Sunday, May 22, 2011

{DIY} Puppet Theater

My girls, like most kids I imagine, love playing puppet show! I found these really cute and inexpensive puppets at Micheal's last year and we have put on many a show with them...crouched down behind the couch. I considered getting them a puppet theater this past Christmas, but was really put off by the cost, which was out of our budget. 

The thought to make my own struck me when I replaced the girls closets doors with curtains. One too many battles for position in the closet had lead to a few pinched arms in the bi-fold doors. I took them out and put up colorful curtains which I love. The other day I finally got around to (6 months later) shortening them so they didn't drag on the ground. I shortened them just a wee bit too much....oops! But I wasn't about to waste that curtain!

The solution? A doorway puppet theater!

First off, I apologize for the quality of some of these photos. I found it very difficult to take pictures in the hallway with the curtain blocking most of the natural light. But with that said, on with the tutorial...

This little project involves ZERO sewing! I'm not that handy with my sewing yet (working on it) so hot glue and fabric tape were my tools of choice for this. You can certainly put your awesome sewing skills to use if you prefer. 

Supplies needed:
-1 tension curtain rod. I used a shower curtain rod because they are much thicker and with my little ones, I wanted it to be very sturdy.
-1 curtain panel of your choice. Mine was 100% cotton and in retrospect, I think a blend would be much neater because I have ZERO intention of ironing this thing!
-hot glue gun
-self adhesive fabric tape 
-ribbon. I used several different colors and widths, so choose what you like.
-embellishments. I used buttons, but again, choose what you like or have on hand.
-felt in whatever colors you want
-measuring tape
-pencil or fabric pencil

What I really love about this project (aside from the no sewing) is that you can truly keep it as simple or as embellished as you like! I did not purchase a single supply specifically for this project. Every item I happened to have on hand, which was awesome. At a minimum you will probably need to purchase the tension rod, curtain, and fabric tape. But after that, if you make crafts you probably have most everything else you need in your craft supplies.

The first thing you need to do is to figure out where you want your opening to be. I eyeballed most everything with this project since there honestly is not a whole lot of "wrong" you can do. The only real measuring I did was to find my center point and then I counted out 10 inches on each side to determine how big I wanted my opening.

I was so happy that my curtained happened to be striped because that made it fairly easy to keep my cutting lines straight! But if you have a different pattern, you will probably need to pay more attention to your lines. You can use a pencil on the reverse of the fabric (or right on it if you can see it) to mark your cutting lines.

I wanted the edges of the opening to be neat, so I folded them under all around and then ironed them to keep them flat.

The I used my self-adhesive fabric tape to tape everything down. Make sure when you fold your fabric over, that the excess fabric is at least as wide as your tape or you will have sticky tape exposed.

I flipped the curtain back over and then cut ribbon long enough to form a border around the entire opening. I used the fabric tape to attach the ribbon.

I hung up the curtain to see how it was coming along and noticed that the bottom edge of the opening was sagging a great deal.

That was not going to work so I was a little stumped as to how to fix it. I thought perhaps reinforcing the back with a wooden dowel to give it weight might help. But I didn't have a dowel and really just wanted to finish this without any trips to the store as my little ones were ready to play! So instead, I folded the fabric in the back to create "pleats". I pulled it taught enough, a little on each side, until the sagging was gone. Then I held it all together with the fabric tape. You could probably be more successful with a dowel or another solution, but it worked for me! Of course this made my opening not so square anymore, so I repeated the same process with the top edge. 

With the basic shape complete, I was ready to decorate. I started with some very simple ribbons that I tied a knot in. 

I then hot glued the ribbons onto each corner of the opening like streamers. I glued a button onto each ribbon grouping in order to fill it in and because I just love buttons!

Right about then, my girls couldn't resist anymore and had to do a quick show for me!

After the show was over, I decided maybe the girls should watch a movie so Mommy could finish this up!

My favorite part is the pennant banner. I cut triangles out of felt and then hot glued each one to a long ribbon. I then hot glued the ribbon onto the curtain. For a little more decoration and to cover up the ribbon ends, I glued on some more buttons.

I used chip board letters to spell out {theater} and glued them onto a piece of felt. And of course I added a few more buttons because I just couldn't resist. Another option I considered that would be cute, would be to put the letters on the pennants instead. My daughter really wanted me to spell {puppet theater}, but I didn't have enough letters. 

I chose not to cut any fabric off the end of the curtain. Instead, I used some self adhesive velcro tape that allows me to lengthen and shorten the curtain as needed. I forgot to take pictures of this step (sorry), but basically I put 3 small pieces of velcro across the bottom edge and at 2 different heights on the back of the curtain. This allows me to change the length. Between that and the fact that you can move the tension rod up or down, it allows children of different ages (and heights) to put on shows and of course makes it easy for the grown ups to do a little entertaining as well.

And at the end of play time, you just roll the whole thing up and tuck it under the bed or in a closet. Great for small spaces or even for taking to Grandma's!

I really loved making this project and my girls are thoroughly enjoying it. I hope you give this fun & easy project a try!

I'm linking this post up to the following blog link parties:

Nothing But Country

Tip Junkie handmade projects

The Girl Creative


  1. HOW ADORABLE, I love it! THE AFTER is so darn cute! well done. winks-jen

  2. My kids would DIE over this :)

  3. Thanks so much :) I appreciate you all stopping by!!

  4. Thank you! I am making two of these for Christmas for our kids and for my niece. Can't wait to use your ideas! Thanks for resolving the sagging issue also.

  5. Thanks for this post! I was worried about the sagging too, and was wondering if you could give any more detail about the pleating in the back? Curious exactly how you did this because the finished product looks great and completely sag-free!

  6. Awesome! Thank you so much for sharing!


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