Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day 9: A Creative Project to Create Creative Play

This is the finished product, complete with puppets. I have,
in fact, been intending to make one of these for my kids,
 but today I actually had a reason to get around to it. 
 I got a phone call today from a friend in need of help. No, his car wasn't broken down on the side of the road and he didn't need money for his electric bill... This friend needed help on something special, a project to help with his vacation bible school class: a puppet theater. Now, you know me, I love a crafting challenge, so even before he had finished explaining his problem, I was already checking my stash of cardboard boxes and fabric to see if I had the materials to build a puppet theater, and well... you know me, I did. In fact, the box that I decided would be most appropriate for this project was given to me in payment for the Roman soldier costumes that I made for another friend, and some of the paint came from that project as well. I threw this together in two hours, and I can think of a dozen different ways in which to improve it, but it was needed ASAP and I think it will do. Below are the steps I took to complete this project:

First step: gather materials. I have two half empty spray cans from different
projects, red velvet fabric, paper towel rolls for columns, and a feather mask
to decorate. As always, when I'm working with cardboard, I will use my trusty
hot glue gun.

This is the box.

Step two: remove the box flaps. I am using a steak knife as a saw, but you can
also use an exacto knife or a box cutter.

Step three: score and fold in the interior flaps to form a stage
and a storage shelf for your puppets. Mark where you intend
to cut the openings. 

Step four: cut the openings, folding the outer flaps down over the stage made
from the interior flap. Hot glue edges to the inside of the box and glue exterior
flaps to interior flap.

Step five: install columns, attaching with hot glue. Trim edges with scissors.
You may use papier mache or masking tape to seal the edges if you wish.

Step six: first coat of paint. I used silver because I thought it would cover
better and I wanted to have the gold more prominent on the finished product.

Allow paint to dry.

Step seven: apply exterior coat of paint. I ran out of silver, so I used the gold
to apply the paint in a swirly, mottled fashion for texture.

Allow paint to dry.

Step eight: while paint is drying, I serged the edges of my fabric and sewed
a flap at the top for a curtain rod to go through. The rod I'm using is a scrap
of poplar I had on hand, a little wider than the box.

Step nine: I cut holes in the box and slipped the curtain rod through them. Next
I decorated, using a feather mask (I know it's not the traditional theater masks,
but this was a quick project), some red jewels, contact paper on the stage (see
top picture), and a few odds and ends I had. Here's where you can be most creative!
At this point the puppet theater is ready to be used. We had some puppets on hand which will also be loaned to my friend, but you could make another project of puppet making, creating sock puppets or something more elaborate. Also, sometimes you can find small puppets in the Dollar Tree for $1 each. This creative project is one that can encourage more creativity through imaginative play. And the best part about this project? Even though I made it for a friend, it will come back when he is done with it! So, my kids will have a new toy for their enjoyment. I can't wait to see what stories they come up with!

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