Prop Closets for Women's Ministry
Posted November 5, 2001
A Prop Closet is a place to store all those items you'll be needing and re-using for your Women's Ministry Activities.
Your prop closet may start out in a few plastic storage tubs or you may eventually actually need a whole closet or small room to store your supplies.
Ideas for what to put into your prop closet.
If you use them enough they are worth the investment, but don't forget that they need laundered and probably ironed after each use. If your church doesn't have laundry facilities make sure you have someone in charge of taking them home to launder and press and returning them after your functions.
Vinyl or Plastic.
These are inexpensive and can be used over and over. Choose something in a neutral color. Make sure they are wiped with a damp cloth and dried before putting them away each time. Some fabric stores sell vinyl tablecloth by the yard.
Paper or Disposable.
These are great for those once a year or quarterly functions such as banquets or retreats. There are so many choices of color in paper tablecloths. If you purchase them at a party supply store you can usually get them by the roll. It goes farther and is much less expensive than buying individual paper tablecloths.
Disposable makes for easy clean-up too.
If your church can afford them in your budget, go for it. Just remember they usually need pretreated for stains and laundered so it is up to you how much effort you want to put into them.
If you want to collect some to use but don't want to invest, consider having your ladies bring in their odd or mismatched napkins to donate to your prop closet. Usually everyone has one or two of these.
If you roll each of them up and put them all together in a large basket it will add a whimsical and homey touch to any function.
Most church kitchens have regular paper napkins on hand, but if you are doing something special for your ladies add the extra touch and buy some nicer paper dinner size napkins of a good quality. They look and feel so much nicer and also look great with the silverware rolled up in them.
If you have a smaller group and want to collect some pretty paper napkins, watch your party supply stores for clearance. Sometimes you can get some good deals on pretty paper napkins to serve coffee, etc. for ladies fellowships.
Paper place mats that you can purchase in a party supply store are the perfect way to dress up your tables very inexpensively. They usually have a wide range of color choices and patterns available.
Put them over any type of tablecloth, fabric, vinyl, or paper and you will be amazed at how it perks up your atmosphere.
Candles are a great touch to tables and add that extra special atmosphere that says your ladies are special. Try to stay away from tall tapers. They are easily knocked over and they are usually in the way if placed on the tables of sit-down eating functions.
Use votive or wide based candles instead. They are safer and better suited for conversation at the table.
Don't use scented candles where food is being served but only use them at non-food functions.
You do not need to invest in expensive candle holders. Look around and see what you can find to use. If you want a centerpiece, try using a glass plate and place varying heights of candles scattered about the plate. You can cover the plate with small stones around the bases of the candles if you wish.
Hollowed out pumpkins and squash make great candle holders for the fall. Wide mouth mason jars work great for wide based candles. Any kind of odds and ends of glass or pottery make good candle holders.
Mugs and small glasses are great to put tea lights in. Check out your local dollar stores and closeout stores. You might be surprised at what you can find to use for candle holders.
Fresh flowers are wonderful when you can use them, but silk flowers are great to have in your prop closet. They make them so realistic nowadays that they can add a really nice look and you almost have to touch them to see if they're real.
Single flowers in bud vases are great with just a sprig of greenery or dried baby's breath. You never want to make your flowers and centerpieces so big and tall that they are a roadblock for your table conversation.
Less is usually more when it comes to flowers on the tables. Even a few flowers scattered down the middle of the table is a nice touch.
A great way to store your flowers is to lay them flat in the long under-the-bed type plastic storage containers. You want to keep them undamaged so you can reuse them as often as you want.
If you don't already have a collection of flowers to use, start collecting a variety of different kinds and build your florals as you go along. You really don't need too many, just a few that you can rotate between functions.
A variety of different size vases are always nice props for your functions. Also a collection of matching or mix-matched bus vases are a nice addition to your prop closet. They are one of those items that can be used and reused and reused!
You can tie different colored ribbon or raffia around them to give a different look or appeal to them each time.
When it comes to decorating, fabric can hide a multitude of sins. Buy several three-yard increments of inexpensive fabrics to have handy. Choose solid colors that you can mix and match.
Build up heights with books or paint cans or anything you can find on your tables and drape the fabric over it for displays.
You can use the fabric draped levels for your food tables, for putting candles on, tablescapes, or for any decoration or focal point to go along with your function.
Note: Be careful with candles around fabric. Make sure the fabric surface is flat and that nothing has the possibility to fall or use non-flameable candles.
Keep a few pictures frames in your prop closet. They don't have to match. A good size to have are a few 8 x 10's and 5 by 7's.
Frames are great to hold your theme or theme verse written out in calligraphy or printed out on the computer. Make sure they have easel backs so you can display them at your function.
If you enjoy making favors, you will find a hot glue gun a valuable tool.
Ribbon and Thread
Collect different ribbons of all colors and widths. Eighth inch or a quarter inch ribbon is great to tie verse cards to favors. Wider ribbon is better for tying bows around rolled napkins and bud vases.
Crochet thread and bakers twine is great for tying on favor tags as well.
Keep enough available for as many ladies as you use to work on projects for your functions.
Keep copy paper and card stock available in different weights, textures, and colors.
Check into a few scrapbooking papers. You'll find such a variety that you can embellish almost any printed item with them.
You'll be using your copy paper to print out items for a variety of hand-outs for your ladies so keep it undamaged by storing it properly. Scrapbook paper plastic storage containers work well if you don't have a space in your church office to store your paper.
Keep handy a tape measure, small nails, tacks, straight pins, scotch, masking, duct tapes, small hammer, and 3-M products to attach things to walls, etc.
Copyright ©2001 Julia Bettencourt
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