Sometimes it may seem as though our VBS decorating budget is on the verge of being shipwrecked. That’s why we’ve put together a list of our favorite cost-saving ideas to help stretch your dollars and keep them afloat!
Carpet Tubes – From palm trees to the main-stage hut, carpet tubes can be transformed into just about anything. And the best part? They can usually be found FREE at your local carpet installation specialist!
Green Paper – Don’t use up all your good wrapping paper on leaves and vines. Instead, purchase a 250′ roll of green Kraft paper from your local school supply stores. This double-sided paper is perfect for building all the palm fronds you want and makes a great bulletin board backing for any that’s left over!
Boxes – If you’ve done VBS before, you know that boxes can be transformed into just about anything… so start collecting and even ask for flattened boxes from your congregation!
Sand Tarp – For a budget friendly beach, find that old paint tarp you have stored away. This, plus a little sandy colored paint and sand, will transform your Shipwrecked floors!
Click to watch this step-by-step Sand Tarp tutorial from our Decorating guru, Elisa!
Pool Noodles – Check your local dollar store for this decorating staple! If they don’t have enough, we’ve found that most stores will order a whole case for you.
See how we transformed pool noodles into Colorful Coral here!
Paper Bags – Large paper bags make great beach rocks like the ones shown here! Often grocery stores are willing to give away a few bags or sell them at a very reduced rate.
Cardboard – Say goodbye to $20 foam core sheets and say hello to cardboard! Purchased at your local shipping supply store, huge 4’x8’ sheets can be found for around $5. These are great for mounting giant decorating posters, the buddies or even Coral’s Cave!
Rope Lights – Borrow these! And if you’re having trouble finding rope lights, use plastic LED lights. These do not get hot and will not break.
Learn to make your own Groovy Ground Cover Coral with our step-by-step guide!
Greenery and Palm Trees – Church members often have plants they are willing to loan, so be sure to ask! Also, nurseries and floral shops will sometimes even loan items in exchange for a shout out on social media or in the church bulletin.
Brown Paper – This will be your best friend when decorating for Shipwrecked! Check out your local home improvement stores and ask about bulk pricing for a discounted price.
Here’s a few additional tips:
- Decorate Half the Room – Cover the front two walls of the classroom form floor to ceiling and leave the two back walls empty. This will still create a big wow and help stretch your budget. Kids will never notice!
- Paint – Put out a wish list for house paint. Often times house colors are “beachy” — tan, sand and brown. These all are great colors for Shipwrecked!
- Clear Packing Tape – You’re going to need a lot of this, so buy in bulk and save! Check for coupons to use at your local craft or home improvement stores for extra savings.
Have other cost-saving ideas you’d like to share? Post them in the comments below!