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All I have is an idea (And a love of instructables) Answered

Hello dear Instuctablists,

You can't see me, but I am down on one knee. It's intended to show my deference to you.

The reason?

Well, we just finished rebuilding the ground floor of my house and there's now a big, deep-ish rectangular space above the toilet (about 70cm x 50cm and 15 cm deep). I was looking at it the other day, and had an idea for what I would like to put there that made me laugh out loud.

The trouble is I have NO IDEA how to make it. Not only that, I can't think of any search terms that are leading me to 'how to' videos. In short all I have is an idea and no clue how to even begin making it.

So, here's my idea.

What I want to make is what appears to be a framed picture of two velvet curtains.

BUT when you flush, the curtains draw back (like at the theatre) to reveal a small scene inside. Lights come on, some music plays, little toys/characters/puppets appear and then ten seconds later, the curtains close and that's that. 

In other words and automated, electronic, toy theatre.

So what I'm asking is either

a) If you have any idea where I should start with this could you tell me where


b) If the end product sounds like something you'd like to see exist and you know how to make it, do you want to mentor me? (We could turn it into a YouTube video/series, do it over Skype or if you're in/near London, UK meet up IRL).

Maybe I'm over-reaching in the help stakes, but every time I look at that blank piece of wall, I think: try.

Any help gratefully received. Even if you can't help, thanks for reading this.


(Also, I can't work out how to turn that picture round either. Sheesh. This whole thing is a TALL order)



4 years ago

I don't have anything useful to add at this stage...

but ohmydog I love this idea so much I want to brush its flanks, feed it apples and call it George.

RufusH, welcome in our midst. I can assure you, you have found Your People.


4 years ago

From what you described I envisioned using a few motors hooked up to an Arduino. for the dancing you could use something like this:

(would make them go up and down)

as well as just simple rotation of the characters themselves.

I would imagine the curtains would be on some kind of pulley system?

Do you have access to a laser cutter? Considering all of the pieces that may be involved.

PS: I kept thinking of this


(from Shrek)


4 years ago

1. Is this reward for kids using the potty? No need to answer if this is just for yourself.

2. Look up animatronic displays like they have the stuffed animals at Chuck E Cheese pizza kids places or Stew Leonard's dairy stores. Plenty of youtube clips on them to even Disneyland/world - muppet displays.

3. It would not be too complex of a project with an arduino or raspberry pi microcontroller with a soundboard and some servos and maybe a few sensors to trigger sound clips and make the puppets move, if you knew how to use them.

4. It would be easier to go find something in the toy shop that maybe lights up, make noises and moves and then rig it up to activate the switch when you pull the handle. There are a lot of kids toys like that already built with the electronics. You could even hack a bunch of them together.

Good luck.


Reply 4 years ago

No, it wasn't for kids, but in a way - (put's on Jim Henson mask) - aren't we all just grown up children? (takes off Jim Henson mask).

I bought an arduino kit a while ago, but it's still in the box. Will start studying it. And yes - bastardising a pre-existing thing might be better. Don't know if there is anything quite like this, though!

Sincere thanks. You've at least given me a starting point. Really grateful


4 years ago

When you upload a picture, there is a "rotate" button on the uploader pop-up, so your picture arrives the right up.

If the picture is already uploaded, you can use the Pixlr editor to rotate the image in the site - go to https://www.instructables.com/upload, select the your library tab, and choose your image there. Look for the add notes/edit link.