DIY Shadow Puppet Theatre


I’m not sure if you’ve been around long enough to remember the last shadow puppet theater I made for my kids? We love that thing. Just last week we turned down the lights, lit up our Christmas tree, and used our theatre to dramatize our version of the Grinch (the Grinch was played by a green T-Rex toy. Very apropos).

The only problem is, the last time I made a theater, it was an involved project. But I wanted to make another. So I came up with a slightly simpler version. I’m so pleased with how it turned out. Do you like it? I’m including the DIY here because you could totally still whip out one of these in time for Christmas.

supplies & equipment:
-panel of fabric, solid-color and thin enough so light can shine through
-contact paper
-acrylic or fabric paint
-small sponge roller (available for a dollar or two at any craft store)
-extra fabric scraps and fabric glue for embellishments
-paper or plastic to protect your work surface

1. Lay your fabric flat and cut to the size you’d like your theater to be. No need to hem the edges, they won’t fray once we’re done with them (see! so easy.)

2. Lay the contact paper down and sketch the shape of your theatre. The places where you stick the contact paper will be the places where the light is able to shine through the fabric. Cut out the shape, remove the backing, and stick the contact paper onto your fabric.

3. Get out your roller and start painting. Roll paint everywhere fabric is showing. Don’t be stingy. Roll right to the edges.

4. Allow the paint to dry. Peel off and discard the contact paper.  Now notice the fabric edges do not fray because they are painted? Nice.

5. Cut out fabric scraps for any special touches you’d like to add, and glue them on with fabric glue.

Stand back and admire your new theater! When you’re ready to use it, you have a few options, but the simplest is just to tie a piece of string between two chairs and clothespin your theatre to the string. All you need is a flashlight and a puppeteer or two and you’re ready for a performance.

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