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In this topic, we're collecting and discussing ideas for creating classroom stages, drama spaces, props, backdrops, "sets" and the like for Sunday School classes. Your ideas are welcome -- especially if you have a photo!

You can find costume ideas here in this other topic.

Teaching with various types and styles of drama is a fun and memorable way to learn and explore the meaning of Bible stories. Having a room designed and stocked with drama supplies makes it EASIER to do. It also helps to be teaching using the Workshop Rotation Model so that your room and teacher can stay the same each week -- which makes it easier to set up and keep up, and you rotate a different grade into the space each week.

Learn more about the Workshop Rotation Model
See more Drama Workshop Photos
Visit all of our Drama Workshop Resources

Some Sunday Schools share space, so they need movable options, and we're all on a budget, so please post your clever suggestions as well.

You'll notice in our Drama Workshop Photo Collection that Rotation Model Drama rooms tend to have scenery painted on the wall --which helps when you're doing various Bible stories. Those rooms aren't full of a lot of furniture either!



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Last edited by Amy Crane
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Ways to Use Plastic Tablecloths

Hi, I posted a tyvek suggestion, and I am also the plastic tablecloth nut. I have cut and cool-melt glued plastic tablecloths together. The plastic is a beautiful way to create scenery backdrops using the colored plastic as the colors in your scene. It is cut as sky, land, water, etc. and then reglued together. I have added textural things such as cotton, netting, sand, glitter, etc. to add effect at times.

They store in a banker box and have no creases like paper gets, go up in a snap with banker clips or ticky tack.

The tyvek drops I roll and store upright.

As for costumes...a hot glue guns work wonders in this area. They are kind of like duct tape-the solution to many joining challenges. I sew very little anymore for church costumes and the glue guns work great for animal costume construction or some of those other oddball ideas that crop up.

Last edited by Amy Crane
Thanks for the suggestions for backdrops, however I didn't make myself
clear. I am looking for ideas for buildings, manger sets, 3-D type of
props - (like the jail for Paul, etc.) The problem with cardboard box
props is that they aren't durable enough to last through a month's worth of classes. We don't want to get into building (plywood type) but felt there must be something better than appliance boxes that would hold up for the entire rotation. Is this a problem for anyone else or are our kids just a little too rough on the props?

Ideas for set pieces for drama workshops:

I built a tent out of pvc pipe (actually patio furniture framing pipe so you have more connector pieces to choose from is better if you have access to Palm Casual or a similar custom patio store in your area) and covered it with big pieces of fabric. It was a tent for Abraham, etc. as well as a tent to gather in/around to hear a story. We used our imaginations and it was the stable at Christmas and any other building we needed.

We also have a puppet stage made out of pvc that was U-shaped and covered with black fabric. For prison and the tomb, we turned it around and the area where the puppeteers would stand became inside the prison/tomb/etc.

Tables draped with cloth (or better yet, the plastic tablecloths that we will all be investing in now) -- either upright or turned on their sides -- also can be parts of scenery. Long tables with folding legs can also be set on their side or stood on end (and fastened together for safety) to make walls.

Things I make out of appliance boxes, I tape together and reinforce with packing tape and then remind the student of the fragile nature of their surroundings. They hold up pretty well for five weeks or so.

Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Using a "pop up" tent to make desert tents, Abraham and Sarah's tent, or a stage.

I purchased a inexpensive tent (but with no walls)from a discount store. It is made from blue plastic and I got it on sale for under $50. The frame is made from poles you put together and can be put up or down in about 5 minutes. It's very light, but you can throw and hang sheets or wrap it with a canvas tarp for an Old Testment story tent. Add a persian rug and cushions for classroom experience!

You can also HANG sheets on the front of a pop up tent to make it your "theater curtains." You can remove the blue plastic roof so that light shine in, and hang a sheet in the back for "scenery."

Watch for them on sale, you'll find many uses for them!

My husband made for me a handy prop I have used over and over again. He took a 4'X8' piece of wooden lattice from a garden shop and cut in lengthwise, framed around the edges and put a hinge at one end (the narrow end.) I have used this over and over again, for a lions den, a pig pen, to mark a path, a small wall. I fold it up when not needed.


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Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Using "Rigid Foam Board" for backdrops and prop construction

  • Very lightweight.
  • Comes in 4x8 sheets in varying thicknesses.
  • Use heavy plastic tape to seam them or hinge them together so they stand up.
  • They can also be easily cut into shapes.
  • Your local home hardware store will have several options.

Foam boards can also be easily painted to turn them into palaces, stone walls, stone wells, and Jericho walls, etc.


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Last edited by Neil MacQueen

A GREAT book on this topic is available through Amazon. It is James Hull Miller's Self Supporting Scenery for Children's Theatre.


Check it out. The scenery is sturdy, mobile, easily stored and HIGHLY adaptable. I have used Miller's ideas often and it is so wonderful to have pieces to just pull out when you need them.


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  • scenery-book
Last edited by Amy Crane
We just did a western scene at church using foam that was then painted with a wood graining tool. The effect was great and it was cheap and relatively fast. The tools can be picked up at any paint, hardware or craft store.

Building a Removable Drama Workshop "Stage"

Posted by member Tammy

We needed to keep our stage simple and removable, so we have two wood pallets over which we attached two 4x4 pieces of plywood and a rug.

Posted by memberKaren

It's kind of amazing how much a simple "riser" stage makes the kids want to get up on it and act!  Before we used to just stand on the floor, but there are plenty of times when having a stage to step onto helps the kids step into their characters.

We asked a volunteer to build our drama stage in two pieces so that it could easily be removed when not needed.



  1. Our volunteer built our stage in two 4' x4' sections. Each section is framed with 6" pine with one centered joist to reduce weight. (If building for adults, use two joists for each section or heavier plywood.)
  2. Each 4x4 piece of plywood lays on top of its 4x4 frame without needing to be fastened.
  3. To keep the plywood in place without permanently fastening it, our volunteer screwed some blocks on the underside of the plywood so that the blocks fit in the corners of the frame and keep it from sliding.
  4. To keep the two sections together, the volunteer put a simple hook on the front and back of the frame.
  5. To reduce noise from the plywood "clopping" on the frame, we added adhesive foam strips.
  6. We bought a 4 x 8 remnant carpeting to lay on top.

Graphics added by Editors


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Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Esther's Purple Throne Room on a Budget

And a quick way to make and hang backdrops for other stories!

throne room

I had seen a really cool "throne room" in Debbie Jackson's Bible Fun for Kids blog ~ Queen Esther but when I looked for her supplies, I found they were no longer available.  This happens a lot!  But other people's set and scenery ideas always inspire to figure out how I can do something similar but more frugally.

tableclothsTHE BACKDROP:
What I came up with was purple plastic tablecloths from the Dollar Store.

I folded over the top of each tablecloth and taped it all the way across to make a pocket to slide over the curtain rods. I hung them from the rod and had my background for about $15 including rods and tablecloths.

Editor's Note:  You can also PAINT a white plastic table cloth or sheet for other backdrops and clip or hang it on the curtain rod for OTHER STORIES.



The thrones presented another problem. We didn’t have any chairs with arms on them in the church. I could not think of what I had at home that I could transport. Then it hit me – folding lawn chairs.

I had a long piece of goldenrod-colored cloth I cut in half to cover the “thrones” with. We also had some shiny gold cloth in our resource room. I just took a short rolling cupboard and covered it with some of the gold cloth to put the crown and scepter on. And voila! I had my throne room - fit for a king, or a queen in this case.

"Gold" cloth comes in handy for many others stories. Ours has been Pharaoh's Robe, the Golden Calf, the Golden Ark, the Rich Younger Ruler, Herod, etc.

throne room

I reused and modified our "Throne Room" set and backdrop when we did the lesson on The Writing on the Wall from Daniel.

Daniel wall hand

1-Kid Frugal Logo [800x318)

Moderator's note: This room design post is from member Joan Eppehimer's KidFrugal blog, which she is sharing here at in order to preserve it for posterity and make it available more widely with our community.  It is part of a large group of lessons and resources that she developed to make "ministry happen when there are no resources to make it happen." Thank you, Joan, for sharing your creativity with our community!

You can read more about Joan and her ministry here.


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Last edited by Neil MacQueen

The Wonderful Large Canvas Tarp

Sunday Schools that use DRAMA to teach their lessons are "masters of re-using and repurposing" supplies not only because we're creative but also because we're on a budget.

One of the most reusable supplies a Drama Workshop can have is a good supply of canvas tarps as well as large pieces of cloth (purchased on sale, of course) and a blue plastic tarp for your "water" scenes.

For example,

This month a giant painter's canvas is hung over a couple of tables on end or PVC frame to become Elijah's cave for the earthquake, wind, fire, and small voice story.

Next month it becomes Abraham and Sarah's tent.

Next month it's covering stacks of chairs and tables to form a hill behind the Sea of Galilee (that blue tarp) in front of which Jesus and the kids are learning the Beatitudes.

Wrap that canvas around some clumps of chairs and it becomes rocks in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Turn that canvas tarp over and you'll find that once-upon-a-time a teacher painted an outdoor "village" scene on it for a skit. Hang it on the wall with a curtain rod and clips.

Wrap it (or a large piece of cloth) around a kid sitting on a ladder, add  $20 worth of reusable "soldier props," and YOU TOO can have Goliath visit your classroom!

And yes, you can even spread some "clean" play sand on top of your tarp!  Many of us have done it for our "desert" and wilderness stories. Lay down a simple 2x4x8 frame and lay the cloth over it. Play sand cleans up really easily, and because it's dry it doesn't stick to kids or carpeting.

(They'll ruin it by using it as a painting drop cloth....)

And of course, its cousin, the Big Blue Tarp

Hide your big blue "water" tarp too. You'll need it for crossing the Red Sea, boating on the Sea of Galilee, Fishers of Men, Calming the Storm, Peter Sinks, the Jordan River, the Pool of Siloam, etc., etc.  Blue tarps can also be painted and hung from the ceiling to crown us with glory (Ps 8).

blue tarp drama scenery

Tip: Have the kids "shake" the blue tarp water to make waves. After the drama is over, you can also play games with a blue tarp, such as "scramble under" and "pop the ball" (like you do with a parachute).

BTW: You can also paint clouds and trees on one side of a blue tarp to create a reusable sky backdrop and hang it from your curtain rod.


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  • Canvas Tarp for use in creating classroom dramas
  • blue tarp drama scenery
  • Blue tarp drama supply
Last edited by Amy Crane

Ready-made backdrops are reusable and not expensive

Check Amazon and party supply catalogs for "photo backdrops". They come in a variety of sizes and materials. Many are printed on vinyl.


But how do you hang them?

You can tape up a vinyl backdrop. However, clipping it is usually better than the mess that tape can leave.

Heavier backdrops made out of heavy paper or canvas definitely need more than tape. In your dedicated Drama space, install a curtain rod along one wall to which you can clip your backdrops.


Tip: Get actual "backdrop clips" that can both hold the material and hang on the curtain rod. They run a few bucks apiece but make putting up scenery so much easier.

Frames and Stands
A sad number of churches feel it is sacrilegious to put up hooks, wires, and curtain rods that will make your life and lessons easier and make your space more attractive to kids. (Unfortunately for those churches, many of them are shrinking.) You might think this comment is sour grapes, but permissions and sacrosanct attitudes about drywall, paint colors, and décor are issues most of us in Christian education have struggled with.

It's amazing how much you can hang on a wall that has some permanent hooks and/or some wire and a building committee that understands that drywall and concrete can be patched. But in lieu of things like hooks and enlightened building committees, or in addition to the curtain rod or hook they may permit -- many programs have discovered movable frames made out of 1x1x8 lumber or PVC pipe, and there are even ones you can purchase!


Tip: If you make your frame out of PVC pipe, don't cement the connections if you want to reuse the pipe at a later time. And you probably will want to reuse the PVC pipe in some other configuration, such as when you need to build a tarp cave or tent frame.  If you need to make the connections tighter, put some masking tape around it so you can cut it loose later.

Backdrops aren't just for Drama Workshops either!

One summer we created "indoor camping spaces" for our classrooms. One of them was named "Gospel Grove" and came complete with camp chairs, 'smores, and Christian camp singing around a fake-campfire. We also set up actual camping tents around the campfire and held some of our lesson activities in the tents. Kids loved it.

Our backdrop was a large mural like this one found on Amazon.

It was up all summer long in our fellowship hall, suspended from the ceiling with clips, and it sure attracted a lot of positive response from the congregation. We paid over $100 for it back then, but Amazon now sells vinyl scenery like this 10' x 10' forest backdrop for under $50.


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Last edited by Amy Crane

A tip from our How to Do Shadow Theater forum...

Two sturdy anchor points on opposing walls or on the ceiling in your classroom will give you MANY options for securing, fabric, scenery, and even creating a theater curtain. These hooks can be used for game setups and art display too.

One simple solution is to simply thread a sturdy rope through a galvanized pipe and attach your curtain or scenery to the pipe. The pipe will eventually sag if you leave it up all the time, so keep it stored when not in use. Do not use aluminum or wood as it will sag too much.


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Pop-up Tents are an inexpensive way to create a stage area with a curtain inside or outside the classroom and Shadow Theater stages in a room where you can lower the lights. The tents can often be found on sale and you'll undoubtedly find other uses for them at the church!


Simple clamp lights can be fixed to the inside of the framing to provide light.


A single sheet is hung for a Shadow Theater setup.


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  • Tent-Stage-Esthers-Palace
  • Shadow-Theater-Curtain-Tent

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