Sunday, April 15, 2012

Craft: Cardboard Puppet Theater

Have you ever had the intention of making something simple but somewhere along the line your project gets completely out of control? For example. . . . I don't know. . . you plan on making a puppet theater out of a large box. Just something simple. You plan on cutting a hole in it and decide the kids can decorate the rest.

Back side of theater

You start out simple, and begin to cut out a hole for the puppets. But then you realize if you only cut part of the cardboard, you can bend it back into a stage. And since you're making a stage, you might as well make some curtains. Which means you'll need something to hold the curtains up. You find a dowel and cut it to size. You plan on gluing it in, but then you think, what if the kids want to change the curtains? You then add some extra grommets to the side of the box so the dowel can be removed.

You then realize that the curtains don't stay to the side on their own. Well you can't have a puppet show with closing curtains! You decide to add a curtain tie back. The gold string reminds you of the gold fringe on theater curtains and you think that would be a very nice detail. You search every inch of your craft room for fringe only to remember you donated it to the Goodwill. You vow never to get rid of any craft supplies again.

While looking at your theater with its stage and curtains, you realize it could use a coat of paint. But then you think, why not add a little detail.

Next thing you know, you're googling "vintage theaters" for reference. You stumble upon a few you like and from those images sketch out some details. Then you begin to paint. But what colors to use? Oh, the choices. You settle on peach gold and turquoise. The box begins to look a little flat so you decide it needs texture. You get out some gold dresden stars and glue them to the box. Things are turning out nicely.

The kids begin to start asking questions, "Can I decorate it? When can we play with it?". You feel slightly guilty. You suggest they make puppets.

You begin to get more adventurous. The sides of the stage look like they're missing something so you draw two balconies. You want that architectural relief look but how to get it? You dig into your stamp collection and find just the right image. Perfect!

You think you're done but feel like something is missing. You have a light bulb moment. You're literally thinking light bulbs. Your stage needs a lighting system. First you think Christmas lights but you don't want anything that needs to be plugged in. You need something basic like a flashlight. You cut a hole on the top of your theater for the flash light.

Tada! You now have a spotlight that can move with its performers.

You sit back and enjoy your work. You then hand it over to your kids and silently say a short prayer. It's something along the lines of "please keep this theater in one piece, at least for today".

20 comments:

pilgrim said...

haha i'm glad i'm not the only one making sure my kid's toys are historically accurate ;D

kmyk said...

love this post <3

the spotlight is fantastic!

KJ@letsgoflyakite said...

Love all the details! the spotlight is perfect.

kasey said...

So beautiful! :) Also, as a side note, I totally had that toy that is being spotlighted in your final picture...can't remember what they were called though...

Loved this post a lot. :)

Suzanne said...

Long live the stage. I love the humor of your post, the snowballing effect and the suggestion of having your kids make puppets.

Michele Pacey said...

What a great story. Love the adventure! And I totally understand your little prayer in the end. I hope your beautiful theatre lasts for many many years (let alone one day)!

Serbene said...

LOL I love your story! Thank you for sharing your wonderful adventure!

Zakka Life said...

kasey,

The toy is called "sweet secrets". The one in the picture is a toy I saved from my childhood. I always loved how they folded up into jewels. Good memories.

BellsInSpires said...

hahah if you give a mouse a cookie...
maybe it'll build a totally gorgeous theater out of a cardboard box!
this was an awesome story, loved it so much =)

Joy said...

I have thought about making the same thing for Jude about a year ago and I even got a foam board... that's about it.

The project turned out great! I love the little light affect! :)

Anonymous said...

I LOVE this post. It reminded me of all of my sons projects that he was suppose to do on his own, but I took them over. some of them were for class projects, (I did get an A on it)
Kris

Paula said...

Wow, that's amazing and what a lot of work.

Lisa E said...

Funny!!!! You are a possessed woman. The results are beautiful.

Chase Clark said...

Awww that's so cute! the spotlight really makes it special for me.

Yarny Days said...

OOh, amazing! My daughter would love soemthing like this.

Christina said...

What a wonderful theatre! I'm hoping the kids are taking very good care of it. You did an amazing job!

Veronica Armstrong said...

This is gorgeous and yes I know exactly what you mean. Hope the kids are loving it.

Kylie said...

Ha! I wouldn't expect anything less from you! It's amazing. I adore it and the spotlight is perfect.
And don't feel quilty, I'm sure the kids appreciate your genius!

::little projects in style:: said...

how adorable! :) the spotlight is brilliant and so like real life!

Jennifer said...

I'm sure the kids would've loved decorating this themselves, but your version is as good as anything you could buy in a store for way too much money. I hope they have many, many hours of fun putting on performances.

Oh, and I loved your narration of the process... somehow it sort of reminded me of the rhythm of "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" ;)

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