DIY Blinder Tutorial

Here’s a step by step tutorial on building blinder lights. The total dimension of each of these is 1’ x 8’ with six 8.5” lights on each. But, you could easily adapt this to use 5.5” lights or a different number of rows and columns (i.e. 4×4 grid instead of 1×6 row).


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  • Plywood (19/32 Pine Sanded Plywood, 4’ x 8’) – cut to 1’ x 8’
  • Black matte indoor latex paint
  • Hole saw drill bit
  • (6) Bayco Clamp Light with Aluminum Reflector (make sure reflector isn’t dented)
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    Lights at 100%

    (6) Warm Incandescent Light Bulbs – 60W (If you’re not planning on having dimming control, 25W would be better. I have these blinders hooked up to a DMX controller, so I used 60W because I wanted 100% to be very blinding, just for crash out moments and effects in high energy songs.

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    Lights at 40%

    Typically, I keep the intensity at about 30-50%)

  • 6 outlet power strip
  • Assorted zip ties


  • Plywood (19/32 Pine Sanded Plywood, 4’ x 8’) – cut to 1’x 2’
  • 2×2 Furring Strip, 8’ long
  • Wood screws


  • Drill
  • Sander
  • Paint roller or paint brush
  • Staple gun (not essential)
  • Miter saw (for support foot only)


img_38601. Cut plywood into a 1’ x 8’ board. Many hardware stores will do this for you, although their equipment doesn’t allow for super-precise measurements.  If you need an exact size, cut it yourself, but a rough cut worked perfectly for me.

2. Mark center for holes at 1’ apart. Top hole should be 6” down from top edge of board, and centered left to right on board. Each of the following holes are 1’ away from each other. (This left me with an extra 2’ at the bottom end of the plywood. I needed this extra length img_3857but you might consider starting with a 1’ x 6’ piece of plywood if you want the lights to be equally dispersed on the board without extra length at the bottom.)


3. Drill holes.



4. Sand down surface of plywood, being img_3855careful not to take away too much of the material around where the holes were cut. I sanded around the holes too much on some of them and it ended up causing my lights not to screw together tightly.

5. Paint plywood black on all sides.

6. Unattach clamps from lights and unscrew the aluminum reflectors. Put light socket through the back of the hole and screw the reflector onto the front until tightened.

img_41367. Once all 6 lights are in place, attach the power strip to the back by stapling 3 or 4 long zip ties to the back of the board and tightening the zip ties around the power strip to hold it tightly against the board. Plug all of the lights into the power strip then use the same zip tie and staple method to organize and clean up the cord to each light so that cords aren’t hanging, visible from the front, or prone to snagging on things.

8. Screw in light bulbs.

(After this step, I wrapped each reflector in bubble wrap because I was planning to transport them in a trailer to an event and I didn’t want the reflectors to get dented or the bulbs to break).

The next step is building the feet to stand the blinders up in.  You may not need to do this, if you are planning on hanging these, or attaching them to a truss.

img_39239. Cut the 2x2s in two 1’ sections. Then, cut two more 1’ sections with a 45 degree miter on both ends.  Measure the center of the 1’ x 2’ plywood and attach the 2×2 verticals in the center of the board (leaving a little more than enough space to slide the plywood from the blinder in between).  Screw in the diagonals (keeping a spacer in between the verticals). Paint the foot black. I kept the foot unattached from the blinder so that everything could be broken down and transported easily, but if this is a permanent piece, you may want to screw the blinder into the foot.)



Summer Camp: How we planned a great, weeklong off-site event

1. Be intentional with atmosphere

First impressions are a big deal.  Putting some effort and creativity into the atmosphere at your event can have a huge impact. Even a couple of well-designed banners or some string lights draped from the ceiling can tell your audience, “We care about the experiences you will have here”.

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2. Think about the experience you want people to have

Start with a goal for what kind of experience you want to design for your audience (i.e. fun, contemplative, challenging, rejuvenating). We wanted our camp to be high-energy and impactful. We made several decisions that were specifically intended to set them up for that kind of experience.  We hired a super energetic, young, worship band from a local Christian university.  We made a no-cell-phones rule, but, in an effort to make that a positive thing, we made sure we jam packed the camp with fun things to do and captured great photos for them all week long.  We made sure even the sometimes ‘boring’ aspects of camp, like the speaking and the devotional book, were supported with creative elements, engaging stories and fun design. We took the expected, free t-shirt to the next level by offering a full store with 5 different items in a variety of colors and styles. We made sure to give students lots of time in small groups to process what God was doing in their hearts that week. All of these decisions contributed to a fun and impactful summer camp.

3. Don’t let your creative and production elements be an afterthought

Everything I just mentioned that we did to plan an incredible week for our students didn’t happen overnight. I personally tackled one camp task every two weeks for 6 months prior to camp and our team met regularly. Planning a big event like this takes foresight, budgeting, creativity, collaboration and lots of time! 

Planning things like merch, videos, and atmosphere from the very beginning can help you design a more cohesive and impactful event.

4. Help students make memories and bring the camp experience home

Making lasting memories was a high priority for our team.
We used photography, video, and a devotional article to help them take the camp experience home with them. 
We set up a trendy photo spot, brought in quality photographers, made daily recap videos (using, and distributed all of our camp photos to students and parents (using  These intentional decisions helped our students focus more on engaging with others and God. They also helped our students take the camp experience beyond just that week.

5. Don’t be afraid of hiring and renting

Hiring a worship band or renting lighting equipment can seem really intimidating! But, being willing to expand your resource pool beyond your own church can give you so many options.

EVERS @weareevers

We hired SEU Worship band from South Eastern University, Slap Happy Comedy (an
improv duo we once saw at a conference), a guest speaker, Scott Frazier, (from a church we have a great relationship with) and an up and coming local band (Evers) for a concert.
We also rented audio equipment, lighting, a Penske Truck, and a TV.  It might seem like a lot of money and logistics (which it is), but with good planning, making some strategic hires and rentals can really help you elevate the camp experience for your students. Doing these things made our camp feel very special and set apart, compared to a typical Wednesday night.

6. Think about reusing resources

You can be a lot more efficient View More: a tight budget if you consider reusing things for multiple events.  For this event, we reused banners, blinder lights, string lights, Ikea lamps, a photo booth frame, some tubs for merch display, and lots of cables. We would have spend hundreds of dollars more if we were always buying things for one-time use only.  What bad stewardship that would have been!

I love giving our students the best experience for their money.  Even if you have a giant budget, stretching that budget to include as much as possible can really glorify God.

Go-To Online Design & Production Resources

Collaboration is the lifeblood of creative disciplines.  Some of the most practical information we can share with each other is where we go for helpful tools, resources, and inspiration. Here are several websites, apps, podcasts, and social media influencers I use frequently.  Without these tools, my effectiveness and skill level would be drastically lower than it is today.


Animoto is a website with templates for quick, easy, and beautiful videos or slideshows. 

Fiverr provides a ton of graphic design and marketing services, but we’ve utilized them for their $5 or $10 custom intros & animated logos.

Monoprice is an online store that sells a ton of electronic and tech equipment.  It is frequently the first place our production team members go when we need to buy anything from a speaker, to a cable, to an ipad stand. 

Vimeo Video School is a place to go for some quick, engaging, and very helpful training videos on just about anything you can think of related to video production.

Planning Center Online helps us plan and execute our gatherings.  It’s a super-powerful church management tool that has capabilities to facilitate check-in, event registrations, volunteer management, worship team scheduling and more.

Collaborate Worship is a website and facebook community page that creates and shares useful articles for people in production and worship ministry. 

Church Stage Design Ideas is a website and facebook community page that shares stage design example, ideas, materials, and tutorials.

Visual Church Media is a facebook group of more than 10,000 members, willing to share their ministry and production experience with you.

Unsplash and Creative Commons are my go-to websites for finding great images that I can legally use, share, and modify.


Ripl App

Created with Ripl App

Over helps you add beautiful text or graphics to your images.

Tangent incorporates geometric image filters to your photos.  

 uses short animations to bring your images to life and help them stand out on social media.


Finely Crafted is a podcast hosted by two guys from Proof Branding in Nashville.

Under the Influence is a branding podcast with Terry O’Reilly produced by BBC.

The Student Ministry Podcast is produced by a good friend, Kenneth Ortiz, who’s experience in Student Ministry, I highly respect.  It’s full of helpful resources, wisdom and tips.




10 simple ways to use media to engage your students

1. Keep it consistent.  Develop a theme, color scheme and a simple font (and maybe one or two secondary fonts that are more youthful) and keep using them for the entire school year or longer.  Think about a company with great branding.  They sometimes use the same fonts, colors, style and wording for decades.  Every time you produce a flyer, slide, video or something for your website or social media, it should have the same look and feel.  Spend some time on the front end developing a great brand and all of your design decisions for at least the next year are already made for you.

2. Documenting your ministry. Ask a student or volunteer who is good with a camera (or iPhone) to take pictures of a typical gathering. Keep that stock of images to pull from for info walls, promo cards, social media posts, website, announcement slides, etc. I do this about every 3-6 months which saves me so much time when I need a photo. Students feel included when they see you using a photo of them.  Animoto is a great website for creating dynamic photo videos for countdowns or event recaps.

friends worship 

3. Produce stuff that will not BECOME DATED! Anytime you create a slide, flyer, or video, think about ways to make it usable multiple times. Sometimes it’s as simple as designing a single banner to say “next Saturday” for a monthly event or creating a video for an entire series rather than just for one message.

4. Keep your media “bite-sized”.  Teenagers, young adults, and pretty much anyone who uses a computer are getting more and more used to 10 second videos, 140 character tweets and articles that are written in list form. The shorter your media is, the more likely it is to be viewed and have the ability to impact the viewer.   We usually keep videos to 3 minutes or less and we bullet point posts to make them ideal for a quick scan.

5. ALWAYS add a picture to your post! Posting about an event you’re excited about? Add a photo of you and the team planning it or beginning to set up.  Stoked about a crazy video or skit that’s happening tonight in your gathering?  How about posting a photo teaser this afternoon of the video set or your costume?


6. Photo shoots to promote. You could spend hours trying to design a promo card that’s going to look cool enough for students to hand out to their friends – one that is going to perfectly capture the mood, feel, and purpose of your upcoming event. But if you’re not a great designer (or maybe even if you are), think about whether a themed photo shoot or some funny memes might get more shares than your nicely designed and printed flyer.  Grab your most extroverted leader, a costume, some props and an iPhone, head to a youthful room in your church with lots of color and natural light and start snapping photos.


7. The senior guy strategy.  If you have a wide range of ages in your ministry, always aim your theming towards the oldest male in the room.  If it’s cool enough for a senior guy, the 6th grade girl is probably going to like it too.  But aim for the 6th grade girl and the senior guy is going to feel like this is a gathering for little kids.

8. Nix Flyers forever.  Instead, consider attaching your info to something wearable, like a wristband, hawaiian lei, or a simple printed label that you stick to each student’s shoulder as they leave.

9. Switching live elements to a video can help you be more intentional about what you present to your students.  It can also give you so much more flexibility and help you with transitions in your gathering.  Kicking a gathering off with a video gives it a powerful start, gets your students quiet and seated, and sets the tone for the whole gathering.  We do an intro video at the beginning of almost every gathering.

10. Don’t be intimidated by video. A few quick tips can really help you elevate your video production quality.  For years we used iPhones and got great results, as long as we had the right lighting.  If you’re indoors, lots of natural light is ideal. Try to have light coming from 3 places (one from the right, one from the left, and one from behind to give some contour to hair and shoulders.)


If you’re outdoors, overcast is best.  Use 2 camera angles for variety and so that you can switch from one angle to another when your communicator messes up.  Take the first half of their paragraph from camera angle 1 (take 1) and the second half from camera angle 2 (take 2) and it will look like it’s all one take. You can even fake a second angle by just switching between a zoomed in frame and a zoomed out frame.