Thursday, February 22, 2018

Back to the Future Prom

When I interviewed for my current position, the principal asked if I would be interested in sponsoring Student Council and Prom since the previous art teacher held those roles. I said I would and I have really enjoyed both! I wanted to share some pictures from our DIY proms the last two years in case someone else ever needs inspiration for the same theme!

The first year I was really excited when students suggested Back to the Future for a prom theme. I had never heard of it as a theme before but I said we could absolutely make it happen! The first step was to start collecting inspiration which I collected on a Pinterest board.

We decided to reference as many parts of the movie as we could in different areas of our prom set up. We are a small school (about 130 high school students) so prom is definitely an all hands on deck kind of event as we transform our gym into a festive space. To make set up easier, we made as much ahead of time as possible.
 My favorite section was the Enchantment Under the Sea based off of the dance toward the end of the movie.
We already had some display boards for artwork that are two 4x8 frames hinged together. The woods classes built a few more for us and they work really well to divide the space and hold decorations after we cover them with SmartFab, which you can conveniently buy in 4 ft wide rolls. We cut starfish out of cardboard and painted, threw a decorative net on top of the divider, and made reef out of spray foam insulation. 
Smart-Fab also covered the front of the stage, lit from behind, with more spray foam reef on the front. We used fishing line and a needle to secure them in place on the fabric.

 Of course you can't have a Back to the Future anything without the DeLorean. I used the projector to trace the main shapes onto a piece of giant poster board. I painted and cut out the "Roads? Where we're going we don't need roads!" quote to stick up around the car along with a Speed Limit 88 MPH sign. We used red cellophane and red rope lights purchased on sale after Christmas to make the tire tracks.

My school has a tradition of having a program during the prom dinner so we added instruments to reference the dance on the corner of the stage. We borrowed the pep band's drum set and just taped in a poster board circle with the Marvin Berry and the Starlighters sign. Another student brought in a guitar to display.

I was trying to think of one more area of decoration and asked my mom if she still had the vintage dinette set we fixed up for my first apartment. Luckily she did so it turned into Lou's Cafe and held bottles of water for the dance.

 We decided the photo backdrop should be the town hall with the clock tower on top. This was painted on 2 full sheets of plywood with another piece to be the triangular section on top. You can kind of see the photo backdrop on the right side of the photo above. Another thing you'll see are the giant canvases. These are who knows how many years old (lots and lots and lots of layers of paint) but they're still going strong. They are 4x12 ft frames covered in canvas that we repaint yearly to decorate for the new theme.
The chandeliers hanging from the rafters were created the year before I started with tomato cage bases and circles of wax paper sewed together. They were so pretty and so much work for my predecessor that we wanted to get one more year of use out of them! Gossamer radiates from the center and we hung strings of small clear balloons that were supposed to look like bubbles for the under the sea element.
I wish I had a better picture of the Marty and Doc I painted along with #GreatScott for the last display!
For the centerpieces, my dad built boxes that were 4x6x4 inches with a hole drilled in the top center for a base. I printed a bunch of 4x6 photos of the Back to the Future logo with Prom 2016 text added on which we attached with spray adhesive. We printed and cut out a bunch of clocks on card stock and I used my Silhouette cameo to cut lightning bolts out of silver glitter paper. We sandwiched a plastic rod between the clock/lightning bolt combo and stuck them in the hole. We ran a roll of 19" silver gossamer down the center of the black clothed tables. For dessert, I ordered personalized sugar cookies that were decorated with all sorts of fun designs from our theme made by J's Delightful Desserts.

Enjoy a time lapse video of our set up!

I made quite a few changes the first year I was prom sponsor, and met a lot of resistance from seniors who heard it was going to be different... until they saw that we really did have a good plan and everything came out ok! Soon, I will share pictures from last year's Mardi Gras prom and in a couple months I'll be able to share what we've been planning for prom 2018!

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