Christmas Designs

Bethlehem Stage Design

Chad Ellenburg from Pleasant Valley Church in Winona, MN brings us this great Bethlehem city stage design.

Their goal was to create a street that might run through the middle of Bethlehem. The problem they usually face is that the depth of their stage does not allow for a lot. So, they solved this with forced perspective. All of the buildings moved toward the vanishing point on the horizon. Chad used perspective lines in Photoshop to make sure the buildings worked.

The construction was primarily cardboard and 2 x 4’s. They had a company that generously donated 7′ x 7′ double strength cardboard. All they had to do was take them a finished photo of the set and a box of donuts.

The stone work was aluminum foil. 3 colors. Base coat of a lighter tan/brown, darker color with a sea sponge for the lower parts and a lighter color for the highlights. They rolled the foil out in 25′ sections and painted the whole roll. Then they just tore off what they needed. Wood branches for the ladder and the small gate. Old wood for the door. Chicken wire, black weed fabric and paint for the timbers near the roof lines. Probably about 80 hours of work.

Transport Beams Advent Paper Chains

19 responses to “Bethlehem Stage Design”

  1. Angela Hoffman says:

    Great job! Love the perspective! Never thought of using foil for rocks. Great idea!

  2. josh says:

    How did you attach the foil to the cardboard to make it stick out like that?

  3. Patrick Fore says:

    This is true set design and amazing use of projection. Be proud of this, it’s killer. So many people get away with poop on this site, boasting on their small budgets, but I can tell you invested in this. It really looks amazing. Thank you for posting this and the work. I know a lot of people don’t appreciate the time involved in a project like this. Who ever you are, I hope you are paid well.

  4. Chad Ellenburg says:

    Thanks for the encouragement! I love this part of my job and cannot believe I get to do this for a living.

    re: the rocks

    Flip the foil over and bend each side up about an inch. We used gaff tape underneath on 2 sides only (top and right or left side). This allowed us to put our hands behind and shape each rock after it had been fixed to the cardboard.

  5. Drew Hoopingarner says:

    Would you be willing to share that image that you projected with me? We love that image and would love to use it for our church for Advent.

  6. Samantha Hoffpauir says:

    Thank you for your picture. Can I ask where you got the cardboard and how you got it donated? I am trying to come up with something for our VBS Set this year, and the suggested materials would go way over my budget…

  7. Bonnie McGill says:

    Chad, What color paint did you use on the buildings? Can’t tell because of all the blue lighting. Our small group at church is going to attempt this on a much smaller scale. One more questions: the 2×4’s you used. Where did you use them? Thank you so much. We have a small stage in our fellowship hall were going to use for our Ladies of Faith Christmas program called A Night In Bethlehem. I am making oil lamps out of terracotta clay to place on our tables and covering the tables with brown paper to make them look like wood. I so love doing things like this so I can relate to your passion for it!!!
    Thank you for even considering to answer this email. I know its been years since the website was put up but I’m praying you’ll answer….sincerely and humbly…Bonnie McGill Huron, Ohio 8-13-2015

  8. Bonnie McGill says:

    please notify me of follow-up comments via email…thank you

  9. Brenda Lukasiewicz says:

    Hello, would you be willing to share any helpful tips for achieving this? The cost of purchased materials? I want to make sure I would be able to budget properly… Looks amazing!

  10. Hey Folks… so sorry. We get busy and I don’t get notifications of comments. If anyone ever needs these questions answered for future stuff. Shoot me an email: chad

  11. says:

    Can you please tell me how much will it cost about this stage design. MY CHURCH IS VERY INTERESTED IF YOU CAN DO IT FOR US.

  12. ROXANA says:

    Can you please tell me how much will it cost this stage design. MY CHURCH IS VERY INTERESTED IF YOU CAN DO THIS FOR US.

  13. Chad Ellenburg says:

    For anyone needing the background to this stage set, I’ve included the still image and a video with stars that twinkle, etc. The photoshop file is also included if you want to change it.

    • Tunde Charles says:

      Hi Chad, an awesome design you have up there. Please can you put up the files you put in the dropbox again for us. I checked now and could not find them.

      Thank you and God bless.

    • Jean Lobiko says:

      Hello, Unfortunately this link is no longer active and we are desperately in need of this files

    • Stewart Lake says:

      Hi, Is it possible to get this link again? would love the graphics etc if they are still available but seems this link doesnt work?

  14. Johann Jacobs says:

    Hi Chad Please could you repost the dropbox Image.
    We want to use it for a church 9m x 2 backdrop.

  15. Sook Hong says:

    Hello Chad Ellenburg, could my church can get files? My church children ministry loves this stage set and like to use for this Christmas. Please help my church

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