Illustrating sacred songs and readings, with pictures made of felt, has proved very effective in evangelistic efforts as well as in Sabbath school work, young people's societies, and children's meetings. These pictures are much simpler than chalk illustrations, in that once being made they are always ready ; anyone can put them on, and they do not wear out. They can also be used where a human figure is needed in the picture, which cannot easily be drawn in chalk.
The picture should be large enough to be seen easily from the rear of a large hall or church. A board 32 x 42 inches is a good size. The background for covering the board should be a light blue felt, a little darker than sky blue, and large enough to cover the edges, secured with thumbtacks on the back. The same background can be used for all pictures.
A picture that aptly illustrates the song or reading should be selected. For example, with the song "In the Garden" or "Alone," take the well-known picture of Christ kneeling in the Garden of Gethsemane. This should be drawn on paper in proportion to the size of the board, then cut up in pieces, as the figure of Christ, the rocks, the tree trunks, and foliage. These are then traced around on felt which is as near the color shown in the picture as possible. Felt takes paint readily, so the high lights and shadows are next painted in with oil paints. The contrast should be strong, making the shadows very dark and the light places extremely light. Thus when seen from a distance, the distinction will be clear.
Two shades of green for the trees often improve the picture. Use purple for mountains, a light tan color for ground and rocks, and make the shadows stand out well. The figure to represent Christ should be on white, with face and garments painted as in the picture. A few birds, also of white, placed in the sky, give added interest to some pictures. Some knowledge of the use of oil paints is necessary.
When the painting is completed, the pieces should be numbered, starting at the lower right corner, numbering to the left, then back to right. This will enable anyone to place it together correctly. Since each piece has been made by the pattern drawn on the board, the whole must necessarily fit together. The felt pieces adhere to the felt background, but there must be a slight slant to the board to keep them from slipping.
When placing the picture on the board, the one who is to do the work begins when the singer or reader starts, beginning at the lower right hand corner and putting the pieces on as numbered, working at a speed that will enable them to finish together. A little practice before giving a number will make this possible.