Design Elements

Throwback: Cheap Fake Trussing

Gary Brownell from Sagebrush Community Church in Albuquerque, NM brings us this cheap alternative to aluminum trussing. (Originally posted October 2011)

He wanted to duplicate the look of concerts that used aluminum truss. Since they already had their lights hung from a lighting grid above the stage they didn’t need the functionality of the truss–it didn’t need to support a lot of weight.

So they used PVC pipe. Gary went to Home Depot and loaded up on 1″ 1/2 and 1/2″ PVC pipe. He used PVC glue to put it together so it looked like real trussing. Then he bought chrome paint at an auto parts store and gave it the metallic finish.

Note: Do not use this idea if you’re trying to hang anything from the fake trussing.

Throwback: Kriss Kross Most Popular Stages – September 2019

20 responses to “Throwback: Cheap Fake Trussing”

  1. jimmy says:

    Looks awesome!

  2. Duane dodge says:

    Looks great. What did this project cost to build.
    And how are you lighting the set and with what fixtures.

    It is very evenly lit. Looks great !!!!!

    • Gary says:

      The PVC, paint, and glue cost about $400. We have LED strips above the truss that light the fake LED panels. Each truss has an inexpensive American DJ Pro 38 ($85.00) shooting up through the truss.

  3. theRVK says:

    Awesome set design. You wouldn’t be able to tell its not real trussing.

    • Gary says:

      At a distance it fooled our lighting supplier. Also, some of our attendees complained that we were spending way to much money on the stage. They thought we were spending tens of thousands of dollars on the truss.

  4. Deacon says:

    Hey great setup. Can you post or send me a close pic or two showing how you connected the 1/2″ to the 1 1/2″ pvc. Is it just glued to the backside of the 1 1/2″ pvc, screwed in somehow, or did you make small holes for the 1/2″ to fit into the 1 1/2″ pvc. I can’t tell on these pics, but without you admitting it’s pvc, you cant tell. So great work. Also, I’d love to see your blueprint/design on building a piece if you have one.

    • Uzoma Lord-James says:

      I’m new at stage designs but I’ve recently been given the responsibility of handling my church’s stage so with no ideas but with a mindset that loves exploring, I came across this site while surfing.I was wondering if you could bring me up to speed on the basics and maybe refer me to other sites that handle church stage designs. Hopefully, soon I’ll be posting pictures of my own.


  5. Worship Pastor says:

    Nicely done, looks great! You guys have a lot of electric guitarists…rock on.

    • Gary says:

      We have to have a lot of musicians that volunteer only once or twice a month. With 6 services a weekend it can burn them out if they played every weekend.

  6. Great set. I recently assumed the senior pastorate of FIRSTNAZ in Lewiston, ID, and so we are beginning the process of transforming our sanctuary from a traditional space to one that welcomes a contemporary audience. I think we’re going to use your truss idea in our children’s sanctuary. How about some info on the speaker banks? Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Gary says:

      I assume the “speaker banks” are the speakers under the risers. I got the idea from when I saw Kiss on the Tonight Show. They had speaker cabinets everywhere and of course everyone knows the empty speakers are there only for looks. I thought I could quickly and cheaply make some stage props to imitate the “look”.

      I got white board from Hobby Lobby for $9.99 each. I cut it down to 32″ x 32″. I made a template for the circles and spray painted the circles onto the white board. I then used some black gaffers tape to boarder the edges of the white board to, at a distance, make it look like speaker cabinet.

  7. Marty says:

    What did you use for the fake led panels? Was it white board also?

  8. All of the photos are of the same white boards from Hobby Lobby with black gaffers tape for the edging and stripes. The color differences in the panels in different photos are from the LED lights shining on them from above. No wood any where.

    • Nick says:

      Hey Gary,

      We did this a few years ago on a small scale for a children’s set. It worked well, but the paint didn’t stick that great and moving it around was a problem. Did you spray paint right on the PVC or did you prepare it somehow first for a better stick?

  9. Vincent says:

    Thank you Gary. I’m about to try a mini version.

  10. Great design,can you email me instructions and pics to achieve the blue effects stage…plis?

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