(I’ve had so many people ask how I built the gossamer tree. I’ve added some detailed instructions at the very end of this post if you’re interested…)
Kids’ Day 2012 is behind us and now I’m busy trying to catch up on all the housework I’ve been neglecting for weeks, even while I’m getting everything ready for us to start school. But let me pause in the midst of my cleaning and laundry and homeschool book-organizing to let you in on a little bit of the Kids’ Day fun…
The jungle safari theme was a huge success! While coming up with skits and songs and stories to fit the theme was pretty easy, it was one of the more challenging themes we’ve done as far as the decorating was concerned. Bringing the outdoors in in a way that was beautiful and dramatic, but also budget-friendly, wasn’t easy. In the end, however, I was thrilled with the results!
I love doing the unexpected in the entryway to the church and I was especially pleased with what we put together this year! I started with a backdrop of black flat paper in the hopes it would make the greens of my jungle really pop. And it worked well!
I really, really liked my tree! I desperately wanted a tree the kids would have to walk under as they came into the church, but sometimes you can picture something in your mind and have a plan for making it happen, yet no matter how you try, you just can’t seem to execute it. Fortunately this tree turned out almost exactly the way I wanted it! And just in case you’re curious…it’s built of pool noodles and lots of brown packing paper and lunch bags.
The canopy was amazing. I strung several lengths of fishing line the width of the foyer and draped about 40 yards of green gossamer and netting between them so it dangled below the tops of the branches. Almost the entire ceiling was covered, so it made for a pretty dramatic effect. There were lots of ooos and ahhhs as the kids, (and their parents,) entered.
I added other trees as well.
These were made of PVC pipe, green plastic tablecloths, and plastic-coated wire.
My husband always designs our stage props and I thought he did a great job. That’s a puppet window to the right and a screen for reverse projection to the left. The screen added a new and fun element to Kids’ Day this year.
Love Alika’s trees!
Oh, and let me note that this is in our old sanctuary. We haven’t moved to the new one just yet, though now we’re just waiting on the church pews, so it shouldn’t be much longer. Anyway, the old baptistry showing in the background reeeally bothered my husband, but there was no good way to cover it. I tried to tell him most people were too overwhelmed by the magnificence of his props to even notice the blue baptistry in the background, but I’m not sure my bit of flattery convinced him…
My good friend, Jackie, took care of the fellowship hall for me, including the food and the decorating. Loved it…
Check out these centerpieces.
The walls were lined with animals. I thought the 3D effect was a nice touch!
Jackie’s food presentation is always amazing. She has so much imagination!
And how about this exit? Is that cool or what?
There were also pinatas…
And snow cones…
And bounce houses, (or “jumpy-jumpies”, as they’re referred to in our family thanks to Peanut.) No pictures of those, I’m afraid. And no pictures of the games or the stories or the puppets or a lot of the other things that make Kids’ Day so fun. I make a rotten photographer because I forget to take pictures!
I also ran into this jungle explorer who had captured a wild cheetah and a Tigger … er… umm… tiger. And, no, that’s not some sort of mane or fuzzy jaw on Peanut there. That’s the bandage covering the five stitches he received during a mid-decorating run to the emergency room on Thursday. Never a dull moment where Kids’ Day is involved!
It was an extraordinary day and my thanks go out to everyone who helped decorate or cut or paste or cook or clean or do puppets or babysit or…well, you get the idea! It takes a lot of people working together to make Kids’ Day possible, and I’m so thankful for all those who pitched in! Thanks, too, to all the parents who brought their children!
It was indeed a WILD and wonderful day!
Instructions for the gossamer tree:
I really wish I had photographed each step of my tree-making because I was so pleased with the final results, but in the beginning I really wasn’t sure if it would work! I had something in mind, but not every crazy idea of mine works out the way it’s supposed to! 🙂 I was VERY happy with this one, however.
I give somewhat of an explanation in the blog post, of course, but I thought I’d share a few more details. The pool noodle trunk worked really well, although it’s best if you can anchor your tree at top and bottom because the fact it’s so light makes it pretty unstable.
To make my trunk I just duct taped 8 or 10 long pool noodles together to a height of about 3 or 4 feet and covered it with crumpled brown paper bags. (You could use craft paper, too.) When you stand it up you can pull the pool noodles apart and branch them out like tree branches. I would combine two or three and tape those together, covering each branch then with more brown bags. And I extended the length of the branches, too, by duct taping more noodles to my branches so they reached the ceiling. (Which, granted, might be hard to do if you have very high ceilings!) I tried to cut the noodles and taper them as they reached the ceiling, just like real branches taper off and get thinner as they go up. Your work can be as ugly as you need it be because you’re covering it all with brown bags anyway!
I actually taped the branches to the ceiling or to a wall, just for extra support, and then suspended about 40-50 yards of gossamer over the tree branches rather than hanging it from the ceiling. I was building my tree in a fairly small space, so I was able to extend lengths of fishing line from one wall to the other with each line about 18 inches apart, then I carefully laid the gossamer over the line and spread and fluffed it to get the effect I wanted. You couldn’t tell it from underneath, but the gossamer wasn’t attached to the tree at all. We filled the entire ceiling space with the green so it looked like a big tree and the branches more or less disappeared above you into the “leaves”. The effect was very dramatic and I LOVED it!
Once the tree was in place we added brown paper to fill in bare spots on the trunk and branches and then covered the base with greenery. Our tree and the gossamer covered the ceiling of an 8 x 10 entryway, which gave it the full effect I was looking for.
I hope that helps you some! Feel free to ask me more specific questions if you have them and I’ll do my best to explain further. It was a time-consuming project and included some trial and error, but overall it actually went up easier than I expected and it added so much to our jungle theme. I hope you can meet with the same kind of success!