Monday, April 14, 2014

How to Make a Shadow Puppet Theater for About $20

I LOVE entering contests online and have been lucky to win a few.  About a month or so ago I entered a contest on a friends blog to win some shadow puppets.  Only about 10 people entered WHICH IS INSANE and I was the lucky duck who won!

So I became the proud owner of some Paris Themed shadow puppets.  Did you click it?  Adorable, right? FYI, nothing in this post is sponsored. No affiliate links.  All me and my excitement here.

So I had these puppets and nothing to really use them with.  I wanted a stage.  Like, a cool stage.  I looked around Amazon and there wasn't really anything I saw I wanted.  Well, I take that back.  I saw lots of cool things, but it was so expensive.  

The other morning I was driving down the road and thought "I am going to make one!" and drove to Lowes.  I really had ZERO idea of what I was going to do when I got there. I totally winged it.

So here is what you need. (I lost my receipt. Oops. Prices are guessed.  Pretty close though!)

3-10 foot 1/2" pipes  around $3/each
2-1/2 inch T pieces  Maybe $0.30 each
4-1/2 inch 90 degree pieces $0.19 each
2-1/2 inch end caps $0.10 each
hand saw
E-6000 glue (not shown)
Pack of sheets (I got a twin set for about $9 at Walmart. Get something cheap and thin.  Buying this set was cheaper than getting a single sheet.)

First thing, cut the pipes.  I made mine kind of big since I have 3 kiddos. The pipes cut EASILY with the handsaw shown. I cut it about 1/2-3/4 through and then bent it to break them apart.  Cutting took me MAYBE 10 minutes, if that long.

Cut list:
4 - 3 foot long pieces
2 - 1 foot long pieces
2 - 2 foot long pieces

Once you cut the pieces you NEED to glue them, but not all of them if you ever want to take this down!  You can try to not glue it, but it is very floppy.  I tried without and found that the T connections liked to rotate.  

Seen below is what I glued together and it works great!  Minimal glueing. Still storable behind a couch, under a bed, etc.

Top piece: 3 foot long piece, T connector, 1 foot long piece, corner piece, 2 foot long piece, end cap. MAKE SURE the T connector is facing straight up!  Easiest thing to do, put it against a wall and make sure it is upright. If not, the screen won't be either!

Next piece down: 3 foot piece, 90 degree corner, 3 foot piece

Next piece: 2 foot piece, 90 degree piece, 1 foot piece, T connector

Last piece: 3 foot piece, 90 degree corner piece

Make sure when you glue them you have them laid out the correct way.  VERY important the T connectors are glued facing the correct way.  If you lay them out like this you should be golden.

I forgot to take pictures of the screen sewing part.  Oops. Once all dried, put the frame together.

The big square in the center is made of the 3 foot sections.  The parts to the left and right of the screen are the one foot sections. The back legs are the two foot sections.

Now take your sheet and find a corner.  Wrap one side over the top of 3 foot long section and secured with pins. JUST ALONG THE BOTTOM OF THE TOP BAR.  The other part of the corner should go down a side.  Then wrap it under the frame and secure the bottom part up with pins (like the top) and cut off the remainder.  Trim off the excess on the side.  I hope this makes sense. If not, ask!

Take it off the frame, head to the sewing machine and sew up the three sides. ONLY sew across the row. Make sure not to sew up the openings on the side!  You should have 2 tubes now.  One on the top and one on the bottom.   Just sew the side straight to make it look nice.No fancy tubes.

Head back to the frame.  Slide the sheet on the bottom. Put it together. 

Grab the side comprised of the 2 three foot pieces together. Slide the sheet on. Attack to the bottom frame.  Attach the other 3 foot side.


There you have it! A pretty cheap puppet theater!  Get a lamp and put it behind the screen, grab your puppets, and enjoy!

If you make one, let me know! I would love to see some posts on my Facebook page!  Feel free to ask questions below!

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