Sunday, March 15, 2015

DIY Land of Nod Inspired Tabletop Puppet Theater

Ana White is currently hosting a #GetBuilding2015 challenge. This month's theme is #ScrapWorkLove which requires the use of scrap wood to create a project. My niece's 4 year birthday was coming up, so I decided I would make something for her. I looked through my wood scraps and tried to come up with a project. A few years ago, I had made this puppet stage for another niece and she loved it.

I didn't have enough scrap materials to make something that large, plus this was going to be for a 4 year old, so I decided to make something smaller. I saw Land of Nod's Tabletop Theater. I knew this would be perfect! My measurements are not exactly the same as the Land of Nod version because I was using scrap wood, but it worked out great! You can easily adjust this to make due with the scraps you have on hand.
If you do not have scraps, here are the needed materials:
1 - 1" x 6" x 3'
1 - 1" x 4" x 10' (You can get an 8' board, but you will need to change the 21" cuts to 20 1/2" cuts)
1 - 1" x 3" x 4'
1 - 3/8" x 3' dowel or a tension rod
Saw (I used a miter saw and a jig saw, but you could even use a hand saw)
Kreg Jig or countersink drill bit
1 1/4" pocket hole screws or wood screws
Spade drill bit (if you are using a dowel)
paint or stain
small amount of fabric
needle and thread or sewing machine
Coat hooks (optional)

Here are the steps I took to make the puppet stage.

Step 1: Cut your boards. I used a miter saw for most of the cuts. but any saw will do.
1 - 1" x 6" cut at 18" (bottom sign)
2 - 1" x 4" cut at 21" (sides)
1 - 1" x 4" cut at 18" (top sign)
2 - 1" x 4" cut at 18" (stage and top sign base)
2 - 1"x 3" cut at 6 1/2" (bases)
1 - 3/8" dowel cut at 20 1/2" or a tension rod
Step 2: Using a Kreg jig set a the 3/4" setting, drill pocket holes in each end of the inside of the stage, and top sign base. 
Step 3: Using a Kreg jig set a the 3/4" setting, drill pocket holes in each end and the top of the inside of the top sign and the bottom sign.
Step 4: Using the pocket hole screws, attach the bottom sign to the sides. If you don't want to use pocket holes, you can use countersunk screws.
Step 5: Follow this process for both sides.
Step 6: Using the pocket hole screws, attach the stage to the sides and bottom sign.
Step 7: Follow the same process for the top sign and top sign base.
Step 8: Draw the curve for the front edge of the bases. An easy way to do this is to trace around a paint can or something similar.
Step 9: Use a jig saw to cut around the curve. If you don't have a jig saw, you can just leave these as blocks on the sides instead of being curved.
Step 10: Attach the bases to the sides using countersunk screws from the inside of the sides.
Step 11: Using a spade bit, drill holes into the sides where you want to place the dowel.
Step 12: Drill a small hole in each end of the dowel (This step is optional.)
Step 13: Make your curtains. I am not an expert at sewing, but these were pretty simple. Just cut your curtains to size. Fold over about 1/4" and sew around the edges. Fold over the top edge. Be sure to make this long enough to fit the dowel or tension rod. Sew that top part down.
Step 14: Slide your dowel into the hole in the side. Slide the curtains on, and put the dowel through the other side.
Step 15: I wanted to ensure that the dowel would not slide back and forth, so I put some small screws into the ends of the dowel. This also will allow the curtains to be removed and washed or changed.
Step 16: I also placed a couple coat hooks on the sides so hold the curtains back. This is not necessary. You could also use a ribbon or a piece of the fabric to tie the curtain back.
Step 17: Fill any holes with putty, sand all surfaces, and paint or stain. I normally paint everything at the end, but because I was using more than one color, I decided to paint as I went.

Step 18: Have fun! My niece loved her new puppet stage. 
It was a Frozen party, so the puppet show starred Elsa and Olaf. She had a great time!

This was a quick build and did not cost a thing to make! You can make easily make one for a fraction of what it costs to buy. This would also make a great classroom gift!

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