Medieval Puppet Theater
By: Kathleen George for STYROFOAM Brand Foam
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Create your own Medieval Puppet Theater so that you and your kids can perform your own shows for friends and family. This cute craft for kids is a great gift for creative youngsters. You could even ask them ahead of time which types of characters they like so you're sure to put together something that they'd enjoy.
This felt craft involves scrap fabric, Styrofoam balls, wiggly eyes, and much more. You can make your DIY theater as detailed as you want. Once completed, you'll love spending quality time with your kids pretending you're a damsel in distress, a knight in shining armor, or a fire-breathing dragon!
If you need more ideas for crafting with children, check out these 16 Slumber Party Crafts, Games, and Activities.
- STYROFOAM™ Brand Foam:
- Balls: two 4"; five 1-1/2"; eight 1"
- Blocks, 2" x 12" x 18", four
- Egg, 3"
- Foam-safe spray paint: coral, green, purple
- Wooden dowels, 1/4" x 36", two
- Felt, 9" x 12" sheets: yellow; blue; two green; scraps of pink, red, white, and black
- Purple felt, 36" wide, 1/8 yd.
- Fabric: cotton print, 12" square; red trigger cloth, 1/2 yd.
- Gold trim, 1 yd.
- Assorted sequins and jewels
- Wiggle eyes, 1", four
- Plastic rings, 3/4", 14
- Serrated knife
- Candle stub or paraffin
- Fine-line black permanent marker
- Compass or circle templates
- Wooden toothpicks
- Scissors: standard; scallop-edge
- Sewing needle and thread
- Straight pins
- Craft knife with sharp blade
- Iron and ironing board
- Low-temp glue gun and glue sticks
- Thick, white craft glue
- Free Printable Pattern
Note: Adult supervision required. Children should not handle sharp knives, hot glue guns, and spray paint.
- Cut one dowel rod in half; glue into bottoms of 4" foam balls to create puppet heads/bodies.
- Wax serrated knife with candle stub or paraffin.
- Cut one 1" foam ball in half; hot glue one half-ball to each side of a 4" foam ball for ears. Glue second 1" ball to face for nose. Spray paint head coral; place dowel in heavy glass or jar to dry.
- Glue wiggle eyes in place. From felt, cut two C-shaped black eyebrows and one C-shaped red mouth; glue in place. Cut two pink felt circles for cheeks; glue to face.
- Cut 10" x 12" piece from print fabric for gown. Fold in half, wrong side out, to measure 6" x 10". Sew seam along 10" open edge, knot thread ends, and turn tube right side out. Sew gathering stitch around top end of tube, 1/2" from edge. Pull threads tightly to gather, insert dowel through hole, and knot thread ends. Glue fabric to bottom of head; pin until dry.
- Cut two 2" x 4" arms from print fabric. Cut two small hands from white felt and glue to back of each arm. Cut two 3/4" x 2" cuffs from blue felt and glue to front of sleeves. Glue arms to top of gown on each side.
- Cut 4" circle from blue felt for collar. Cut one side of circle from outside edge to center; cut small hole in center. Glue collar around neck, with slit at back. Glue jewel to neck, if desired.
- Cut 2 1/4" x 4" strip from blue felt for crown; cut top edge into points. Roll strip into tube and glue seam; glue to top of head. Glue jewels or sequins to crown as shown.
- Cut thin slice from wide end of foam egg, then cut egg in half lengthwise. Trace each half-egg onto pink felt; cut out pieces 1/8" inside traced lines and set aside.
- Hot glue wide end of egg halves to front of a 4" foam ball to form open mouth; long cut sides should face each other.
- Cut one 1" foam ball in half; hot glue half-balls to top half of open mouth for nostrils. Cut one 1 1/2" foam ball in half and glue halves to face for cheeks.
- Glue three 1" foam balls along top of head to resemble spines. Spray paint head green; place dowel in heavy glass or jar to dry.
- Glue wiggle eyes in place. Glue felt pieces cut in Step 1 into open mouth. Cut long flame from red felt and glue into mouth. Cut triangular teeth from white felt and glue into mouth.
- To make body, fold green felt sheet in half, wrong side out, to measure 6" x 9". Sew seam along 9" open edge, knot thread ends, and turn tube right side out. Sew gathering stitch around top end of tube, 1/2" from edge. Pull threads tightly to gather, insert dowel through hole, and knot thread ends. Glue fabric to bottom of head; pin until dry.
- Cut two arms from green felt, with three clawed fingers each. Cut pointed tail from felt, as well. Glue arms and tail to felt body.
- For horns, cut two large triangles from pink felt. Roll each triangle into a cone and glue seam. Use fingertip to gently stretch out bottom of cone and glue to top of head.
- Set aside two foam blocks for stage sides. Cut third block in half lengthwise to create two 6" x 18" panels for front of stage that will adjoin sides.
- Place remaining foam block flat on work surface with 18" edges at top and bottom.
- Use patterns to trace remaining theater pieces onto last foam block. Cut apart first page of patterns on solid and dashed lines, creating three separate patterns; discard area indicated on pattern.
- Align corner of Theater Arch Top pattern, marked with an "X", with top left corner of foam block; trace pattern. Flip pattern over at dashed line to trace second half of arch; do not cut out yet.
- Place Front Theater Columns pattern below left edge of arch top like puzzle piece and trace pattern. Flip pattern over and trace below right edge of arch top. Cut out pattern pieces.
- Cut two 4 1/8" squares from remaining area of last foam block. Cut remaining patterns from foam or felt as indicated.
- Hot glue toothpicks halfway into ends of arch top, near dots indicated on pattern. Glue opposite toothpick ends into Theater Arch Ends cut in Step 6, aligning dots on patterns. Trim bottom edge of joined arch pieces flush; sand rough edges with scrap foam.
- Refer to photo to glue Theater Arch Inside Corners to top inside edges of 6" wide panels cut in Step 1. Again, be sure top edges are flush.
- Glue arch top to top of 6" panels, overlapping inside edges 1 1/2". Apply hot glue to a toothpick or two and insert through bottom of each inside corner up into rounded ends of arch top for added strength. Glue flat backs of columns to front of theater on either side of opening.
- Glue a 1 1/2" foam ball into curve at top of arch. Glue 1" foam ball to bottom of each inside arch corner. Cut thin slice from back and bottom of two 1 1/2" balls; glue to top of columns, flush with foam. Cut remaining 1 1/2" ball in half; glue halves to top corners of theater front.
- Spray paint all theater pieces purple; let dry. Two light coats provide more even coverage than one thick coat. To protect work area, place pieces inside large cardboard box before painting.
- For hinges, cut two 4" x 18" purple felt strips. Glue half of each strip to back of theater front at each side; glue other half to front 18" edge of each side piece set aside in Step 1. Pin felt until glue dries completely. Note: To set up theater on tabletop, open sides out at slight angle; to store, fold sides to back.
- Glue felt stars to theater front as shown. Use scallop scissors to cut 1" x 15" strip from yellow felt; glue behind straight bottom edge of arch so 1/2" is visible in opening.
- For curtain, cut two 18" x 21" pieces from trigger cloth. Fold top and bottom 18" edges 1/2" to wrong side and press flat. Fold edges another 1" to wrong side and press well. Sew or glue hems to secure. If desired, glue gold trim to one front edge of each curtain. Sew seven rings evenly spaced to top of each curtain.
- Trim remaining dowel to 19" long. Thread curtain rings onto dowel, with gold trim edges to center. Balance dowel ends on top of theater sides and gently press into foam to create shallow grooves so dowel will not roll as curtain is opened and closed.
®™ Trademark of The Dow Chemical Company ("Dow") or an affiliated company of Dow. For more project ideas, please see styrofoamstyle.com.
For more fun kids' craft ideas, check out our free "22 Summer Crafts for Kids" eBook.
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