Monday, July 18, 2011

Door Frame Puppet Theater- Tutorial

So I am feeling somewhat better. Three days of fever and I am still coughing like a “dog”.

As promised, here comes the tutorial for the Door Frame Puppet Theater.

This project is meant to be a boredom buster, a motivator to become creative, a way to come down a little and enjoy a nice story, as well as an educational adventure. Encourage your children to work together in order to put a nice show for the whole family. Make some easy books so that they can draw or write the scripts for the shows. Use a tape recorder to record scripts or to play purchased ones. Make more felt letters with your children and encourage them to think up a new theme for the theater ( the post office, local store, jungle etc.) Let them spell the new names out and hang them up on their sign. Make some paper bag puppets or some fabric puppets – let the imagination run wild and rediscover this “toy” again each time.

You will need
  • about 4 Meters of fabric
  • fabric and felt scraps for the appliques, fabric scraps for the back ties of the curtains, bunting, labels on the pockets and bigger scraps for the curtain and pockets
  • batting- I used H630 that you can iron on
  • velcro
  • ribbon
  • fabric glue
  • shower curtain rod
  • 2 thin pieces of wood
  • some yarn
  • some bias tape for the window

    Optional: small clothes pins and felt for the letters. I decorated mine with Marabu fabric paints, but anything will work.
1. Use my sketch to sketch out your measurements. Doors in Europe are definitely a different size than in the US. Just use this drawing as a guide.

2. Lay your base fabric out and mark all your window and sign lines. Iron the batting on one half of the length. Here I also ironed all my edges onto the inside for easier sewing later.

3. Prepare your applique pieces. I am sorry, but I cannot give you the ones I used, because they are copyrighted. I am sure that you would want to use a different theme anyway. I used cotton fabric rests and some wool felt. Check out thisvideo for a cheaters way of doing needle point.
I used interfacing F220. Lay your traced design with the sticky- to iron- side down on the right side of your piece and sew on the line.

Trim. Cut a slit in the interfacing, turn. Do not iron. Now you have the sticky side on the outside, so later when you are assembling your applique, it will iron onto your base fabric.

For the felt pieces, either do not use any interfacing, or use the one that sticks on both sides. I use wonder under.

4. Assemble your applique and slip stitch/ machine stitch.

5. Prepare your sign. I embroidered my sign. If you do not have an embroidery machine, you can certainly do some more applique. Do your embroidery first then cut to the size you need and iron the edges under. Attach the eyelets if you like and top stitch in place.

6. Make your curtains. Cut the fabric to the desired size and finish all the edges. I serged mine, but you can certainly machine sew. When you are finished, lay a piece of crochet yarn on top and zig zag over it being careful not to sew over the yarn. When finished, pull the yarn to gather the fabric. Set aside. Later you will be removing the yarn.

7. Make your back ties for the curtains. Cut your fabric strips and iron the edges over to the inside. Lay them on top of each other, left sides together and sew. On one end attach a strip of velcro. Set aside

8. Make your bunting. I was inspired by a tutorial from Jamielyn from I heart Nap Time. 
I used scraps of cotton fabric and some ribbon. I used my template to sew along the lines. When finished, set aside.

9.Make your felt letters. I embroidered mine first, then I used fabric paint to decorate them.

10. Make your pockets (cut to desired sizeand finish the edges) and top stitch to the back side of the theater.
Nothe that I added some labels to write the names of the puppets. Educational factor: putting thigs back where they belong and writing.

11. Cut your window out and attach bias tape. Take a look at this great video from Missouri star quilt Company on attaching a binding. Watch it twice and do not sew in on when you have fever. I messed mine up the first time.

12. Pin the curtain and bunting and sew it on. I found it easier to first sew the curtain on, then the bunting. The only problem was that through this, I had some unsightly stitches on the back which I had to cover with some ribbon later. So if you manage to sew it all in one line, you are fine. If not, do the ribbon trick.

13. Attach your curtain ties. When they are sewn on, sew the corresponding piece of velcro on the other side where you attached the tie.

14. Iron your theater. My cloth was 386 cm in length. This means, that I folded it in half . This means I did not have to stitch anything on top to hang/ attach to the rod. This way, however I had a lot of salvage on my base fabric.
Top stitch one side leaving about 8 cm on the top for inserting of the rod.. Iron again to make sure that everything is straight and that there is no puckering. Sew the other side, but stop on top of the window to insert your piece of wood. I made my about 5 cm smaller than the with of the theater. Sew further down stopping on the bottom of the window and slide your wood in. Continue to the bottom of the project and sew the bottom as well. Run one more stitch- line to secure the bottom piece of wood. Use matching thread.

I also made a bag to store the theater under the bed when not in use. I am not going to do a tutorial on this, because it is pretty easy. Here are the pieces that I cut for it.

I wish you hours of fun. I think this is a nice project because it will deliver lots of fun for several years.

 Did you already see the puppets Raurinde? Prinz von Qua Qua? Franz der Baer?

This project made the Top Ten at the CSI Project Weekly Challenge and was featured at the Sunday Showcase at Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas

Visit thecsiproject.comClassified: Mom

I am showing this project at

Fun Family Crafts


  1. I am bookmarking this. My girls have been asking me to make a theatre for them. Now, I can. Thanks for the tutorial too!!!
    following you now.

  2. AMAZING!!! You sure are talented!!! Love it all! Wish I would've found this for M's bday party this weekend!! Love it!


  3. This is AWESOME! I have been dying to get a puppet theater but we just do not have the room for those huge houses they sell. This is so neat! I can not sew but I seriously may have to try this - i LOVE it!!

    Would love for you to link up to the Sunday Showcase - my weekly child centered linky party -


  4. Just wanted to stop by to thank you for linking up to last week's Sunday Showcase & let you know your puppet theater in one of our features for this week! YAY!!!

    Thanks so much for sharing your idea with us - can't wait to see what other fun ideas you link up this week! See you tonight for an all new linky party!!


  5. I love this theater. It's got so much personality, it's so inviting for kids to play with. I found you off the Sunday Showcase.

  6. This is so brilliant, I absolutely love it! LOVE!

    I run Fun Family Crafts, a site similar in nature to Craftgawker and Spotlight, but different in that it's a library of craft tutorials geared only at kids. I would love it if you'd stop by and submit this to be featured! (I link to you, I don't post your tutorial on the site) Feel free to submit as many kid friendly craft tutorials as you like!

  7. This is so awesome! You are really talented and creative! Came here via the Sunday Showcase.


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