stage design week budget

Stage Design on a Budget

How do you make a memorable stage design but stay within a limited budget? It can be challenging to make something memorable, especially when you don’t have a lot of resources.

I wrote a post yesterday on Stage Design: Starting From Scratch where I discussed in depth, the need for great planning. Planning is going to be even more important when you’re working with a small budget. Determine what your needs are and then allocate your finances appropriately towards those needs.

So, how can we make this work? What are some practical resources? Let’s take a look at the wonderful world of DIY.



Looking for new stage design ideas? We’ll send you our FREE resource with 12 amazing production ideas in it. Click here to download.

DIY Hacks

DIY (Do It Yourself) might be something you’ve heard of…if you haven’t, it’s basically where you do it yourself. See what I did there? But seriously, there are a bunch of items that can be used from around town, the house, or your local hardware store (or national chain) to make a great stage design without breaking the bank.

Air Filters

Air Filters come in all shapes and sizes, so be sure to get the proper type. You’re looking for the plain white filters like the one found here. This will reflect a ton of light allowing you to create brightly lit, multicolored set pieces that are light weight and versatile. Check out some creative designs found on Pinterest.

Pallet Wood

This is probably one of the cheapest options (usually free) when it comes to DIY stage design. It has been widely used across the church arena for a couple of years now. That being said, you can do so much with them. From simply using the pallets as is, to breaking them down and recreating walls, set pieces, and more you can transform your space with just a good amount of elbow grease (and probably some power tools…who doesn’t like using power tools?)

Related Article:  Ready for Rio?


Coroplast, or corrugated plastic is the stuff you see yard signs made out of like this one. You need to be sure you get the natural or clear coroplast to enable the light to reflect and pass through the surface. Much like the air filter approach, using this in cubes, or at least making a top and sides (if you have it against a wall, backdrop etc.) will really make the colors and light pop.

LED Strip Tape

LED Strip Tape is incredibly versatile and the price is dropping fast as supply is increasing. With he right software you can run pixel mapping through it or use it as a lighting element. Just know that there are some that only have White light and others that are fully RGB. Obviously the RGB is a little more expensive, but gives you tons more control. If you don’t have a software system to manipulate the RGB color, you can look into getting some that come with a remote control for color changing, chase patterns, and more.

Garden Lights

Garden Lights (or globe lights) can make for a nice, simple, effect for a dinner, candlelight service, or acoustic show. They’re warmth will bring a subtle tone to the environment allowing you to craft a relaxed, laid back atmosphere. Consider combing the garden lights with pallet designs, candles, and other simple elements to create a cohesive environment.

Related Article:  The Technology Behind the Rio Olympics Opening Ceremony

Window Screen

Texture is important in stage design because it can be used to add depth. Window screen is easy to work with (I’d recommend a pair of sturdy leather work gloves) and reflects light extremely well. You can use this in combination with the coroplast to created a lit/textured wall that you even project onto to add warmth, depth, and more texture.

The biggest thing is to be creative. Figure out what you want to design and then look at tools that can help you achieve your goal. Stage designs don’t have to cost thousands of dollars to be impactful and memorable. They need to be well thought out and executed. Don’t forget that simplicity normally wins and can make for less distractions. Take baby steps if you’re just getting into stage design. This will make it easier for you to learn the craft and for your audience/congregation to engage.

I’d love to see the setups you’ve done from a DIY standpoint with anything listed above or maybe something else we didn’t touch on today. Share it with us on Facebook or Twitter or use the #triplewidemedia on Instagram.

Tim Southwick

Author Tim Southwick

Tim is the Brand Manager for TripleWide Media. He has 10 years experience in the event management world and has a strong desire to see visuals and media used to increase the user experience.

More posts by Tim Southwick

Leave a Reply