Its been a while since I was part of decorating for our church’s annual KidsCamp. My kids were too little the last time I tried to shoulder the job.
I ended up stepping back a lot and letting my kids just be the babies that they were. But, I always looked forward to the day I would return.
This year, I prayed about it again and felt like God was saying it was time to lavish my gifting on the kids in our church and community.
I DM’ed the head gal and told her I would love to handle all the decorating this year. I was over the moon when she said that the spot was open!
My degree is in interior design and there is some form of design going on every. single. day. in our home.
Then, there were those sixteen years I homeschooled a pack of kids and created custom curriculum. Also very helpful.
But, it was the fancy pants children’ parties I used to throw that really prepared me for this year’s task.
Between interior design clients and She Holds Dearly there was a span of years where I poured my heart into my children’s themed birthday parties, planning YEARS in advance.
The food was on theme, the invites took me hours and hours to create, the whole family was in costume. You know the type, right?!
Guilty as charged!!
I actually considered doing a blog just on high end childrens’ parties back when I started She Holds Dearly! But, my kids were getting older, so home design it was.
My friend in charge basically added me to a group Pinterest board, told me the theme and said, “I’m thinking an airport and we visit five different countries and find five different animals.”
Then, she just set me free! That’s kind of how I need to work, lots of space to dream and the final say on the designs.
The difficulty with our building is that it is 30,000 square feet, that’s THIRTY THOUSAND square feet, with super high ceilings and mostly white walls.
Any idea I came up with, I automatically tripled it to confront the sheer magnitude of the space.
I also broke the building up and focused on just six major zones that would feed off each other and pull the viewer through the building.
600 hours (my time and my volunteers’ combined), $2,000 and lots of people loaning vintage decor- we were ready to go!
Wanna take a peek??
I didn’t do hardly anything here. We have a large porch area, so that became a spot for some quick chalk art. There were animal footprints running into the church.
I really don’t like the look of plain old sidewalk chalk, so after we stenciled them on, my workers came back and painted them with water so it looked more like we painted them. After the water dried, we sealed the footprints with hairspray.
Note- ceilings are considered the fifth wall and floors are the sixth when decorating. So, don’t forget them, they always bring in a new element of surprise!
Next, the registration tables were just covered in black tablecloths. We made globe garlands from maps and collected vintage globes to cluster together.
My husband turned a couple of refrigerator boxes into a pretend metal detector and we had a buzzer that people could use. Of course, that got really funny, really fast!
Then, there were the two baggage claims and all the vintage suitcases. . .
We covered the front of the balcony with astro turf and made a sixteen foot ballon garland using my friend, Rachel’s, tutorial.
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This is one of the only places you can use the ceiling easily. We used plastic table cloth rolls and stapled a blue sky in place.
The clouds were made with polyester stuffing and hung with fishing line.
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I love how the light peeks through and looks like lighting.
Then, we added a tarmac, airplane windows and three airplanes.
Kenya and Tanzania
I had the youth group make the tissue tassels one night and our family made all the palm trees over several weeks.
My apologies for the terrible lighting in these next few pics! Stage lighting is so harsh.
We built that sixteen foot rock wall with paper, foam and paint and cut all the animals and grass out of huge sheets of foam from Home Depot. My daughters and I hand painted them.
The rocks are paper and painted by my 13 year old, who can figure out how to recreate any texture. The waterfalls are another roll of plastic tablecloth (100 ft) that has been faux painted to look like water and lots of tulle added in.
The hippo even had a bubble machine behind him!
We cut the gras tufts out of foam and painting these, as well.
You might even recognize the baskets and trunk from my house.;)
Then, there was “Mexico” with some iguanas. . .
The crepe paper accent wall was my favorite! So simple, cheap and great impact! The perfect trifecta.
We cut some of the leaves out on the trees and backed them with contrasting paper to act like little flaps in a children’s book.
Next was “Malaysia” with fireflies where the entrance to the gym was.
We did a huge mural to act like an accent wall and added glow in the dark paint to the moon and fireflies.
We decopauged paper lanterns with tissue paper and added more tissue tassels and fairy lights.
I was even able to add a black curtain and sweep it back to create a little intrigue.
Finally, the kitchen area was done up with “thatched” (Dollar Tree grass skirts) awnings, a huge meerkat mural and my favorite???
Um, confession, I have always wanted my own volcano. My life is complete.
My husband built the interior and added a fog machine.
We covered it all with plastic tablecloths (textured by my 13 year old) hanging on a hula hoop and topped it with mosquito netting.
As the kids said their memory verses, we let off some fog! Come on now, how fun is that?
Oh and last but not least, the table decor because. Table decor. Sigh.
Spray painted #10 cans (from my tomato sauce), mama and baby animals on skewers and lots of greenery!
Here’s to being seven again!!!
Let me know if you would like any tutorials on any of this and I will see what I can do.
Also, let me know what YOUR favorite part was in the comments!