The Garage Shop

Vacation Bible School Crafts

Vacation Bible School

Mass production is the name of the game for VBS crafts. Finding easy ways to replicate the same pattern over and over pays dividends when you have to create around 150 copies of the same thing. Sometimes the patterns for replicating the crafts are more of an art form than the craft themselves!

For more about how we do VBS, please check out

The Woodworking of Vacation Bible School

There is nothing very remarkable about VBS woodworking, except that each project has to be replicated over 100 times! This is the trick. How to make a craft project on a budget that will not require a years worth of time in the shop!

To be sure, some of the projects below took way more time than I was expecting, like the marshmallow shooting crossbows for our Frozen VBS, and the kids really loved them so it was well worth the effort.

VBS woodworking is some of the most gratifying woodworking I do.

Welcome to Hogwarts - 2004

Chess pieces

1280 chess pieces…but wait, there's more! The chess pieces start out as old fashion clothes pins. On this smaller set, we created the bases by slicing up 1" dowels, beveling the top, and drilling them out. It was painful learning.

Each camper received a hand-turned wand.

Star Wars - 2005

This is a two-part craft. The flying arks! The picture to the right has the wing slid on.

Yoda Walking stick made from 8/4 Ash. Can you say baseball bat?

Milling the Yoda Walking stick blanks to shape.

Sky High - 2006

Sky High is a Disney movie about heroes. Not many of kids have ever heard of it. And yet, I created my favorite VBS craft of all time that year, these spinning tops. Pull the string, and away it goes!

Simple boxes with sides pre-fabbed in the shop from ½" Baltic Birch and ¼" hardboard. Campers then glued popsicle sticks to close the front and back. Two pieces of ribbon are glued on to form a hinge.

Narnia - 2007

Each child decorated their personal sword and shield and prepared to battle the ice queen (which never happened, BTW, much to the great disappointment of the boys!)

Hook - 2008

Simple sling made with elastic, lowered the FPS dramatically. Oh, and we also created marble bags for this VBS, complete with a set a marbles for each camper. The boys figured out they had ammo rather quickly! :)

Kids loved this one. The back has a rubber band and wood bead; pull it back, and is shoots ping-pong balls!

Nemo - 2010

When we did a Nemo VBS, we wanted the sense of swimming, but that is hard to do without water. These flying Whirly Gigs was as close as I could get it. The handles were easy, and the wings took a few minutes at the bandsaw and drum sander. I think I did about 100 of these.

Toys - 2011

It was hard to make a Buzz Lightyear ray gun so we settled for a rubber band shooter. Kids loved em!

Each child received a set of blocks so they could spell their name and plus two more decorated books ends. The blocks are 1 ¾" square. I must have cut up 600 or 700 of these!

Hogwarts II - 2012

How about 3264 chess pieces? Same clothes pins as before, just LOTS more.

This 12'x8' tall frame was turned in to the Hogwarts Express!

Muppets - 2013

This was our first multiple-day craft project. Fronts first, then sides, then curtain and putting to together.

How about 3264 chessmen? Same clothes pins as before, just LOTS more.

Monsters - 2014

We called them Monster Walkers. They are a kind of mini stilts, and the kids loved them!

Frozen - 2015

Our marshmallow shooting crossbows were the HIT of the Frozen VBS, and they were also the most time-consuming craft I have ever created. A step-by-step of the process can be found on the VBS companion site link below.

Marble mazes allow campers to create their own maze path with rubber bands. The amazing thing for me in this craft was most campers had never hammered a nail before! They loved it.

Simple wooden sword

Wood base was made for the “ice candles,” so campers had something to decorate during craft time. The candle is made from a milk carton filled with ice cubes and melted wax poured in—Ice Candles!

The Kids Academy

TKA is a follow on to the summer VBS program but meets on Wednesday afternoons during the school year. One of their woodworking projects was this recipe box.

Parts are ready to be assembled by TKA students!

A box full of Triptychs for one of the Lent 2013 The Kids Academy. Now to create forty-something more for the women's retreat this winter! :)