While visiting with the grand niece and nephew (ages 6 and 4) recently, and listening to them weave their fantastic stories with dolls and toy cars, I recalled the hours our own kids spent making up elaborate, and seemingly endless, sagas. One of their favorite places to weave their tales was a doorway puppet theater we'd made for them. I even found photos! (Sorry, kids)
I had seen this big elaborate kids theater thing somewhere, at the time, snorted and thought, "I can do that for a fraction of the cost." And I did - two little tension rods and a couple of cheap curtains later, we had a doorway theater that the kids played with for several years.I thought the grands might get a kick out of having one, too - and I bet the little kids in your life might enjoy one as well!
This time around, I went to look to see if there were any other versions of doorway theaters on Instructables first, and found one from a couple of years ago, appropriately titled, Doorway Puppet Theater, and it's truly a thing of meticulous beauty! If you're an avid sewer, that's a great version. The kid enhancement ideas at the end of this 'ible were inspired by hellovillian's version.
In the end, though, I'm always more of a quick and easy kind of maker, keeping in mind, as well, that kids will play with an old box and sheets draped over chairs for hours so I doubted my rough and tumble little grands would mind unhemmed edges, and would probably have a fine time adorning their doorway theater in their own unique ways.
Step 1: Materials
- A doorway
- 2- 28"-48" tension rods
- 1 or 2 drapery panels , depending on preference and availability
I hit Goodwill for the curtain,and scored a nice, appropriately theatrical burgundy colored 6 ft. long drapery panel for $4.27. The drapery panel was one of those designed for French doors or something similar, with rod pockets (sleeves) at both the top and the bottom, making it perfect for my needs for the doorway theater, and making a 2nd curtain unnecessary in my case.
You can also just buy two curtains - a short cafe curtain and a larger standard window curtain.
I didn't have any luck finding curtain rods at Goodwill, but I was able to pick up two little tension rods for $4 each at Target.
So the whole doorway theater cost $15 - and as you'll see, takes only a few minutes to make.
Step 2: Adjust Rods
Adjust your rods to fit snugly in the doorway, and test fit your curtain. You can raise or lower your theater depending on the age of the children for which you're creating it. In this case, I settled on a top height of 5 ft.
Step 3: Create Top Panel
If you've bought a couple of curtains, obviously, just assemble your top panel. If you're creating your theater from one panel, as shown here, measure down 2 ft. from the rod pocket and cut your top panel there.
Step 4: Assemble Theater
Really - that's it! Insert the rods into both rod pockets, set your top panel about 18" above the bottom one, so you've got a little overlap, and you're done!
The top panel can rest in front of the bottom one or behind it - up to the kids. You can hem the bottom, or just bunch it at the bottom.
Step 5: Optional: Split Top Panel
You can also split the top panel, if you'd like, for curtains that can be parted.
Step 6: Roll and Store
You can roll both sections up to store your theater in a standard toy box, on a shelf or in a drawer.
For added fun, invite the kids to customize their theater with appliques, fabric paints, or sashes.
Then sit back and enjoy the show, DIY start to finish!