Ishtar Gate Drama Prop

Thanks to Naomi O. for today’s post. 

For our play about God’s work through Cyrus, we made Ishtar gates.

We used the templates from a previous post on Magnify Him Together. For these gates, we wanted something that could be easily transported and made on location. We also wanted the parts to be inexpensive and reusable. The lumber used in this project was salvaged to be reused in another project, but the sheet used we could not save!

These gates were 8 feet wide. They had to be short enough to fit on the stage, but tall enough to give the correct impression.

We had two soldiers standing on ladders behind the play “patrolling the walls” and the gates had to open up with the Persian army stormed through them.

Total time: 3 hours (two people)


  • 3 cans gold spray paint
  • 1 can white spray paint
  • 1 can black spray paint
  • Dragon template (from, printed so it fits into a 1×1-foot square.
  • Ox template (from, printed so it fits into a 1×1-foot square.
  • Royal blue king-size flat sheet (we used navy blue, as the Royal blue sheet did not arrive in time)
  • 18-20 2×2 lumber
  • 1 32-inch-wide bi-fold closet doors, separated into two pieces about 16 inches wide each (we used free doors from a reno project)
  • 4-foot long flexible plastic pipe (We used a pipe leftover from a sink plumbing project)
  • Scrap plywood, around 1×1 foot square.
  • Framing screws
  • 4 hinges for bifold doors (we reused the hinges that came with the doors)


  • Scroll saw
  • Chop saw
  • Carpenter’s stapler
  • Measuring tape
  • Carpenter’s pencil
  • Electric drill
  • Utility knife



  1. Using the scrap plywood, dragon template, ox templates and a scroll saw, cut a dragon and ox template.


  1. Cut sheet (for a 8-foot wide gate):
    1. 8 1’ pieces
    2. 4 2’ pieces
    3. 1 32” piece (or width of the bifold doors)
    4. Bracing: 2 2’, 2 1’ pieces
  2. Screw together an 8’ by 8’ square frame with 8’ verticals at 0, 2’, 2.5’, 5.5’, 6’, and 8’. This is the back of the gate. Adjust the 2.5’ and 5.5’ verticals to fit the width of your bifold doors.
  3. Add the two front pillars to either side, attached to the back panel at 0’, 2’, and 6’, 8’. The front pillars are 1’ by 2’ by 8’.
  4. Add doorway crosspiece at the height of your bifold doors.
  5. Screw in pipe to form an arched doorway.
  6. Add bracing to back of structure.


  1. Staple sheet onto frame.
  2. Using the utility knife, cut out the doorway and staple the edges into the door way.
  3. Spray paint the doors gold and screw into their opening.
  4. Using the templates, spray paint decorations onto the sheet. We found that we need multiple layers of the white in order for the color to be bright enough. Use the photo as reference. The placement of the decorations are based on a simplified Ishtar Gate design.


After the play, our hardworking stagehands had a bit of fun! The graffiti reads, “Cyrus was here!”

For more information about the Ishtar Gates, read this post.

Come back next week to read more about the play on Cyrus.

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