Kilz spray to cover the “R Max” and other writing on that one side because it will bleed through your paint if you do not do this step. I have made EVERYTHING I have ever made with this stuff… filling station, volcanos, beach huts, train, covered wagon, cactus, cabin, fireplace stones and this year, an airplane and MUCH MORE…oh, and Mustang Mountain…I just peeled off one side of the covering and carved a little into the styrofoam and painted. The texture of the way the styrofaom is made looked like real rock (same with the fireplace stones) after it was painted. It is very lightweight and a WONDERFUL alternative to plywood props. You can paint them over an over and over. They cut easily with a craft knife (NO SAWS NEEDED (: !!!)

  37. Love these ideas, but we have a small church, need ideas for hands on association with stories for Pre-K age.

  38. Hi Debbie! There are decorating ideas specifically designed for 3s–K spaces on pages 7-9 of the 3s–PreK and Kindergarten Leader Guides. The best part is they show you how to make things that aren’t just for looks, but can be USED in play by preschoolers. Hope that helps!

  39. The best, most inexpensive, multi purpose Bible School supplies ever are rolls of brown craft paper, canvas paint dropcloths, tissue paper and plastic tablecloths. Combine these with duct tape, some discount store spray paint and “everything is a dollar” accessories and you can make anything. If you need anything lightweight and three dimensional, mix glue and water and torn up newspaper and paper mache it!

  40. vbs is awesomnesessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss from shiona

  41. I am doing the same theme in Mexico this summer do you have any of these materials left that you would donate to us.

  42. Hello! My name is Alexis Rivera. I work for an the organization It Is Written in the children’s ministry department. We are going on tour with a flight-themed kids program and would like to use the picture of your worship hangar for our backdrop (it would be blown up to large scale and set up on scaffolding) I would not want to violate a copyright. Would you give us permission to use your picture, and if so can you please email me your file from it? thankyou!

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