Welcome to Rice and Walnuts

Welcome to Rice and Walnuts!  I am so glad that you found my little corner of the web!  I created this website to document my journey through budget-friendly, theme-based decor.  Whether it’s for After Prom, Vacation Bible School (VBS), school plays, or even birthday parties, parents and volunteers find themselves trying to make big impacts on a small budget.  I am often asked how I created the main feature in the church lobby or the set in the school play.  And many times people are amazed at how easy everything is to create.  I have frequently taught “non-artistic” people simple painting techniques that make up the layers of the final product.  It’s not about being artistic, it’s simply learning the tips and tricks to get the effect you’re looking for.  I am hopeful that you will find projects and instructions that will help you make a big impact for your events while staying within budget.  So, stay tuned, subscribe to my emails, and journey with me through the world of large-scale decorations!

Things you will find at Rice and Walnuts

  • Ideas for low-cost event decorations
  • Instructions for constructing large-scale decorations for After Prom, VBS, school plays, and other events
  • Tips and tricks for set design
  • Printables to add the final touch.
  • Pre-planned kits to pass out to volunteers to build on their own time.  

Projects from years past

My love for set design started in high school.  I loved being a part of theater productions.  While I did some on-stage work, I found that I really enjoyed the design, building, painting, (and teardown) of the sets.  I learned a lot of techniques for painting texture onto flat surfaces as well as building tricks to give good impressions of something realistic without having to actually build it.  

Now that I am a parent of 3 amazing kids, I find that I am putting those same skills to use creating large-scale decorations for VBS, school events/plays, and even teacher appreciation week.  

It started a few years ago when I was part of the decor set-up team for the African-themed VBS at church.  I was tasked with creating a tree in the pre-school area.  The kids and children’s ministry leaders liked it so much that they kept the tree up long after VBS.  They asked if I would consider leading the design team for the next VBS.  How could I refuse being a part of something so amazing and impactful?

Next came a railroad through the Rocky Mountains.  With a team of high school helpers and volunteers, we created train stations, mountains, and arctic peaks.  How fun it was to watch the kids look around in wonder or the occasional adult secretly poke the paper mountain to see what it was made of.  The large-scale decorations really helped the kids know that VBS week was going to be special.  

Printables coming soon!

Keep an eye out for our various printables that will be coming soon.   Everything from prints that add the final touch to files that can help you assemble build kits for your team of volunteers.  

Re-using and take-home kits

Next, our VBS traveled to the desert Southwest, the areas of Moab, and the Canyonlands.  It was full of various rocks, desert creatures, and colorful cacti.  We set up a Balancing Rock in the main lobby, a slot canyon in the hall, and a rocky campsite in the upper loft.  The great thing about some the projects that I am sharing is their versatiltiy!  Did you notice that the rock in the campsite is the same paper that we used to build the mountain in the year before?  The same paper was also used to build the tomb during Easter.  That is one of the ways we work to stay on budget; re-use and repurpose!  The red rock from the picture up above will become the surface of Mars this summer!  Stay tuned!

This VBS we also incorporated two new aspects of our VBS decor design, and they proved to be really fun and extremely helpful!  We added take-home crafts for the kids and build kits for families that wanted to participate in the VBS effort, but couldn’t commit to being on the team. 

Did you notice all the lizards climbing on the rocks and cacti in the picture above?  Each one of those was colored by a kid in the children’s ministry.  Each one was unique and reflective of the child who created it.  The kids had fun searching for their own lizard.  

We also introduced take-home family kits.  We provided willing families with the supplies and instructions to build a large craft to be used throughout the church decoration.  In this case, the kits contained various colorful cacti.  These kits instructions will be available for you to print in the near future!

This year we’re heading to space! Check back often to see my latest projects.  We are planning to build 3-D planets, and rockets and more!

Related Articles

  • Check back soon for links to articles about the projects discussed above!

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