DIY Puppet Theatre
For a while now my little guy has been throwing out the idea that he would like to have a puppet theatre “Just like the one at preschool!”. While I’ve nodded my head and agreed that it would be nice to have, I didn’t say yes or no on the subject all the while I was quietly checking out prices behind the scenes. Holy smokes can those things ever be expensive and the ones that are affordable to our budget were cardboard. I don’t know about you but that would last all of an hour tops in our house. I might as well just open the trash can and throw the money into it now.
After a bit of thinking I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to build one ourselves that wouldn’t break the bank. And I was right! Today I’m going to show you how I built a puppet theatre that won’t break the bank, actually the bank won’t even feel it.
What You Need
12 pieces of wood (we used 1 x 3 in 4 ft lengths)
paint (good time to use your leftovers from other projects!)
fabric (old curtains, bed sheets, table cloths or anything like that will do!)
staple gun and staples
I don’t recommend using a drill and screws as the wood has the potential to split.
First of all I sat down and drew out the plans.
Our theatre is bigger then many would need because I wanted to be able to have 2-3 children using it together comfortably – you could easily shave about a foot off of it and it would be still be very room. My husband works in a plant that makes wood siding and they are allowed to take home any scraps that are under 4 ft long (You can call any local lumber mills or even carpenters that might be near you to see if you would be able to get scraps from them for free or really cheap). Home Depot has a ton of scrap wood and slats you can rummage through for free.
Once the plans were laid and we had 12 pieces of wood that were all 4 ft long (or close to it) the building began.
We laid out the base first – we chose to a double board (nailed one board on top of the other for safety reasons) across the back on the base to give it a little extra weight so it wouldn’t tip over once the front was attached. Once that was together we set it aside and did the front of it and the ‘curtain box’ at the top. Then we attached the front to the base. We originally thought we would screw it all together but as we got going with it we realized that finish nails were working better as the screws were splitting the wood a little bit. After the front was attached we added on the diagonal braces for support and finished off with a board going horizontally across the front about 2 feet up from the bottom. This is what will act as their ‘stage’. Putting this together took my husband all of about 30 minutes as there wasn’t a whole lot of cutting to do outside of the curtain box.
Next came the painting. Instead of going out and buying a can of paint I headed to the basement to see what we had for leftovers from the various rooms we have painted over the years. I found a few different colors that we had enough of but we decided to go with the blue. You can also pick up sample paints from your local paint store which are small containers of paint that you use to put on you wall to live with the colour for a while. Two cans would be plenty if you don’t have any lying around. You can also ask a neighbor if they have any almost empty cans of paint lying around because it never hurts to ask). You can also mix a few together to make a new colour and use up the paint at the same time.
Now, for the curtains you can use just about anything you have laying around – old bed sheets, old curtains, old fabric shower curtains, old table cloths…anything! I happened to have just cleaned out my house so I didn’t have anything much that was the right size. I ran out to Walmart and bought a plain old cheap ($9!) fabric shower curtain. When I got it home I cut a piece that would fit the bottom area under the ‘stage’ *NO sewing required!!*
I took the cut edge and just folded it over and stapled it to the board. I did that the whole way across and put a staple every 2 -3 inches apart. I then went and stapled each side down to the bottom and then went across the bottom as well. You can leave the side and bottom loose if you want but I liked the look of it pulled tight better.
The piece of shower curtain that was left was pretty much the perfect size for going around the box at the top. I folded the cut edge under again and stapled it to the backside of the curtain box. There was a little bit of extra on each end so instead of cutting it and leaving a raw edge on each side I just folded it back over itself and stapled it down again. (I love staples) and THAT my friends, is a how you make your very own puppet theatre and it cost me $9 + tax!
Lights, Camera, Action let the shows begin!
I love Do-It-Yourself because it’s inexpensive and it allows me to use up odds and ends I have around the house, not to mention the satisfaction you get when the project is complete. For a small amount of money and time you get 100’s of hours of enjoyment and to me that is priceless.
Fellow blogger Karen Hill and I created this post together.