Looking for an easy craft for a cold and rainy fall day? This little puppet theater was pretty simple to put together and the result is adorable!
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To start, find yourself a cardboard box in the size and shape you want. My husband got a text at work yesterday- “Your new boots came in the mail! Um… can I have the box?” This one was just too perfect to pass up because the seams are on the top and bottom so the front and back were one solid sheet of cardboard. If you wanted to scale down a little, a cereal box would actually be perfect for this!
First, prepare the box by removing any stray tape, labels, etc. Then outline a big rectangle to cut out of the back of the box (I traced a container lid to make it nice and even). The rectangle on the back should go all the way down to the bottom. Cut it out with scissors or an x-acto knife.
On the front of the box, trace a square in the middle, leaving room on all sides, and cut it out with scissors or an x-acto knife.
Then paint! You could skip this step, but why would you? I thought a “black box” theater would look nice and dramatic.
Next, you’ll need some fabric for the backdrop. Lay it out on the floor and trace your box so the fabric is approximately the same size. Cut it out, and use hot glue to attach it to the inside of the back. Make sure the nicer side of the fabric faces towards the front. Only glue along the top so it hangs down like a curtain!
I printed out the name “Pumpkin Playhouse” in a fun font and used modge podge to attach it to the top. Lucky for you, I’ve created a little printable in case you want your writing to look the same as mine! I also included my goofy little pumpkin heads. You can click to download it here:pumpkin playhouse printable
I suggest turning the whole box over and drawing some designs with hot glue on the bottom to give it a little “non-skid” property so your kids can put it on a tabletop and play without it sliding around.
Now, time to make the little pumpkin heads! I drew my own, but you can download my printable and use that, find some clipart online that you like, or have your kids draw some themselves! Here’s the image again (feel free to save and print if you want them full size!)
Your pumpkin heads will need to be more durable than a sheet of paper. I laminated them with my trusty little Scotch laminator. That thing seriously works wonders. You could print/draw them on cardstock, or laminate them with a sheet of contact paper on either side. Heatless laminate pouches won’t work because they’re only adhesive on one side, so when you cut them up, they’ll fall apart. In a pinch, packing tape works to laminate things too if they’re small enough.
Next, cut the little faces out, turn them over and hot glue some craft sticks to the back.
The last step is to use some adhesive Velcro to stick these to the side of the theater for storage and easy removal! Make sure to be consistent with the Velcro- i.e. put the soft side on all the puppets and the hard side on the box. This step is optional but I think they’re adorable displayed like that, and they’ll be easy to find in the middle of intense puppet shows. Check out the finished product!
Ready for fun!
I created this to go with a fall theme, but obviously with a little tweaking it could match basically anything you’re doing. If you had a more generic title like “The (your last name) Theater” you could make many different sets of puppets. How cute would snowpeople puppets be in the winter? Or emoji puppets? Sometime I’d like to do a “Storybook theater” and make puppets with children’s book characters so the kids can reenact their favorite stories! What kind of theater would you want to make? Leave a comment and let me know!
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