How to Build a Puppet Theater With Wood

Written by mark morris
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How to Build a Puppet Theater With Wood
A foldable plywood theatre makes a good stage for hand puppets. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

The simplest puppet theatres are screens that hide the performers, with an opening at the top where the puppets emerge. These are usable, but a stage with a curtain the puppets can perform in front of while the performers are standing or seated is much easier. A folding stage, with a curtain, can be made from a single sheet of heavy plywood and a piece of piano hinge. The plywood is light enough to move easily, but heavy enough to stand without a frame.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • 3/4-inch-thick plywood
  • Table saw
  • Drywall square
  • Drill
  • Paddle bit
  • Jigsaw
  • Sandpaper
  • Sander
  • Piano hinge
  • Hacksaw
  • Wood screws
  • Black polyester fabric
  • Air stapler

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  1. 1

    Use a table saw to saw a 24-inch length from each end of a sheet of 3/4-inch-thick plywood, creating two 24-by-48-inch pieces and one 48-by-48-inch piece.

  2. 2

    Use a drywall square to draw a rectangle 18 by 36 inches, centred in the 48-by-48 inch piece of the plywood. Drill a hole in one corner of the rectangle with a 1-inch paddle bit.

  3. 3

    Start a jigsaw inside the 1-inch hole and cut out the rectangle.

  4. 4

    Sand the three plywood panels with 100-grit sandpaper on a random-orbit sander. Concentrate on the edges, removing any splinters.


  1. 1

    Cut a 96 inch piece of piano hinge in half with a hacksaw to create two 48-inch long hinges. Lay the three plywood panels down flat. Fit one 24-by-48-inch piece against the side of the 48-by-48 inch panel, with the rectangle opening toward the top and the smaller panel on the right edge, with its 48 inch edge aligned to the larger panel.

  2. 2

    Attach the hinge along this joint, face mounted, using one 1/2-inch wood screw in each hole. Use a cordless drill to drive the screws. Fit the remaining 24-by-48-inch panel against the other side of the larger panel and attach it using the remaining hinge, face mounted with one 1/2-inch screw in each hole.

  3. 3

    Stand the stage upright with the two smaller wing panels, standing at right angles to the larger stage panel, supporting it.

  4. 4

    Cut out a 20-by-46-inch piece of sheer black polyester fabric. Staple one long edge of it along the top of the stage opening on the hinged side of the panel, 1/2 inch above the edge, using 1/2-inch narrow crown staples from an air stapler, one every 3 inches.

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