Entertaining kids is one thing. Entertaining kids in a way which excites their imagination and promotes their creativity is another.
That's why, when my brother asked me to make a Doorway Puppet Theater for our nieces, I was more than happy to lend my sewing skills towards a great gift for the little girls in my life.
Unlike a traditional, bulky puppet theater, a Doorway Puppet Theater hangs on an adjustable tension rod. This allows for it to be moved to fit any doorway, and then rolled up for easy storage.
This tutorial will teach you how to make a pretty Doorway Puppet Theater for both you and your little ones to enjoy.
Step 1: Materials Needed
Heavy Cotton fabric
30" long Wooden Dowel (1/2 inch diameter)
Adjustable Tension Rod (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005VGMJF2/ref=cm_sw_su_dp)
The fabric chart shows the measurements for the cotton and nylon fabric you will be needing. I strongly recommend raiding the remnants section at your fabric store, and buying around a yard of each of the fabrics (except for the red, which was around 1/3 of a yard).
Step 2: Marking Your Seam Allowances
Flip your fabric over so the wrong side is up.
Mark lines at .375" and at .75" and at 1.125" on the width ends of all your cotton fabrics.
Step 3: Folding and Ironing Your Edges
Now that your seam allowances are marked, fold your fabric in twice, using your lines as guides.
Then take your fabric to the ironing board to press the newly folded fabric.
Do this for all your cotton fabric.
Step 4: Sewing the Sides of Your Fabric
Take all 5 cotton fabric pieces to your sewing machine and secure each of the sides of the fabric.
Step 5: Working With the Nylon Fabric
Nylon is much more slippery than cotton, and instead of ironing the seam allowances, I just pinned it accordingly.
Take all 5 pieces of nylon, and sew and secure all 4 edges of the fabric. You should now have 5 pieces of nylon with no raw edges exposed.
The Valence piece should be folded in half like a hot dog bun and sewn along the top (Image 5).
The 2 curtain pieces should be folded over at the top, pinned, and sewn so that the curtain rod has a place to slide (Image 6). Make sure that once the top is folded, it is the same length as your side panel pieces.
Step 6: Creating the Tabs That Hold the Curtain Rod
Using whatever leftover fabric you have, cut out two 3" x 3" squares.
mark your seam allowance guides,
and sew it secure.
Step 7: Attach Valence to Tan Fabric
The valence is 10" longer than the tan fabric so that there will be some nice pleating.
Lay the valence's sewn edge on the wrong side of the tan fabric with 5" hanging off either side.
Next, pin the corners of the valence onto the corners of the tan fabric.
Proceed to make small folds for the pleated effect. (My pleats were simply eyeballed)
Now, sew to secure, as shown in Image 5.
Step 8: Sew the Valence to the Tan Fabric
Now that the valence is attached, fold the nylon fabric over the raw edge of the tan fabric to hide the edge, and pin.
Take to sewing machine, and sew.
Step 9: Attaching the Red Panels to the Tan Fabric
Layer the nylon side panels and the small tabs made earlier on top of the red fabric, as shown in Images 1 and 2.
Sandwich and pin these layers in-between the tan fabric, as shown in Image 3.
Sew along the entire bottom-edge of the tan fabric to secure, as shown in Image 4.
Once sewn, the tan fabric should now be a tube for the tension rod to hang on.
Step 10: Attaching the Remaining Fabric
Take the printed fabric and pin it to the bottoms of the red fabric. Sew.
Take the black fabric and pin it to the bottom of the printed fabric. Sew.
Step 11: Hang It Up
Once you have put your curtains on the wooden dowel, and put the wooden dowel in the tabs on the puppet theater, you are ready to use your tension rod to hang it up in the door way.
Step 12: Enjoy!
Grab some puppets and have fun!
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