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 BLACK LIGHT THEATER

~ Using props you've created, no puppets required! ~


Written by: Luanne Payne, Hampton U.C., Hampton, ON, Canada and Janice Loeb, St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, Lindsay, ON, Canada

Black Light (blacklight) theater is a form of puppetry where fluorescent puppets/props are operated on a darkened stage lit only with ultraviolet lighting. The result? A visually glowing, magical show! This document describes using props to put on a captivating black light production that, I thought we needed to share - we guarantee, you will not be disappointed, if you too, see the LIGHT!


Jesus Walks on Water Blacklight


Table of Contents

Click on any highlighted title in Table of Contents for quick link!

Definition: What is Black Light Theater

 Reasons to use Black Light Drama

Preparing your Space (Stage or Classroom Set-up)

Creating your Stage Area

Stage Lighting

  • What Are Black Lights
  • How Do They Work
  • Which Lights to Buy
  • How Many Lights Do I Need For My Space?
  • Diagram of Luanne's Stage Set-Up

How to Build Stands for your Black Light Fluorescent Light Fixture

How to Build a Vertical Stand for Fluorescent Light Fixture
  • Materials
  • Directions

 How To Build a Horizontal Stand for Fluorescent Light Fixture

Telling the Story through Song

Song Selection
Black Light Props
  • Materials
  • Directions

Example of props created for two songs:

1) Song: "Footprints on the Water (Jesus Walks on Water)
  • Lyrics for “Footprint on the Water”
Using WORDS in a SONG to create SIMPLE, but very EFFECTIVE Props
  • Scenery Theme for "Footprints on the Water”
  • Props Created for "Footprint on the Water"
  • Picture of "Footprint on the Water” Props
2) Song: "The News"  (Feeding 5000)
  • Props Created for "The News"
  • Picture of Props used for “The News”


Dressing for Black Lights & Costume Suggestions

Simple Black Light "Hoods" You Can Make

Classroom Times (or Rehearsal) Tips

Performance Tips

Plus:
Invite Idea
Bulletin Board Idea

Bibliography

Additional Resources

  • Black Light Puppet Resources
  • Making your own Black Light Puppets & Stage (Links)
  • Other Creative Ways to Use Your Black Lights
  • YouTube Black Light Performances

Lessons & Ideas using Black Light at rotation.org (links)

Videotaping & Picture taking Black Light Tips

Lock-In Black Light (Party) Ideas



Our stories, why we did it?

Janice:

I wanted to try Black Light Theatre after watching it for several years in a public school setting. I was friends with the 'producer' and the first year I attempted it she lent me the hoods and gave me tips for the props. Luanne gave me the suggestion of the "Walking on Water" song and it didn't take too much searching to find two more songs to fit with the Miracles theme. It was very exciting for the children who had never seen or performed in Black Light, so much so that they often ask when they can do it again. We had an absolutely packed room and many disappointed congregational members who missed it, so next time I would definitely schedule more than one performance!

Luanne:

Several years ago I watched another church youth group perform "Noah" using Black Lights. Two mouse puppets told their story, with musical numbers by Noah's family, and of course lots of animals, even a pair of gigantic giraffes and elephants. It was watching the reaction of each child and adult that sold me, they were mesmerized. But, that group had disbanded and I had no luck finding helpful information on the internet to do a low budget performance with professional-looking results. Then, Janice was an answer to prayer, when she said she was going to do black lights. When we did our Miracles Rotation this year she gladly loaned me all her props, black light bulbs, blackout fabric, and hoods. She shared everything she learned from her experience.


Written by  Luanne Payne and Janice Loeb
Copyright 2017
Permission granted to use this article for local teaching use or non-commercial use.

Attachments

Images (1)
  • Jesus Walks on Water Blacklight
Last edited by Luanne Payne
Original Post

Black Light Theater


Using props you've created, no puppets required!


Definition: What is Black Light Theater

Black Light theater is a form of puppetry where the puppets are operated on a stage lit only with ultraviolet lighting (black, or sometimes call blue, fluorescent lights). The puppeteers perform dressed in black (head to toe) against a black background (walls and floor) . The ultraviolet light does not pick up the black so the puppeteers blend into the background becoming invisible to the naked eye. In turn the ultraviolet light causes the fluorescent colours of puppets (or props) to visually glow.

Words, puppets, and props as if by magic appear, disappear and move effortlessly about the stage. So for the audience they are captivated as the bible story or theme is portrayed musically and visually. The performance becomes truly magical.

Reasons To Use Black Light Drama

  • Putting on a “Black Light Performance” is GREAT fun for the kids and CAPTIVATING for your audience!
  • Fun way to retell the story!
  • Everyone will want to participate (no one is intimidated as they are invisible)!
  • Great way to promote your lesson by performing during or after church, to finish your rotation at the end of the month.
  • With Black Light theater you can do things like: a whale swallowing Jonah, Jesus walking on water, do interpretative dance, be creative with music, etc .

 

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Preparing your Space (Stage or Classroom Set-Up)


a) Stage Area

Term “Stage” - We will be using this term throughout.
Note: Stage represents an actual "stage" OR the "classroom area designated" as your stage. Directions are basically the same for either, and will be noted if different.

Walls - whatever area you are using you need to blacken both the back wall and two side walls of your stage area.

Stage Background Materials to Use:

Professionals use BLACK VELVET fabric. Apparently it is the least visible fabric under ultraviolet light.  We on the other hand will use what we can get our hands on!  So on a budget black plastic tarps work great and is what we recommend!  Janice used an old black pool cover that was large enough to cover the three sides of one end of a classroom to create her stage area.

Floor - (is optional), as long as it's not white or a neon color that will glow under the black lights taking away from the production.

Black cotton fabric works fine if

you need to cover your floor area. Double Sided Carpet Tape

  • To keep the fabric from shifting with the kids walking buy a roll of ”Two-Sided Carpet Tape” (Walmart). It has a blue liner that is silicone coated for easy unwind, excellent adhesive that leaves no residue. Works great!

Ceiling does not matter.

Pictured below:  Jaymie Derden, at State Street UMC, created an 8 foot square  stage area using a 12 X 20 ft black tarp  which they hung from their drop ceiling.

Black Tarp Hung from Ceiling
 

squeeze clip

In above picture, to hang the tarp from their drop ceiling grids they used 3" grid ceiling clips" (several sources -- search for "grid ceiling clips", other name used for them are "Metal Ceiling Squeeze Clips or Hooks').  See picture of one on the right.

 

 

 

b) What to do if you have floor to ceiling posts/ pipes in your stage area?Covering a Post in Stage Area

Janice had two steel posts (ceiling supports) that were in the front area of her only available stage space. In order to hide them, and also offer protection should anyone accidentily walk into them, she covered them in “Foam Pipe Wrap”, available in ½” or ¾” thickness, in 6 foot lengths. She laid 6 on the floor in a row, put dowels in them, ran black duct tape across top and bottom then wrapped it around the post (see picture “Footprints on the Water” below). The Foam Pipe Wrap - purchase anywhere plumbing supplies are carried and it’s cheap.
 
 

c) Preparing Rest of Room

  • The rest of the room must also be dark enough for the best effect!
  • Black out windows with black fabric, or black garbage bags.
  • Rooms outside of main room – that light may filter through to your room – cover windows simply by hanging garbage bags over windows with painters tape (so it does not remove your paint on the walls or doorposts).
  • During the performance all lights must be turned off.

    * When the performance space is dark, the puppeteer becomes invisible while everything else glows. Words, puppets, and props as if by magic appear, disappear and move effortlessly about the stage.

c) Audience Area

It is nice to have an area out from the front of your stage with a row(s) of chairs (cushions or if the room is carpeted they can simply sit on the floor), for students not performing where they can sit and be the audience until their turn.

It is also handy to use this area for everyone to sit as you discuss your plans with the kids and do any before or after bible study.

Attachments

Images (4)
  • Double Sided Carpet Tape
  • Black Tarp Hung from Ceiling
  • Covering a Post in Stage Area
  • squeeze clip
Last edited by Luanne Payne

Stage Lighting


a) What Are Black Lights

Black Light’s are required.
The long fluorescent “Black Lights” or sometimes called “Blue Light” tubes. The Black lights are a very dark blue in appearance and when turned on, produce blue/violet and ultra violet light at low levels. This light makes any fluorescent colours and bleached white materials glow.

b) How Do They Work

A black light gives off concentrated ultraviolet light, this light spectrum you cannot see. When the ultraviolet light is shined on a fluorescent colour or fluorescent material, the fluorescent absorbs the light casting it immediately back. This creates a longer wavelength of light which in turns makes it visible to the naked eye and causing the glow effect.

c) Which Lights To Buy

Fluorescent Fixtures and Fluorescent Black Light Tubes (Lamps)

  • Fixtures: 48" Commercial Electric White Shop Fluorescent Light Fixtures. Yo want the double ones that hold TWO lights tubes.  Carried by building supply stores (Canadian Tire, Lowes, Home Depot, etc.)

    1 Fluorescent Light Fixture
  • Tubes:Black Light Fluorescent by GE (General Electric) 48 inch – 40 watt. [Check any store that carries light bulbs (e.g. Canadian Tire, Home Depot are a couple to check out, also check your local Lightening store, if they don't stock them, they may order them in for you. You can also do an internet search and order on-line.]

    2 Black Light Light Bulb

  • 48" Black Light Fixture with Tube:  These come with an on-off switch and a 6 ft. Cord. These can be found on-line, just do a search.48 inch Fixture with Tube
    Examples:

    - "48-Inch Sllimline Blacklight 360 Fixture & Tube", UPC #84001514360.

    - "Sleeklook Super 48” Black Light", UPC #604020043407.


    3 Sleeklook Black Light

 

d) How Many Lights Do I Need For My Space

Will depend on the size of your stage area.
Black lights required – for every 8 ft of depth - place 4 ft. tubes every 8 feet.

Janice’s room she used TWO:
  • Two - 4 ft ceiling fixtures (double bulbs).
    Janice has a drop ceiling in her room, with two fluorescent light fixtures – she replaced the four white tubes with 4 black tubes. To turn off the other ceiling lights she just slightly turned each bulb, as all the ceiling lights where connected to the same light switch. When she needed light she open doors of surrounding rooms.
  • Five – single 40 watt black light regular bulbs in fixtures across front of stage.
    Note: Do not use, they get really HOT, the kids can trip over them, they will BURN anything that touches them, and they DO NOT MAKE ANYTHING GLOW! 

Luanne used FOUR: 
  • One - 4 ft fixture (single bulb) hung from ceiling.
  • Two - 4 ft. Fixtures (double bulbs) stood vertically on hand-made stands (directions below) on each side of stage.
  • One - 4 ft. Fixture (double bulbs) place horizontally on a wooden box facing towards back of stage. Note: the sides of the fluorescent fixture allowed me to lie it on it’s side. The box kept it off the floor.
  • Five – single 40 watt black light regular bulbs. Used in light sockets across top of stage. Only because they were connected to the switch I was using for the black light fixture I had hung from the ceiling. They didn’t make things glow, but I didn’t have to worry about partially unscrewed bulbs falling out.
    Blacklight attached to back of chair

Pictured right:  Jaymie Derden, at State Street UMC, in her 8 foot square  stage area used two 48 inch blacklights  from blacklight.com.   She used heavy cord/yarn to tie each light to the back of a chair so they stood vertically and then were positioned on each side of the stage.  See here for a picture of her stage.

 

e) Diagram of Luanne's Stage Set-Up


Red Dashed Lines– indicates area of floor covered in black material.
Thick Red Line – indicates back wall partition covered in black material.
FOUR Blue Boxes – indicates Black Fluorescent Light Fixtures and their positions.
#1 & #2 – vertical double fluorescent light fixtures on home-made stands behind curtains, angled towards back.
#3 – double fluorescent light fixture laid horizontally across top of a three sided wooden box (see details and photo below under "How to Build A Light Fixture Stand") .
#4 – single fluorescent light fixture hung horizontally from ceiling – had it towards the front of stage as it was the only place we could attach the light fixture from the ceiling (see “Where to Buy #3 above).

 

6 Stage Black Lights Positions

Attachments

Images (6)
  • 1 Fluorescent Light Fixture
  • 2 Black Light Light Bulb
  • 3 Sleeklook Black Light
  • 6 Stage Black Lights Positions
  • Blacklight attached to back of chair
  • 48 inch Fixture with Tube
Last edited by Luanne Payne

How to Build Stands for your Fluorescent Light Fixtures

1.  How To Build a Vertical Stand for Blacklights

Materials:
  • 3/4” plywood
    1 – 16” x 16” piece (base of stand)
  • 2” x 4” lumber (upright part of stand)
    1 – 32” piece
    1 – 10 ½” gusset (mitered at 45% angles)
  • Screws
  • Drill
  • Black Light Fixture (double lights) – has 6 ft. Cord attached
    (see “What to Buy:” #1 - above).
  • Can of Flat Black Spray Paint (for metal/wood)
  • Can of Gloss Black Spray Paint (for metal/wood)
    [the two cans of paint above should do approx. 3 light fixtures]
  • Black Light Bulbs – 2 per light
    (see “What to Buy:” #2 - above).
  • Optional: Black Paint for the wood stand.
NOTE: black lights get HOT – so the stands help keep them away from the kids!
 

 4 Black Light Fixture StandCompleted Light Stand

 Directions:
  • Before painting light fixtures make sure bulbs are removed as you’ll be spray painting them, make sure the area is clear and be mindful of paint fumes – we did them outside.
  • Paint inside of fixtures with the “Glossy” Black paint as this reflects the ultra-violet light.
  • Paint outside of fixtures with the “Flat” Black paint.
  • Base of light fixture stand is made from 3/4” plywood
    – Cut 1 piece – 16” x 16”
  • Upright part of light fixture stand is cut from 2” x 4” lumber
    – Cut 1 – 32” piece
    – Cut 1 – 10 ½” gusset (mitered at 45% angles).
  • Using a drill and screws (size – used assorted sizes – just what he had) attach upright piece to base, then add the gusset (see photo).
  • After light fixture has dried (1 hour +) using a drill and screws – drill the light fixture to the upright 2x4 piece, light fixture should be 14” above Plywood base with the cord on the bottom of fixture.
  • Insert two - Black Light Bulbs - (see “What to Buy:” #2 - above).
  • Black Paint (optional) for the wood stand – it is not painted in picture so you can see how it was put together. If stands will be hid by stage curtain it does not matter, but if you’re using them in an open room, I’d paint them black so they disappear.
  • Black Fabric (optional) to cover white cord – I plan to make a black fabric tube the length of the cord and attach to wood, under light fixture, with Velcro.

 

2.  How To Build a Horizontal Stand for Black Lights

I recycled an old wooden bedroom window valence used to hide roller blind. We laid the light fixture horizontal, on it’s side, across the top of this box (Note: box was painted black after picture was taken) inside was left white.

Reason for box:

This kept fixture off floor and slightly raised and there was room to hide small props underneath (such as fish & bread) which were coloured on both sides in "Footprints" song).  The audience could not see the props until they were pulled from underneath the light.

Dimensions:
Top: 44 1/2" Long x 8" Wide
Back: 44 1/2" Long x 4" High.
Ends: 8" x 4" (two)
Front: Open

You may wish to make yours slightly longer (than 44 1/2") as the 4 foot light fixture (48") hung over two inches past each end.

 

5 Horizontal Light Fixture on Wood Box

Attachments

Images (3)
  • 4 Black Light Fixture Stand
  • 5 Horizontal Light Fixture on Wood Box
  • Completed Light Stand
Last edited by Luanne Payne

Telling the Story through Song

Song Selection

  • Before making your props or puppets you will need to select your song and then from the song choose what WORD, PROPS, or PUPPETS your require (we did not use puppets – too expensive).
  • Print off the lyrics to the song and go through and highlight words or phrases that would make easy props, and be the most effective in your storytelling.
  • Once you’ve picked those words or phrases decide when the prop goes up and when it will go down (maybe with a red slash).
  • The kids in front will block the kids behind them, so it’s best to break the kids into 2 or 3 lines on your stage.
- The back line will be standing to hold up their props such as the chorus words/phrases.
- The middle row will have varying props, large but possibly not as large as the back group. They will be on their knees.
- The front row can be your younger children (if you have a large mixed group) and they can be sitting and holding the smaller props.
  • If your picking a song with lots of movement, then you will want fewer kids (4 max).


Black Light Props

Materials:
  • Paint Sticks or Dowels (painted black). Janice and I both agree that Paint Sticks are the easiest to use, more durable and cheaper.
  • Cardboard (broken down boxes, etc.)
  • Poster Board Sheets – Black (lots)
  • Fluorescent Poster Board Sheets - can purchase package of 5 assorted colours - Item #065800663091 or #66309 (Staples or any craft store or business supplies store).
    Fluorescent colours recommended: bright yellow, orange, light green, bright purples (deep violet to lavender), light blue, and hot pink.
  • Eyes - puppet eyes inserted into two large Styrofoam grey balls, which were glued to Popsicle stick, which was glued to a paint stick
  • Black tape (Duct Tape).
  • Glue Gun & Glue

Directions:
  • Paint all paint sticks black OR wrap with Duct Tape.
  • Insert paint sticks into props for children to hold.
  • Place cardboard between prop front and back to give it stiffness so it will hold upright.
  • Generally, one side will always be black, the other side coloured. Except, for smaller items like in pictures below (fish and bread) where it is not necessary, especially props that will be staying in the scene the entire song.
  • For a really large sign (like Peter walking on water, see below picture) we actually taped two “black metal drawer pull handles” onto the back for the child to hold as the prop for fairly heavy due to it’s size.
  • For words make large block letters on black background. Each letter, in a word, can be a different colour.
  • A neat idea I found for writing words, as I’m writing this, is from “One Way Street” – Black Light Glue Sticks you can use in hot or cool glue guns!
    http://www.creativemin.com/pro.../blacklight_puppetry
    I'm thinking "Writing on the Wall" - Daniel, could be amazing!
  • Drawings of animals, etc. – make the drawing itself simple – size will depend on their part in the story, if they need to appear and disappear always make one side all black.
  • The props in picture below of Incredible, Amazing, and Miracle, Janice covered in bubble wrap to give it more of an underwater feel.
  • Eyes - puppet eyes inserted into two large grey coloured Styrofoam craft balls, eyes were glued to a popsicle stick, which was glued to a paint stick.

    Remember a simple drawing is best! And the larger the better!

 

Examples below of three songs and props created for each.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Song: “Footprints on the Water”

(Story - Jesus Walks on Water)

This song is available on several different CDs by "Wonder Kids".

Note:  if this song goes out of print I will be leaving it here as an example on how to look at the song lyrics to decide on props to create.

Note: The song version we used had the narrated voice of “Grandpa fish” at the beginning, one line in the middle, and at the end. That particular song version is NO longer available, but in case you can find a copy somewhere on the internet it is “Sunday Sing-A-Long Classics CD, by Wonder Kids, Madacy Entertainment, 1998, 00056775127923.

But, I spoke to the kind folks at “Wonder Kids” and received permission to include the song lyrics to the version we had of “Footprints on the Water” here for you.

So, if you wish to include the narration, of “Grandpa” in your Black Light presentation, just have someone who can do a Grandfatherly voice, do it from backstage with a microphone.

LYRICS "FOOTPRINTS ON THE WATER”

Grandpa's narration is shown in "Brown"

*********************************************

Ok little fishes gather around old grampa fish bait and I’ll tell you a story you won’t believe!

When I was a little fish, swimming happily
I heard the sound of footsteps
Walking on the sea
I swam up to the surface
And much to my surprise
There on top of the water
Right before my eyes

Chorus:
And I saw footprints on the water,
Footprints on the sea
Footprints on the water
And I could not believe
I saw Jesus, Jesus
Walking on the waves
Footprints on the water that day.

Ok now, wait to you hear what happens next, you won’t believe it!
Then a man, named Peter
Stepped out on the waves
He tried to walk to Jesus
Then, he sank away
He took his eyes off Jesus
What a big mistake
Down he went into the sea
“O ye of little faith.”

Chorus (Repeat 2 x’s)

Now that’s the truth, I saw them, two feet, and then toes, right above my head and I’m a fish! It was amazing. It was incredible. It was, it was, --a miracle!

 Words and music by Stephen Elkins. ©1993 Wonder Workshop, a division of Stephens Group, Inc, Mt Juliet, TN. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

*********************************************



Using WORDS in SONG to create SIMPLE, but very EFFECTIVE Props

Photo below of Props created for “Footprint on the Water”
7 Footprints on the Water Props

PROPS created for "Footprints on the Water"

  • Grandpa Fish (large fish)
  • Jesus – (word) 
  • Peter - (two legs below water)
  • Chorus – “Footprints on the Water” (two separate feet with water under them) 
  • Incredible – (word)
  • Amazing – (word)
  • Miracle – (word)
  • Smaller fish - 3 (small) 
  • Smaller fish (medium)
  • Smaller fish (medium)
  • Eyes – (two eyeballs)

    Eleven props in total. One child can hold up both Jesus' feet.

 

Scenery Theme for "Footprints on the Water"

Example: for this song use an Underwater Theme – "two simple clumps of seaweed" (see photo below).

Scenery Tips:

Whatever scenery you decide to use it must be kept low so as not to block the kids and the props they are holding behind it.

Imagine a line across the front of your stage. Directly in front of this line, centered on stage will be your "floor" Black Light (laying horizontal - so as not to block).

Take you scenery and place it directly behind the line, on each side of the floor light (center them between your side wall and the light in the center). This allows the floor light to shine on them.

These scenery props do two important things:
 
1) Indicates to the puppeteers the front of the stage; they are to stay behind these at all    times. Especially helpful when you are using an open room as your stage.

2) It keeps the puppeteers away from the horizontal floor black light, as the bulbs get very hot.

Attachments

Images (1)
  • 7 Footprints on the Water Props
Last edited by Luanne Payne

SONG – “THE NEWS” (Story - Feeding 5000)

Here is another song we did, which can be found on the CD – “20 Stories Every Child Should Know” Book/CD, 2004, Standard Publishing, 9780784715864. This you can easily find.

Note:  if this song goes out of print I will be leaving it here as an example on how to look at the song lyrics to decide on props to create.

Photo of Props used for: “The News” (Feeding 5000) 

8 The News Props

Scenery – Meadow / Hill – instead Janice took “two” weaved baskets & spray painted neon orange. Grass similar to the sea weed would also have worked.

Props/Puppets

  • Jesus –(Word)
  • 5000 – (Number) 
  • Five Small fish
  • Two Loafs of Bread
  • People / Crowd (several simple round faces drawn onto one prop)
  • Treat (Word - YUM)
  • Tasty Dish (Word - YUM)
  • Chorus
    • Did You Hear (Words)
    • The News (Newspaper) (Words)
    • About What Jesus Did? (Words)

 

Ten props in total. Two, three, or more children can do the 5 fish and two loaves. One or two children can do the two YUM YUM signs.

Note: you could have the children help with the props – but you may want to pre-draw them first and they could help cut-out and assemble.

Attachments

Images (1)
  • 8 The News Props
Last edited by Luanne Payne

Dressing for Black Light & Costume Suggestions

Please note that it is not necessary to use hoods in the classroom when using black lights in your drama workshop. Asking the children to come dressed in black or dark clothing is helpful.  

Clothing to hide performers/puppeteers

  • Hoods – we made of lightweight black cotton broadclot10 Puppeteer Costumesh with a face panel of easy-to-see-through lighter black knit (doubled) and long enough they sat on the children’s shoulders. One size fits all (kids & adults). Directions to make hoods below.
  • Black Gloves - when you don't want hands seen (inexpensive kid’s knit black gloves that are available everywhere in the fall/winter).
  • Clothing black (long sleeves, long pants).
  • Socks – black.

Costume Suggestions (that will glow under blacklight)

  • White clothing also works for dance numbers. Black tights, white wrap around skirt, white gloves, white flower head band, neon streamers from waist, etc.
  • Also, use costumes you have that work with the lights, have puppeteer wear hood, cut add a neon wig or light coloured shepherds hat.
  • To make wigs – buy mops and spray paint with neon colours. Or watch around Halloween at the costume stores for ones in the neon colours – blue neon is great!

    TIPS: 
  • Have extra clothes on hand, for visitors and kids who forget to wear black. I went to a local used clothing store and pick up a few inexpensive kids “black” sweatshirts, sweaters, pants, and sweatpants. Plus, purchase some extra black socks.
  • Have black tape on hand to cover any emblems, logos, track pant stripes. You can get Black Vinyl Electrical Tape that is wider (around 4" or 5” width) that worked nicely.

Simple “HOODS” You Can Make Yourself

11 Hood for Black Light
 
Materials:

  • Black Cotton Broadcloth
  • Black Stretch Mesh
  • Black Thread
  • ¼” wide White Elastic 

Directions:
  • From black Cotton Broadcloth cut a piece - 22 ½ “ W x 15” H (add 2” seam at top).
  • From black Stretch Mesh DOUBLED cut a piece that measures folded 11 ½” x 15” H (add 2” seam allowance top).
  • The one I have the two pieces where put together with a Serger. So leave extra seam allowance if you don’t have a Serger.
  • Along the top run a ½” casing leaving a small opening to run a piece of ¼” wide White Elastic through (I would simple put a small safety pin into the end of the elastic and push it through). Then pull elastic tight closing the top, and knot a couple of times. This gives the top of the hood a nice rounded effect. The hood is long enough to sit on an adults shoulders.

Attachments

Images (2)
  • 10 Puppeteer Costumes
  • 11 Hood for Black Light
Last edited by Luanne Payne

Class Time (Or Practice)

  • Have a written list of props and write child's name beside the one they are doing, so if you have more than one practice or especially if you do a performance later, you know who did what, the kids will often decide they want to do something different and not having practiced with that prop it can mess up your performance (I learned the hard way).
  • We practiced without the light set-up (and in my case not even on the stage).
  • The kids can break into groups anywhere in the building to practice you do not need the light’s or special stage set-up for practice.
  • Janice had a larger group of 24 kids (I had 10). She was doing four different pieces, so each group had their own props and music. So they went into different rooms to practice. We practiced as one group.
  • Give each group a copy of the lyrics with the WORDS underlined or bolded which will be the cue for the leader (reader) of that group.
  • Children can learn when to hold their prop up, take it down, movement, see the other participants, etc.
  • As they read the lyrics out loud they can pause after each highlighted word to make sure the kids are on cue for the first run through.
  • We had only one practice on stage, with the Black Lights, the Sunday before our performance in front of the entire congregation.
    This was due to scheduling conflicts the entire month. I could never set the stage up the night before as the room was booked for other events. Which at the time was frustrating on my part, but it turned out the kids did great with only one Sunday practice on the stage with the lights, the Sunday before we did our performance, for the church.
  • You will need a minimum of two teachers. One to work with the kids and the other to look after cueing the music (same required for performance).

 

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Performance Tips

  • Have your list of props and who's using them.
  • Check and make sure you CD player works (spare one on hand is handy).
  • You will need a minimum of two teachers. One or two to set-up props between performances and to fill in if anyone doesn’t show up. One to cue music.
  • Have all the props pre-laid out on floor for first group.
  • Have hoods, gloves, and black electrical tape on stage ready (tape to cover logos or strips on pants). Also have your extra black clothes in case anyone needs them.
  • If you have a small space and want to perform for the congregation have two or more showings.
  • Remind kids when they are gathering up their props and getting in place to be quiet (no talking).
  • Wash Hoods after every practice and performance.
  • As your audience arrives have the kids hand out “Glow in the Dark Bracelets” (Michaels’ stores have “Glow in the Dark Bracelets” by check-out counter -15 in a tube for $1.50 CDN. Or “Mini Glow In the Dark Tubes” Dollar Store or Party Store - on strings for around your neck. Kids performing can have one – after the performances.

Performance Invite

Janice’s children made invites using Sparkle Art Paper and Styluses (they did this by gluing two papers back

on the front it said:

The Sunday School Children from Grades 1 to presents
Black Light Theater
“THE MIRACLES OF JESUS”
Date: -------
Immediately following the service downstairs

on the back was this picture:


12 Performance Invite

 

Bulletin Board Idea (see below photo)

13 Performance Bulletin Board

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Images (2)
  • 12 Performance Invite
  • 13 Performance Bulletin Board
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BIBLIOGRAPHY



Last edited by Luanne Payne

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

BLACK LIGHT PUPPETS

Neither Janice or I have used puppets for Black Light.

So we’ve gathered ideas for you below that will hopefully help you out if you decide to go that route.

The only difference between a regular puppet and a black light puppet is the material they are made of - must be fluorescent.

a) How to make Puppets

Check out www.puppetcreation.com. They sell a puppet pattern for $10. All you need is to find someone who sews in your church. They also have demonstration video’s (links below) that walk you through, step by step, how to make a puppet.

You Tube – How to Make a Quality Puppet by “Puppet Creations” – 4 videos - total 70 minutes.

b) Black Light Puppets, Scripts, Lights & Accessories


ADDITIONAL CREATIVE WAYS TO USE BLACK LIGHTS
(Ideas gathered from doing an internet search)

  • Cover a wall with paper (white or black) and give the kids highlighter markers (that work under the Black Lights) and have them draw pictures of the story or write out the memory verse.
    I have some old CHALK BOOKS and OVERHEAD GAMES BOOKS and I’m thinking I’m going to go through these and note ideas that would work using the above idea using Paper Easels (or paper taped to wall) .
  • Indoor Easter Egg Hunt with glow in the dark eggs.
  • Room decorating – a local church, “Ebeneezer United Church” movie theater was painted with fluorescent paint theme “In the Beginning” when I sat down and they turned the lights out, it was like being in outer space – way too cool!.
  • Changing room theme – I’m thinking you could take a plain room, paint the walls black and hang objects / characters around the walls done in fluorescent paint and use for a storytelling room – each month it would have a new theme.
  • Black Light Dance or Halloween Carnival
  • Missions – take your performance to local shelters, malls, evening street parties, etc.
  • Wednesday Night’s – best behaved group gets to sit at the “Bangin’ Table” at end of evening for a snack. This group spray painted one table with clear neon and put some electricity balls on it.
  • Black light sensitive carpet on stage that the kids can dance on under black light.
  • Praise dance and interpretive dance.
  • Palma Smiley Black Light Storybooks (11” x 14") - update June 6, 2014 -
    https://www.palmasmileyearlychildhood.com/shop
    Stories Include:
    a. Armour of God
    b. Baby Moses
    c. Birth of Jesus
    d. Boy Jesus
    e. Creation
    f.  Creation: Sea Life
    g. Daniel
    h. David and Goliath
    i.  Esther
    j.  Fiery Furnance
    k. Good Samaritan
    l.  Jesus Loves the Children
    m. Jonah
    n. Loaves and Fishes
    o. Lost Sheep
    p. Noah's Ark
    q. Prodigal Son
    r. Samuel
    s. Wise & Foolish Builders
    t.  Zacchaeus
  • Books
    -  "Black Light Ideas" https://www.bringthemin.com/store/black-light/black-light-ideas/
    - "Black Light Painting" https://www.bringthemin.com/store/black-light/black-light-painting/
    - "Let There Be . . . Blacklight! https://www.bringthemin.com/st...be-.-.-.-blacklight/
  • Salt & Light Ministries- DVD 4 Nights in the Museum – 5 songs choreographed (for the advanced) http://www.saltandlightmin.org...hts_at_a_Museum.html


YOU TUBE BLACK LIGHT PERFORMANCES

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Links to lessons and/or ideas that incorporate or use Black Lights here at rotation.org:

Ascension of Jesus

  • Member ikinser has three Science Demonstrations about being witnesses, one of which uses black light to reveal the work and presence of God among us, idea found here.

Christmas

  • Supporting member Sherry shared in "Isaiah foretells the Messiah" an idea to do black light skits on Hands and Feet "God With Us" link.
  • Supporting member Luanne shared a YouTube link to a Christmas black light done to the song "It's About The Cross" by Go Fish.

Easter

  • Crucifixion: Long time member Jan includes a black light/glow-in-the-dark alternative idea for her Crucifixion Drama Workshop link.
    DSC03057
  • Resurrection: How to make an Easter Tomb "STONE" for black light that your kids can roll away! link

Jesus Heals the Ten Lepers

  • Supporting Member, CathyWalz, uses black light in one of the experiments in her "Science Workshop" link.

Jonah

  • Guest Puppetmaker - shared idea of their use of black lights inside their blow-up whale link.
  • Rev Ron Shifley (Scotland UCC) used blacklights and glow in the dark markers inside their whale - check out their lesson "Prayer Inside the Belly of a Whale" link.

Joshua & Caleb

  • Rotation Friend took Supporting Member's CathyWalz ZONK game and adapted it by painting the point values on felt circles with Glow-in-the-Dark paint so that the numbers did not show though the lighter colors of felt. The children held the circles up to a black light to see what they had won. Great game.

Paul's Conversion

  • Supporting member ZBCC's "A Glowing Witness - Black Light Art Gallery" lesson link.
    Using black lights and glowing paints, students explore how Saul’s conversion changed him into a glowing witness for Christ. Students then create a glowing poster that delivers their own message about Jesus to others.

Pentecost

  • Writing Team's - Pentecost: Wind, Fire, Faith!: Movement and Music Workshop - our first workshop using black lights! (link available to Supporting Members - become a Supporting Member today!)

Samuel

  • Guest kbalbert shared her idea to use black lights with the song "Here I Am Lord" using white gloves & motions.  She lists a few tips for others on doing this link.Getting ready to start

    Jaymie Derden took the above idea and created a black light drama lesson, see it here.

 

 

 

If you have used black lights, please post your idea or lesson under the appropriate story forum, thanks!

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Images (2)
  • DSC03057
  • Getting ready to start
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Videotaping Black Light Performance

After doing her first drama lesson using black lights Jaymie had these words of wisdom for videotaping the students ...

  1. Have your video camera on a tripod, or place on a table, locate it in front of center stage. 

  2. Test it to make sure you are not too close or too far away from the stage and that the kids will be centered in the video frame. 

  3. Have a separate adult/helper monitoring the video camera. (I was busy leading the signs and didn't realize that the kids weren't centered in the video frame. Oops. Process not product, right?)

  4. Start the video camera! (Note: I was really nervous about how this would work, but it was mostly great. There is one place in the video, where the hands were blurry, but otherwise, it worked really well.)

Photography Tips

Rule #1:  NO FLASH.  If you don't turn your flash off, you will completely lose the glow that the black lights create.

Rule #2:  Slow your shutter speed.  REALLY slow it down.  Check to see if your camera as either a night time or fireworks setting, she says if your camera has it, use it.
Rule #3:  Use a tripod.  With the night time setting, some pictures may literally take a minute to expose, far too long to hold a camera still yourself. 
Source for the above Photography Tips http://ourlittlewomen.blogspot...light-party-101.html
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Blacklight Lock-in (Party) Ideas

Found these great ideas by Corinne on her ministry blog. I love that she includes pictures with all her descriptions, as well as, including links where to purchase same items.

Here are more great ideas I discovered by another blogger ourlittlewomenblogspot.

  • More Blacklight Party Ideas:
    • Tips about glow sticks - keep the used ones as even after they lose their glow in the dark, they still work under blacklight!
    • Hopscotch Game
    • Hoola Hoops - cover in neon tape
    • Twister Game
    • Inexpensive dishware that glows
    • a recipe for making cupcakes that don't use tonic water, the icing glows under blacklight - looks yummy!
Last edited by Luanne Payne

Making Simple Fir Trees

I'm sure everyone has made these, so the only reason I'm posting is my solution to how I added handles to the back.

The one pictured was made by a gentleman at Janice's church and had a wooden 2x4 back and base, so it was self-standing. But you can see (in the picture to your right) how nice the neon green Bristol board sheets look under black light.

For this year's skit (not black light) I needed Fir Tree Front and Back Viewstwo tall simple Fir trees and decided to make them dual purpose by using the neon green Bristol board sheets.

Supplies:

  • Green Bristol Board Sheets (number will depend on size of trees) ours were tall, so we used 4 sheets per tree.
  • Cardboard (cardboard fridge box or foam board)
  • Wide Tongue Depressors (if piecing cardboard or foam board together)
  • 2 small or medium sized gift bags (from your home wrapping supplies) with those strong twisted paper handles
  • dowel rod or yard stick
  • duck tape
  • marker
  • scissors
  • glue gun

Directions:

  1. Lay your green sheets together, making a butt joint on the widest side (make sure the sides with price bar is face-up), then duct tape over your seam.
  2. Now draw on this same back side your tree shape (pattern), so your marks don't show on the good side, then cut out. Reinforcing joined cardboard or foam board
  3. So it will stand straight: use a piece of cardboard the height of your tree (or piece together cardboard or foam board using the butt joint, then glue on wide tongue depressors across your seam to reinforce it, then duct tape across seam and over tongue depressors, sample pictured.)
  4. Lay down your cut tree on your cardboard. With a marker mark a dot at the inside branch indents. Removed the tree then using a yard stick or dowel rod draw a line inside the marks on the fridge box. Then cut out the triangle like shape with a Utility Knife.
  5. Glue your tree to the cardboard, centering the cardboard inside the tree so it can't been seen from the good side.Using gift bag handles on back of props
  6. For handles, so the kids could easily move the tree and hold it upright. Cut down at both sides, then across removing the entire section where the handle is glued into the bag. Then glue this section to the back of your tree, on the cardboard as pictured.

The trees were light and the handles easy for kids or adults to move or hold upright. It also allowed for them to be stored, packed flat, should you have room to keep them for another time.

Attachments

Images (3)
  • Fir Tree Front and Back Views
  • Reinforcing joined cardboard or foam board
  • Using gift bag handles on back of props
Last edited by Luanne Payne

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