Christmas Designs

A Nuclear Christmas

Mike Batzler and the Fox River Arts team from Fox River Christian Church in Waukesha, WI brings us this funky, contemporary Christmas stage design.

We created this look with three main elements, and then using oversized ornaments found at Sam’s Club or Costco to fill in any empty spaces.

The center of the stage featured oversized Frazzle Lanterns purchased from They applied aluminum foil to the tops of the lanterns as they hung and shot an LED can straight up into the lantern. This provided a glowing effect coming from the lanterns as the light reflected off the tops. The natural slow rotation of the hanging lantern provided another great effect.

The back wall behind the lanterns was lined with a wide ribbon with reflective material woven into the strands to help catch light as well. They purchased the material at Sam’s Club in bulk (neon green and pink).

They also used the same material on their Christmas trees. They constructed these triangle-pyramid shapes to represent the shapes of Christmas trees. Each tree started with a plywood base with a 4″ PVC piping as the trunk. They started at one corner of the base and weaved inch-thick rope up to the top of the PVC and over to the opposite side of the base. They continued the pattern until all the slots were evenly filled.

They added 4 slots on the back side of the pyramid to rope through to help keep the PVC upright and vertical. They finished the pyramids by using spray adhesive on the ropes and applying Pink reflective ribbon (same as the back wall) from bottom to top. They lit them from three LED cans in the corners – firing upwards.

To fill gaps in the stage they took a collection of branches off large trees and spray painted them with white to catch light. They centered 4-inch PVC pipe in the bottom of white buckets and poured cement around the PVC to create a base. This also add weight to keep the branches upright to look like trees. Some trees required additional sandbags for weight or wooden shims in the PVC to hold the branches tight and upright in the PVC. Once created, they decorated them with extra ornaments matching the color scheme and hung them with fishing line.

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