Monday, November 11, 2013

DIY Puppet Theatre

My good friend and family photographer, Lana, has made the coolest puppet theatre. I think it's so cool that I wanted to feature it on the blog (especially as we get into the Christmas season) and I was THRILLED when Lana agreed to do a guest post. So without further adieu, the amazingly, crafty lady behind this amazing puppet theatre.

On the list of what makes me "me" my top 3 resurfacing traits have been the following: 
1.  Super Creative Crafty Mom
2.  Professional Portrait Photographer
3.  Borderline Hoarder*
Being the super creative crafty mom, I decided to make a puppet theater for my son. Being the professional portrait photographer, I could use the theater as a prop for my little ones. Being the borderline hoarder, I had 80% of the tools and materials needed to get the job done.

Here's what I used:
-3 abandoned dresser drawers (found while alley shopping, $0)
-2 slats of wood. The ones I used were both 11"x 41"x 3/4"
-paint (for outdoors) 
-chalk paint (optional)
-Red Velvet fabric approx. 30"x24"
-wooden rod with a 1" diameter, longer than the width of your puppet theater 
-drill and hole saw (I used a 1 1/4")
-wood trim for decor (optional)

Before I go into details on how I made the theater, I just want to put it out there that I didn't put much thought into measurements or pre-planning.  I do not recommend this method.  With that said: 

First, I built the frame of the puppet theater.  I stripped the 3 drawers from all metals such as the rollers on the bottom and the handles on the face.  Once I was left with the bare wood, I started with a complete drawer and put the face on the ground.  The bottom of the drawer faced the outside where the audience would be looking and where you would normally put clothes in, that side is where the puppet master will be.

I screwed in the slats of wood on the outsides of the drawer. The slats fit perfectly snug on top of the bottom drawer and against the sides of the drawer.  The top part didn't completely fit, but it didn't bother me.  It may bother you. I left the open end on the puppet master's side to keep the front side looking neat.
I took apart the last 2 drawers and used only the face parts to connect the free standing slats on the very top of the theater and in the front of the theater to create a taller barrier between puppeteer and audience.
I measured 2 inches from a corner on one side and marked a dot. I drilled a hole in the center with the drill and hole saw.  I did the same to the opposite side.  The holes should line up perfectly so that the wooden rod can sit level.

I didn't want the theater to tip over so I added, on the puppet master side, 2 little slats of wood on the base of the theater.  I put one on each side on the inside part.
I then painted everything one solid color.  I did two coats; One coat per day.

**This part is optional** I wanted to be able to write in chalk the names of my client's little ones so that I can make each shoot a little more personal.  On top of that, I liked the idea of my son being able to write the name of his show on his own puppet theater.  I decided to tape off a portion and use chalk paint on the audience side of the theater. I also used wood glue to add a trim at the front bottom of the theater.  It added that extra OOOMPH!

 In the end I sewed the red velvet fabric into to curtains that hang from the rods. I just sewed the ends to look neat and I made a pole pocket on the top. Viola!  
Overall, this was a tough project.  Even without being precise, it was very challenging.  My son really liked it and I just can't wait to take pictures with it!!!
I know I didn't give the greatest details, but the drawers you have might be different or you may find a better way altogether.  Whatever your method, don't forget to share! 

Thanks for stopping by! 
Lana Estrada
*Hoarding is a trait?  When you're in need for a vintage hand-crocheted lace baby blanket passed down for 3 generations for the perfect texture in a newborn baby shoot and your budget is $0, you betcha hoarding is a trait! 


  1. Alley "Trashformation"!!! Great idea! Thank you!

  2. I don't have kids quite yet but I want to make one of these now and play with it uhh test it out. Super cute!

    1. It's soooo neat to have. Puppet making is the next step. Then recording your little darling making their show is going to be the best part!