how to make a puppet theater 1

It seems there is a never-ending supply of the hutch part of dressers at Goodwill, thrift stores and on the side of the road.   After driving by a curbside hutch for days I finally hauled it into my mini van totally unsure of what I would transform it into.   I love providing opportunities for imaginary play for my kids.   This puppet theater/snack shop is the perfect prop for hours of fun for them.

* This is a repost from September of 2009*

how to make a puppet theater (7)

This is what it looked like when I found it.   I was in okay shape.   It was dirty and nasty but it seemed well constructed and it had a fun shape to it.

how to make a puppet theater

Supply List:

Old Hutch



Scrap wood (I used plywood)

Circular saw or Jigsaw


5/8” drill bit

5/8” dowel rod

fabric and sewing machine to sew curtains

chalkboard paint


Liquid Nails


electric drill


thin nails

miter box and saw


1. After I cleaned it I took off the backer board.   It wasn’t stable enough to handle my crazy kids 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.

2.   Using a circular saw, I cut out two of them and screwed them into the sides of the hutch.   This provided the stability it needed, it definitely isn’t tipping over.

3. Then I used 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.

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

5. 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.

6. 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 because it is so easy to cut.
Then I laid it out in place to make sure it looked perfect..and it did!
7. 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.
8. I made little curtains out of fabric I had on hand and hung them from the dowel rod.
We use it for puppet shows…

how to make a puppet theater

and a snack shop…

snack shop

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.


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


how to make a puppet theater

how to make a puppet theater (1)

Do you love trash to treasure type projects?   Want to see more.   Click here to see more Roadkill Rescue projects.

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  1. Oh, this is absolutely awesome and I have an old hutch that I could use just for this purpose! Thank you for this project tip!

  2. Love it! Absolutely love it!
    I wish I had little kids around. Can’t wait to be a grandma!
    (Did I just say that?!)

  3. What an idea. I was looking on ideas to paint my boys puppet theater that they are getting for christmas this year and was clueless???
    It was made by their grandpa so I want it to be extra special for them he asked me to paint it.
    So here is what I’m going to do. I’m going to paint it pastle yellow and blue. Get the boys a cash reg. And fake monry to go along with their play food and kitchen that they are also getting for christmas then we can use it food puppets and a market. All I will have to buy is baskets for their play food and chalk board paint.
    Thank you so very much for taking the time to write your artical!!!!!!

  4. Well I hope so. I did change my mind on one idea instead of using chalk board paint I just went today and got a dry erase board to put on it so they could also use magnetic numbers and letters. With that’s idea we will have other options of play as we need simple ideas for our son who is 2 1/2 and has autism. I can not thank you enough for your post.
    Please continue to write such useful ideas your great!!
    Merry christmas to you and your familey

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