Stage Designs

Ribs and Arches

Tim Sherwood from Prairie Lakes Church in Cedar Falls, Iowa brings us this this awesome stage design. (And no, this has nothing to do with the McRib.)

Tim wanted to use the same LED tape as his last set to help with keep cost down. So he needed to come up with a different shape to do the lights in. He drew inspiration from all over. This was actually modeled off of a European game show that he saw on Pinterest.

They used the same technique for getting their LED tape up off of their surface as the Chevron design to get the most coverage they could. These particular lights begin to diffuse out at 10″, so they made their lighting spaces 9″. The kicker with these was the obvious circles and the outer ribs were concaved. So instead of using the solid pieces of trim they previously used, they had to use foam trim to get the bends they needed. They used 1/4 in luan for the arches and ribs. They built a jig to get the bends identical for the ribs. In order for them to keep their shape they staggered and glued two pieces of luan together and screwed them down to the jig until the glue had dried. In order to hold their shape when standing, they made a base with a 14″ cut so the ribs could slide down into them. They then used fishing line to help keep the tension on the concave. Their arches were 6′ and 10′. They used a makeshift compass to get their circumference correct. They used the same overlapping technique to make them more rigid. They then used a planer to make the wedges for the foam trim to attach to. These were held on with liquid nails and the trim was also glued and stapled to the wedges. They used clear packaging tape to hold their LED lights in place. Total material cost came in under $700 for this one.

They used Supernight LED tape they purchased on Amazon for roughly $16 dollars a roll. If you go back and look at the Chevron design, you will see what decoders they used to switch to DMX. The rest of their stage lighting consisted of 12 ETC Selador Vivid R’s and 4 Robe Robin Deluxe’s all run from a ETC Congo Kid.

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Off the Map Forest Through Trees

16 responses to “Ribs and Arches”

  1. nate says:

    This is VERY cool. I love it. I looks like the way you built the outside RIBS and the way you built the ARCH is different. It looks like the ribs are just pulled with a little tension and the arch is a straight sideways build…meaning you had to cut it out of multiple pieces. Is that true? How did you make the arches? I’d love to understand!


  2. Tim Sherwood says:

    Hey Nate. You are correct that the arches and ribs were built differently. We used a jig with the desired bend for the ribs. The fishing line is attached to just hold the shape. This particular design was ready to go up a few weeks before we could actually rig it on stage. The humidity in Iowa was pretty high those few weeks and our arches actually shifted a bit. So one side of the stage has line on the front while the other half has the tension lines on the back. The arches are flat facing the audience. They are four pieces 3 sheets thick that are staggered for rigidity and glued together. There would be simpler ways to do it but per our usual we think of an easier way to do it once we are finished :-) Glad you liked it man. I would be glad to answer any more questions you have if any. Hope the response helps.

    • nate says:

      Thanks Tim, those answers for were helpful! I’m back with one more question…Foam Trim? What exactly is that? Where did you get it? Any reason you didn’t just use a double thick layer of the luan board? Also, any information/pictures you could pass on about your ‘rigs’ would be helpful. I’m interested to see your approach. Feel free to use if emailing if better!

  3. Lori says:

    Hi I’m also interested in knowing what is foam trim? And where do I purchase it? We are planning to do this same set for our youth center any advice is much appreciated!


  4. Matt says:

    Tim, you don’t happen to still have these pieces around? If you do would you be interested in selling them?

    • Tim says:

      Hey Matt I think we do. Let me see what kind of shape they are in I didn’t move them to storage. As far as shipping goes where are you located these are pretty big pieces

  5. Anthony Hampton says:

    Hi I’m Anthony Hampton I’m a Michael Jackson fan and I’m trying to create a concert for fundraisers and i was looking for a stage I got lots of ideas to write down it would me alot

    Anthony Hampton

  6. Dale Bartosz says:

    Hey Tim, I’m looking to do this stage idea for our Youth conference this fall. I’m in Cadillac Michigan.
    Would you be interested in emailing me more details and more detailed pictures?

  7. Hey Tim
    We are really considering doing this stage layout. I know this post is old but we needed some inspiration! haha If you can, can you email me more details or maybe even the blueprints to this design? Thank you!

  8. Richard Luebs says:

    Hi Tim
    Do you have any pictures of the jig the you used to make the ribs? We are going to make this for our Septembers stage set.

  9. Richard Luebs says:

    Hi Tim
    Do you have ant pictures of the jig you made to cut the ribs?

    • Tim Sherwood says:

      Unfortunately, I do not. It was a pretty simple build. What we did is figured out the radius of the bend we wanted, cut that out of a piece of 4×8 plywood (x2) So you had each side and then cut some 2×2 to the proper width and followed the angle flush along the top side every 6″, and added a few on the bottom of the jig for stability. We took our first strip of 1/8″ luan and screwed it to the end 2×2 on the top of the jig in on one end. Applied a liberal amount of glue to that piece placed our second piece of luan onto the glued piece and staggered it 6″ so we had some over hang on the ends we attached the top piece of luan to the jig by threading in more of the 2×2’s the length of the upper piece. Then we waited a couple hours for the glue to set then primed and painted each piece white. Hopefully that isnt clear as mud.

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