Thursday, October 16, 2014

Make a DIY Puppet Theater from Cardboard

I've been lagging behind the past few months as I've been busy with Speed Dating event management, but now that the year is winding down and Helium is about to go away forever, a Twitter retweet notification from LSP @PuppetSchool this morning has reminded me it's time to resume migrating all my articles before they disappear!

The original article, titled How to Make a Cardboard Puppet Stage, first appeared on Helium in July of 2010.  I also did a related article for them on making paper bag puppets, and another on finding resources for making paper mache. I want to thank LSP @PuppetSchool for digging up that Twitter update and sharing it with their followers.

How to Make a Cardboard Puppet Stage

Building a cardboard puppet stage is a great weekend activity to do with the kids, especially on rainy days when playing outdoors is out of the question. If you have a large cardboard box, paints and a bit of fabric you have everything you need to create your very own family puppet stage.
The best box to use will be a tall rectangular one such as the wardrobe boxes for storing clothing during a move or a large appliance box. These will make great free standing puppet theaters, but medium sized boxes could be used just as easily to create tabletop stages.
If using a tall box, carefully remove the top fold-down flaps with a box cutter or very sharp scissors. Next you will need to remove one full rectangular panel from one side of the box. (Leave the bottom intact.) This will serve as the back of the puppet stage.
On the opposite side of the wardrobe box, across from the panel you removed, cut out a rectangular piece of cardboard to serve as a window. This will be the audience side of your puppet stage.  Take care not to make the front window too large or too small.  It should be just large enough to allow viewing of two or three hand puppets (perhaps twelve inches tall by fourteen inches wide).
The height of the front window from the bottom of the box should leave room for the performers not to be seen during a puppet show.  The actual placement will depend upon the size of the cardboard box used to create the puppet stage.  By leaving the “floor” of the box intact the puppet theater will be able to stand on its own without any support.
The next step is to decorate the stage to make it performance ready.  To transform your humble cardboard box into a magnificent puppet stage (after cutting) begin by either adding a coat of black poster paint or by covering the box with black fabric.  Actual fabric curtains can be added on to the front of the puppet stage or painted on.  If using fabric curtains you’ll want to create ties to hold them back during a performance.
Creating a cardboard puppet theater is as easy as cutting a few pieces from a large enough box and decorating the outside to your liking.  If using a smaller carton, such as one that has held several jugs of water or reams of paper, cut the window from the bottom of the box and turn it on its side to be used as a tabletop puppet stage.

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