In this Instructable tutorial I will be reusing old Beanie babies and making them into puppets. You can't have puppets without an awesome puppet theater,so I will also show you how to take an old TV cart and make those Beanie puppets stars! A Beanie puppet theater out of odds and ends from around my house and it's simple,moveable, and has storage. This is an easy project depending on how elaborate you get with your theater. Let's gather the materials and get started!
Step 1: Gather Your Materials
- Beanie babies
- TV cart
- 2 screws
- 2 3/4 pvc couplers
- 2 12" long 3/4 pvc pipe
- 1 cardboard fabric tube
- Duct tape
- various scrap vinyl or canvas fabric
- hot glue or Tacky glue
- 1 metal curtain rod
Step 2: Beanie Babies to Puppets
This is a good way to reuse those old Beanie babies from the days of collecting them and swearing they'd pay for our retirement. I have 3 totes full of the darn things and even though they are cute, I'm pretty sure they aren't going to make me a millionaire. I have came up with a way to reuse them and make playtime interactive. My kids helped and had a ball making them into puppets.... let's begin. Grab your Beanie of choice. I showed 2 styles of Beanies (laying bull and sitting Bear) Basically the same but I have shown the steps in pics with both. Grab your beanie and pinch area across belly ( or bottom for sitting style) cut across area you just pinched. A child's hand should fit in opening. Have your box handy for the inside plastic balls will spill everywhere. Empty all round plastic ball's into the box. The head is stuffed with fluffy stuffing .... leave most all of it except a couple pinches so a little finger can fit in but the head stays formed. The rest of the body is deflated and limp. The front legs or arms are for fingers but the back legs or legs can be filled with the little bit of stuffing you removed from the head. This keeps it from looking limp. Now your child has a beanie puppet. If you never collected Beanies you can find them at yard sales or thrift stores for nothing.... I saw the goodwill charges like 50 cents and I've seen them go in lots on EBay super cheap. My girls love them..... Now to make a Beanie puppet theater
Step 3: Begin TV Cart Revamp
For the theater base I am reusing and old TV cart from when I was a teenager and has been hanging out in my attic since the Clinton era. It was already painted this way and great for this project since it is on wheels. The bottom shelf great for storing the puppets. To begin grab your 2 screws and 2 pvc couplers. screw the couplers to each side with a drill. Next you need 2 12 inch pvc pipe.... attach each pipe to a coupler. I did it this way so theater scenery can be changed. You will now need to cut 2 28 inch pieces from the cardboard fabric tube. once cut, place them over the pvc pipe to make sure they are even. We are now ready to make the theater front....
Step 4: Adding the Fabric and Detail
You can design your theater to your taste but this is how I did mine.... I had tons of leftover upholstery fabric which is heavy duty and holds up well... I took the cardboard posts off the pvc pipes. I imeasured from pvc to the other pipe and added 2 inches to both sides. .... measure the length. I then cut my fabric accordingly.i cut a hole for the opening and embellished it the way I wanted. I used quick dry tacky glue to adorn it. Now take one of the cardboard tubes and apply a layer of tacky glue to the middle and go the entire length of tube with the glue place one side of fabric down on glue about 2 inches. Let dry for a few minutes then reinforce the entire length with duct tape. Repeat above steps to other side of tube. place the tubes over the pvc pipe. To tighten the top of the theater put each end of the metal curtain rod into the tube holes. take a piece of duct tape in the top middle and fasten to the rod. You can remove the theater front scene and replace it with others if you want just follow the steps and attach your new scene to New tubes with the steps above. An option is to duct tape a black piece of fabric behind the scene and cut 2 slits so you can put your puppet through but remain unseen. I winged most of this process and designed how I liked. it turned out really cute. Experiment with your fabric and glue your embellishments as you see fit.
Step 5: Finishing Details
The TV cart I am working with had a shelf for storage underneath so to cover it I made a little curtain and stapled it on. My Beanie puppet Theater is done and ready to make my kids imaginations think up plays and shows to put on with their reused Beanies and their awesome theater. Check out my other tutorials and if you like please send a contest vote my way. Thanks for looking !