Doorway Puppet Theater Tutorial
August 16, 2012 in Projects
My kids are getting very theatrical and are enjoying putting on skits and puppet shows (daily). I decided to make them a curtain that can be used for both types of shows. It was very easy to make on my Ellure Plus and does not take long at all (I did the whole thing during nap time-what a fun surprise when they woke up )
–Adjustable tension rod to fit a doorway in your house
–Fabric for the curtain (measurements later) or a store bought window curtain
–One yard of a different fabric for the puppet theater curtain
–Embroidery design (if you want)
–Puppets or stuffed animals
Step One-the curtain:
First, you need to determine which doorway you would like to use for your puppet theater. They all seem to be different widths. I chose just a standard doorway in my house which was 32 inches wide. In addition, since it is mostly children using the “stage” in my house I figured the curtain did not have to start at the top of the doorway.
You can choose fabric or purchase a pre sewn window panel to use (on clearance :)). Window panels typically come in 42″ width and either 63″ or 84″ in length so they would fit most doorways.
You will need about 2-2 1/2 yards of (45″ wide) fabric (depending on how “tall” you want it).
Sew a pocket in the top of fabric wide enough for your tension rod to fit through. Sew a hem at the bottom and a small hem around the edges so the fabric doesn’t fray.
Step Two: the puppet theater opening
Basically you are cutting a rectangle in the curtain for a smaller curtain to hang. The location and size will depend on the height of your child(ren) and the number of people you anticipate will be using it at a time.
These are the measurements I used for 2-4 year olds. The opening I cut was 19″ wide and 14″ tall. This gave me room to finish the raw edges by folding them inside 1/2″ all the way around, thus making the opening 20″ by 15″. The bottom of the opening was 30″ from the bottom of the curtain (floor) and this seemed to be a good height for the kids that will typically be using it and for me (when I am on my knees).
Step Three: The puppet curtain
Choose a different fabric for the smaller curtain and cut it to fit the opening.
Since you will gather the top you will want the width of the fabric about twice as wide as the opening (depending on how much gather you want). The height of the fabric should also be longer than the opening to account for attaching it to the curtain and finishing the edge. I also found that the bottom of the opening sags in the middle, so a longer puppet curtain can help keep the puppeteers covered (add about 6 inches to the height of your opening).
After you have cut the puppet curtain to size you can choose to embroider on it. I decided to personalize it for family performances. I designed the logo in MonogramWorks and just switched my Ellure Plus over to the embroidery setting and it was done very quickly.
Now the puppet curtain is ready to be finished. . . Sew two basting stitches across the top of the curtain and pull one end to gather the fabric. Once you have the desired gathers, sew a stitch across the middle to set them in place. Finish the edges of the other three sides by folding them under in a hem.
Attach your puppet curtain to the back of the larger curtain and you are ready for a show!
***I found a similar doorway puppet theater here. It shows how to use wooden dowels to make the opening more rigid and has a sliding curtain. Since my kids also use the curtain as a stage curtain, the dowels would not allow the curtain to be pushed aside for a show or to walk through the doorway. We can keep the curtain up all the time because it will not be in the way. Much easier than taking it down and putting it up when they want to use it. I may try to sew some interfacing or ribbon across the bottom of the opening it to make the opening more rigid because the kids seem to pull down on it making it droop more.