Make Your Own {Shabby Chic} Puppet Theater

So this past weekend I decided to take a little break from work. I turned off my computer on Friday morning, and tried to stay away for most of Friday, Saturday and Sunday. My mom came over on Friday night and watched the kids so Brandon and I could have a date night. It was so nice to be alone, without kids, no Evy’s Tree going on in the background. It was Heavenly, in fact.

On Saturday morning, I finished all the laundry and folded everything. I know this sounds crazy to most people, but I love doing laundry. At first it’s very overwhelming to look at the piles and piles of laundry needed to be folded, but usually It means I can’t focus on anything else but folding, and it’s a good break for my mind. I love the feeling of all the laundry for the week being folded and tucked away in our drawers and that we can get dressed without having to dig through a laundry basket. SO NICE.

Anyway during my laundry folding, something happened that happens most Saturday morning. Little elves {ahem, my kiddos} start moving all my chairs to the doorway between our family room and our hallway to set up for a puppet show. Blankets start coming out…pretty much things get torn apart. I endure this most weekends, but I think, since I was on such an organization kick, I had enough of it….

THAT mess above was minor compared to what it became about 20 mins after I snapped this picture. Leaving your kids to create their own puppet theater is NOT a smart idea, trust me on this one. I had been eyeing this puppet theater {HERE}, but I would need two of them to fit in my opening, which meant that was one pricey puppet theater. ugh. So I decided a long time ago that someday I would make one for ourselves. I guess this weekend was the day. :)

 I hopped in the car and with a $40 budget, ran to Joann’s {I spent a total of $34.95 thanks to coupons! Score!}. Later that evening we had this….Yes, I pretty much love it. And the kids ADORED it. They were so excited to finally be able to act out their antics. It was super easy to make and although it is a bit more on the time consuming side….most beginning seamstresses would be able to whip this up with no trouble.

*** Side note: I did use a serger. This is definitely not necessary, but really saves a lot of time. If you are going to try this project, however, please be aware that you do NOT need one. :)

Material list

Home decor fabric- this is a thicker blend of fabric, almost like canvas. There is a home decor fabric section in most fabric stores. We’ll discuss width and amount needed shortly.

Cotton print fabric- I bought Joann’s brand white polka dot on a green background. Amount needed varies according to your space.

Upholstery cording- This is to hang the theater up. You could probably use rope or any other kind of tie, but this is what I had on hand and it seemed to work really well.

Ribbon- I used about 1 yard to tie back the curtains

Fabric Scraps- This is for the bunting. I used some left over bags that the Simply Shabby Chic sheet sets come in, as well as the print from the curtains.

Step 1- Measure your door frame and figure out how much fabric you need. Add 2- 3 inches to the width and 6-7 inches to the height.

** Example: My door frame was 80″ high by 67″ wide. So I need a total fabric of 87″ high by 70″ wide. 

Once you know your measurements, then you can figure out how many yards you need. I picked a this fabric, which was 45″ wide, which meant I would need to have a seam down the middle to make the width equal 70″, and I had a remnant of 10 inches leftover on each of the sides. I needed a total of 87″, which is not quite 2.5 yards, and since I needed double the width, I would need to get 5 yards.

ugh, does this make sense?!? This is the most confusing part, sorry!

ANYWAY……

Step 2- Once you have the fabric, cut your fabric down to the size you need, if you need to do so…..

Step 3- Serge all the edges, except for the middle edges that will combine, if you have to combine two pieces.

**If you are just using a sewing machine, just do a simple hem on all sides and skip this step and step 4 and 5.

Step 4- Serge the middle seam together, if you have two piecesStep 5- Fold the edge over and create a simple seam with a straight stitch.Step 6- Once you have your seams done, fold the top of the fabric over to create a loop for the rope to hang, and sew shut with a straight stitch.

** NOTE: make the loop wide enough to get a yard stick through. Even if your rope isn’t very big, you’ll want to be able to thread it through easily enough {see more in step 7}. I made my loop 2.5 inches or so wide, which is why I added about 7 inches to the length of my fabric. Step 7- Take the rope you will use {in my case the upholstery cording}….
… double it up, and then and tie it to the end of a yard stick or something you can thread through the top loop. I doubled the cording for two reasons: to make the theater a little stronger and to make it easier to tie around the nails in the wall.Step 7- Using the end of the yard stick that DOES NOT have the cording tied to it, thread the yard stick through the loop and pull it out until the cording is through the other side.…..and tie a knot at the end.
Step 8- cut off the excess and using tape, wrap the edges and trim so they don’t fray.Step 9- Straighten the top loop so the fabric is tight over the entire amount of rope and then sew shut. I did this prevent the puppet theater from sliding around on the cording and breaking it. Just a security measure, you most definitely don’t have do this.Step 10- Hang your curtain up and make sure it fits. And then decide where you want the opening for the puppets to be. I had my kids sit down on a chair and hold their arms up with puppets, and then pinned in the center and the width, as well as the top and the bottom.Step 10- Fold your fabric in half, so you can get an even cut, and then cut out the width and height for the opening. DON’T throw out the waste from the opening. You will use that next.

Step 10- Seam all the inside edges. I used my serger and straight stitch once again, but you can seam how you like. Step 11- Taking your remnant from the inside of the main fabric, lay that down on your curtain fabric folded down the middle and cut two pieces the same as the opening. This will make your two curtains. Since you are going to ruffle this, you want at least twice the width so you can have a nice gather, so that is why you cut out TWO pieces the same length as the opening, once you ruffle the fabric you will have the same width as the opening when you put them together.

 I hope that makes sense…. :(
Step 12- Seam the curtain fabric.Step 13- Ruffle. I put my machine on the highest tension, which is a 9 for my machine….And the widest stitch length, which is a 6. At these settings, the fabric will ruffle automatically. You might have to play with it. You may have to ruffle by hand.Step 14- Attach the curtain to the opening of the theater, and sew on with a straight stitch.Step 15- Add ribbon to each side, sorry I don’t have a picture of this. I just added it to the back of the theater opening, where I would want to tie back the curtain.Step 16- Make a bunting. I decided to use fabric scraps and make a scrap bunting. You could certainly make a regular triangular bunting like here or skip this step all together, but to be honest, this bunting is my favorite thing about the theater. ….start with scraps of fabric. I used all my Simply Shabby Chic bags that my sheets came in. Super fun! Glad I kept them around all these years!…rip them into 8 inch or so {some are going to be smaller, some larger} strips. To rip, cut a small break in the top and then grab the fabric and rip it. It will make the edges frayed like shown.

….then tie them to the leftover cording, randomly, to create a bunting the length of the theater opening. I kept a pattern, or at least tried. ha.

And then attached it on the sides and in the middle with a strong stitch.

WAHLAH…… you are done! Whew. hopefully that wasn’t too confusing! Let me know if you have any questions by leaving a comment. Big hugs everyone and happy puppeter-ing!

xoxo

 

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