How to Make a Puppet Theater

Today I am going to share with you how to make a puppet theater out of an old hutch or bookcase.  I have found these are easy to find at any thrift shop, Salvation Army or Goodwill.  Apparently people will keep the dresser and get rid of the hutch.

I found my hutch curbside and decided to rescue it.  The first thing I did was clean it…GUHROSSSS! Then I took off the backer board.It wasn’t stable enough to handle my three year old boy so I knew I had to stabilize it somehow. I got out some scraps of plywood and measured the width of the hutchy thing and that is how wide the top of my parallelogram is. Then I widened the bottom to give it the stability it needed.

Using a circular saw, I cut out two of them and screwed them into the sides of the puppet theater and I achieved the stability it needed.

Then using a 5/8″ drill bit I drilled holes in the sides and inserted a 5/8″ dowel rod (cut to size) for the curtains to hang from.

Next I sanded the whole piece down and gave it a coat of primer followed by two coats of red paint.

Then I decided to to use the backer board as a chalkboard on the front. I cut it down using a utility knife since it was just a thin wood composite. After primering it and painting it with chalkboard paint I nailed it in place with thin brad nails.

Since it did not cover the entire piece I cut some trim to frame it out using my miter box and saw.  I just used the foam composite stuff.Then I laid it out in place to make sure it looked perfect..and it did!I sprayed the molding with black spray paint. Since there wasn’t anywhere to nail it in, I used Liquid Nails and clamped it in place. Some of the glue oozed out but I just touched it up after it was dry.I made little curtains out of fabric I had on hand and hung them from the dowel rod.

I have one happy little boy and I am enjoying a late night “show” before bedtime of and pig and a fish becoming friends and beating the big bad wolf. ;-)

You don’t need a hutch type thing for this project. Any small book shelf would work.  This one I used an old laminate shelf and just propped it up higher.

IMG_0853 The puppet theater is versatile too.  It is now my son’s snack shop.

Bookcases are perfect for this project because you have the shelves in the back to store stuff…

If you make one let me know.  I would LOVES to see it!





  • Heidi

    How sweet is THAT!!!?

    Looks so charming and I'm sure your kiddos have such fun with it!

  • Nadia@FunWithMama

    wow this is great! i so wish i could do something like that.. you make it look easy

  • Thimbleanna

    You are so darn clever Beckie — that's ADORABLE!

  • Kelsee

    I L.O.V.E. this idea!!! Might have to go searching now for my own! My kids would love this! Thanks pal! -Kelsee

  • Ells

    Beckie, you make the FUNNEST stuff! I can see hours of fun with that puppet theater for both kids and tons of friends – what a great idea! Makes me want to create one just for the kids who come over here occasionally!

  • Michelle

    Very creative, Beckie…you did such a good job!

    Have a wonderful day!
    ~Michelle :)

  • Room to Inspire

    Wow…this is fabulous! Thank you for the great tutorial!

    Chelsea

  • Amy

    How long did it take you to make this? Is it something you crank out in a day? Or does it take several? It just overwhelms to me even consider taking on a task like this! All I want is a message board, but I can't decide what I want, how to make it or where to even begin! I see so many cute ideas on different blogs, but, it just overwhelms me…. Wah!

  • [email protected]

    Love it!
    I'm not a fan of Glidden either. I like Behr best but Wal-Mart paint is pretty OK too for some things.

  • Amy {The Red Chair Blog}

    Brilliant idea, and it turned out so cute! Thanks for sharing the how-to!

  • Math Mommy

    I love your stuff, seriously. I even made tie-up curtains this summer in my first ever attempt at sewing! Much to the hubster's chagrin, you've inspired me to do lots of nifty craft stuff (for freeish)! I just have one tiny thing, though… in this project, you cut out a trapezoid for stability, not a parallelogram. (Sorry, I teach geometry.)

  • Dee

    Awesome turtorial.

    But I'm so shocked on who won the grand prize for the contest. I'm seriously like sucking all the oxygen in, gasping for air, and covering my mouth and saying "NO way."

    It's like a bad, rip off ending to SURVIVOR. Not a motivator for me to enter next time.

    You so know I still love you!

    Please, please, please, tell me that I read it wrong?

  • a woman who is

    "Don't judge the rustic moose basket…it was free!"

    Hahaha…that cracked me up. I am so glad this got posted to the top ten. I would not probably have seen it other wise.

    Absolutely fabulous idea.

    I have one of those yucky hutch things…and I have grandkids :) Thanks for this wonderful tutorial.

  • A Romantic Porch

    Oh my goodness girlfriend…you're amazing! I love this. Also, I buy other items for the fabric too. The other day I got a blouse for $1.50 to make 2 pillows…cha ching!

  • welovetucker

    Such an amazing idea. Thank you for sharing!!!

  • Pink & Green Mama

    Awesome!! And seriously nicer than the puppet theatre my kids use…a tension rod across our playroom doorway : )

  • Pink & Green Mama

    Awesome!! And seriously nicer than the puppet theatre my kids use…a tension rod across our playroom doorway : )

  • Pink & Green Mama

    Awesome!! And seriously nicer than the puppet theatre my kids use…a tension rod across our playroom doorway : )

  • Pink & Green Mama

    Awesome!! And seriously nicer than the puppet theatre my kids use…a tension rod across our playroom doorway : )

  • Pink & Green Mama

    This would be perfect for a classroom teacher or sunday school starting out a classroom on a limited budget!!

  • Pink & Green Mama

    This would be perfect for a classroom teacher or sunday school starting out a classroom on a limited budget!!

  • Pink & Green Mama

    This would be perfect for a classroom teacher or sunday school starting out a classroom on a limited budget!!

  • Pink & Green Mama

    This would be perfect for a classroom teacher or sunday school starting out a classroom on a limited budget!!

  • Older and Wisor

    Love the project, but no GLIDDEN??? What? I've used both (and several others as well), but I always come back to Glidden Evermore. Why you no likey?

  • Cheryl

    Way to go. Love your blog, thanks for sharing your talent with us!

  • Yaya

    That is amazing! I'm in awe!

  • Becky @ Our Sweet Peas

    Um, WOW you are so ambitious. Came out beautifully.

  • cat

    Brilliant girl! Greetings from South Africa.

  • Elizabeth

    Wow, that is insanely awesome! You are so crafty! I bet your toddler really loves that thing a ton. I wish I were handy and crafty like you are – I'm all thumbs when it comes to crafts. Happy SITS day! You made this look easy!

  • sandra

    What a clever idea. You are an inspiration.
    Mathy,Techy,Artsy Fartsy

  • Fruitful Vine2

    Awesome! How do you come up with these things? I guess when you got it, you got it :)

    Have a great day1

  • Cindy @ Chalk it Up!

    Ok, now you're talking my language-It's a chalkboard!!
    Love it!

  • Queenie Jeannie

    Really cool!

  • Joy

    Does Glidden know about this post? LOL

    Awesome theater. $7.45 well-spent.

    Happy SITS day!

  • Amandasaurus

    Your kids must have so much fun with a creative mom like you. I think every mom needs to be able to do this sort of thing to encourage her kids to find their own creativity.

  • Raising Z

    You are incredible…who would have thought??? I am going to show this to my husband…we were talking about buying one but yours is WAY cuter :) I saw that it is now a snack shack, too cute!

    Happy SITS day :)

  • Carrie

    I love this. I found a puppet theater at Homegoods but it was $80 and I couldn't bring myself to buy it at that price. Now I know I *might* be able to make one myself! Thanks for the inspiration!

    Happy SITS day!

  • sweetjeanette

    I love it!!! I have always loved puppets. Used to do shows and studied ventriloquism too. My secret ambition in high school was to graduate (LOL), move to New York, study under Jim Henson and become a muppeteer! No foolin'!
    stopping by from SITS to say congrats on your day!

    sweetjeanette.blogspot.com

  • Heather of the EO

    Maybe you could work on Extreme Home Makeover, making all this amazing stuff from the old house for the new???

    Such a cool puppet stage. Love it.

    Came from SITS today. Love your space.

  • Janna Bee

    Wow- that is amazing!

  • Tanyia

    Absolutely adorable, and I bet he loves it SO much!

  • Kimmy C

    I LOVE this. Especially the chalkboard… hmmm – now to find a bookcase/hutch type thing.

  • Brandi

    Fantastic use for an old hutch! And painting on the chalkboard paint — a stroke of genius.

  • Sharon

    This is WONDERFUL! What a great inspiration. I need to go out and get me some tools for a wood working shop. I think I would love this!!

    happy SITS day!!

  • sandy

    That is the coolest puppet theater ever! My girls would love it!

  • SPEAKING FROM THE CRIB

    that's it – my son wishes you were his mommy now

    happy SITS day

  • AMother’sEarth

    Wow, great idea!! I have a basement full of "future projects"…hmmm….maybe I can turn something into a puppet theater…… LOVE your blog!!!!

  • Rook No. 17

    One of the best examples of Roadkill Rescue I've seen. You've coined an awesome term. Your a wordsmith and and artist!!

    Jenn/Rook No. 17

  • Laura

    I wish my baby was still a baby..I would make this in a heartbeat..or have someone esle make it for me!!

    Laura
    http://mybde.blogspot.com

  • Single Mama NYC

    I am shaking my head over here in utter awe and wonder. Your talent is amazing. You rock!!!

  • Jessica

    I'm in total awe. A-MAZ-ING.

    Wow. This is just the coolest damned thing ever!

  • Kerri

    You are very handy! My goodness! Circular saw? My huby uses all the power tools..I'm afraid I'd hurt myself! I'm a city kid living in the country, so I'm learning to do things on my own… But nothing to this extent. LOVE IT! Happy SITS day!
    Kerri
    http://www.sickofmg.blogspot.com

  • Christine

    Boy oh boy how I wish my little ones were still little. Will have to keep this idea tucked away in my "toolbox" for future grandchildren:)
    I'm a Behr girl too…love the coverage!

  • The girl with the flour in her hair

    Wow. Great job, great idea. I usually make my kid's puppet theaters out of cardboard and duct tape.

    I'm going to follow you. You are extremely inspiring.

  • Reluctant Housewife

    Coolest thing ever. My kids would love it.

  • Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry"

    That is really wonderful how you made that into a puppet theater, even with the storage baskets and the chalkboard on the front–very, very cool. I remember having a puppet theater when I was a kid and we had a lot of fun with it!

  • Halle@HouseCapated

    Work those power tools girl!!

  • Ms. mama

    Not that I disagree with your comment about Glidden paint but to get RED, you MUST use a tinted gray primer.

    If you find that this thing is still sticky and all sorts of things stick to it then you could suffer from blocking.

    Again, nice choices! You certainly have an eye for what something could be.

  • Anonymous

    The free paint deal is over. Consider changing your link?

    Nice puppet theater though.

  • Zeemaid

    wbat a great project. you really do make it look too easy!!!

    We just might even own a book shelf that needs a little "rescuing".

    Thanks for the tips. Happy FB blogger day!

  • Christina

    Your son must LOVE that! Has he put on many shows since? :-)

  • Lynn

    Mm…mm…mm…mm…mmmm…

    :o)

  • Lynn

    Oh and I WILL be attempting to transform an old headboard that we have kept around that my husband and I had no clue what to do with. Now we do! Thanks for this super in-depth tutorial. I once read a do-it-herselfers blog post on how to do something and she was like 1. Go to the store. 2. Get that stuff – you know. That stuff I like. 3. Cut here. What should have been steps 4 to 10 were non-existent and step 4 was just Paste here and Voila! Lacking info and real time photos to match were her specialty apparently. Man why am I so harsh? Sorry. Anyway.

    My best, Lynn

  • Unknown Mami

    What's up creative?! Great idea!

  • aforestfrolic

    Soooo creative, I love it!!! We were lucky enough to get a puppet theater at our community yard sale a couple of years ago…maybe $10…totally worth it.

    Jamie :)

  • Alison Russell

    Fantastic! What kid wouldn't want that for a puppet theater?

  • shortmama

    What a great project!

  • Hoity Toity Baby

    OK NOWWWWW YOU'RE REALLY MY HERO! I LOVE THIS LOVE THIS LOVE THIS! DID I MENTION I LOVE THIS? I'M BLOOGING ABOUT THIS AND YOU!

  • Holly

    So clever. I am so happy I found your blog through SITS! Feeling very inspired.

    Holly @ 504 Main

  • Angela

    that's a great project!!
    i never would have thought to do it.

    happy sits day!

    cmon over, i've got a great mary kay giveaway going right now!

  • Robin

    That turned out so cute!

  • Mighty M

    I bet the entertainment is great at your house!

  • tara

    omigoodness i want one!

  • Preston

    Totally cool and fun. And for less than $8! Enjoy your SITS day.

  • Stefany

    That is adorable!

  • Days of Whine & Noses

    OMG! My husband is ALWAYS looking for things to do around the house so why not have HIM make THIS for our 4 year old???!!!

    Stopping by from SITS

  • Days of Whine & Noses

    OMG! My husband is ALWAYS looking for things to do around the house so why not have HIM make THIS for our 4 year old???!!!

    Stopping by from SITS

  • Days of Whine & Noses

    OMG! My husband is ALWAYS looking for things to do around the house so why not have HIM make THIS for our 4 year old???!!!

    Stopping by from SITS

  • Days of Whine & Noses

    OMG! My husband is ALWAYS looking for things to do around the house so why not have HIM make THIS for our 4 year old???!!!

    Stopping by from SITS

  • Joy

    totally cool!
    visiting from sistas!

  • Sherri @ Luv a Bargain

    Ok…now I'm speechless. YI think you need your own HGTV show.

  • Flory

    My little ones would think I'm the best mom ever if I made this for them. I have to copy this tutorial. Thanks so much!

  • Kim

    Happy SITS day! This project is awesome! I thought I was clever–never would have envisioned this!

  • A Fist Full of Dandelions

    My little one would love this!

  • Ashton Dene’

    how awesome is that? If I had kids or was a teacher I would be all over trying that. $7.45 for that is amazing!

  • CoffeewithZooly

    Happy SITS day! This project is awesome!

  • Annie@A View On Design

    this is a fantastic project, we were just about to throw out a book.shelf just like this – now I will put it aside and fix it up for the kids in a few months! Thanks (sits)

  • Mimi and Tilly

    Happy SITS day for yesterday! I love this project. You are so creative. I'm looking at my home with new eyes. I have some old chairs in the shed that I think I will spruce up and bring into the house! Sending smiles.

  • Meg

    I love this! I don't have kids, but I do have an old bookshelf that would be great for this…

  • Missy

    I'm going on a search for a bookshelf now.

  • Krissy @ B.Inspired, Mama!

    This is such a clever idea! I just had to share it on my blog:

    http://binspiredmama.blogspot.com/2009/10/infarrantly-creative-how-to-make-puppet.html

    Thanks so much!

    And happy SITS day!!!

  • Polly

    I fell in love with this when I saw it…because we have the perfect bookshelf to do this with…but ours is SO much uglier than the one use used. I've got a link to this project in my "Projects I want to do" link. The transformation of the bookshelf is nearly complete and I'll send you the link when it's done. Thank you for the great ideas!! Polly @ http://helpinglittlehands.blogspot.com/

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  • Judy@cutest-little-things

    SO cute!

    Judy@cutest-little-things

  • Sunshine and Shadows

    I never would have thought of doing this with a hutch or bookshelf. I'll bet your little boy loves this.

  • Mother★Lode

    oh, what a lovely diy project, with so many possibilities! i love it, and just had to feature it on my weekly roundup of inspiring projects, blogged here:
    http://www.camilledawn.com/2010/07/tuesday-tumblr-7.html

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