You will love collaborating with your kids to make a cardboard box puppet theater for at-home play time. This DIY theater only takes 5 steps and uses materials you already have at home.
Puppet play is an excellent creative outlet for kids. It helps them develop literacy skills through storytelling, it boosts motor skills through puppet manipulation, gives them a chance to stretch their imagination muscles and more.
This diy cardboard puppet theater is just the inspiration your kids need to come up with their own entertaining puppet shows!
How to Make a Tabletop Puppet Theater
This puppet theater uses a small or medium sized cardboard box. Living in an apartment, we have limited space for things like puppet theaters made from giant cardboard boxes. But even if you have a larger home you may not want a theater taking up a lot of floor space. Or you may want something easily moved from room to room.
- small to medium cardboard box
- scissors or craft knife
- decorative paper napkin
- paint and brushes
- fun do-dads like sequins, stickers, crafty bobbles, glitter glue
- duct tape
1. Remove the box flaps so the box is completely open on one side. This provides access to the stage.
2. Cut a large opening on the opposite side of the box. This will be where the puppets play.
3. Cut out a lovely rooftop architectural detail from one of the box flaps. (Optional) Use duct tape to affix the roof detail to the front of the box.
4. Paint and decorate the box. We used basic washable paint and then coated it with a thin layer of glitter glue applied with a paint brush, Glitter glue is a great way to make something sparkly but without all the mess that comes with loose glitter. I also printed out an image of the comedy-tragedy masks for the roof peak, to which my son added googlie eyes!
5. Add the curtains. We cut the decorative paper napkin in half, draped the two parts over a piece of string cut a bit longer that the box was wide and then duct-taped the ends inside the box. (see photo)
The curtains aren't the fanciest in the world, but they require no sewing and anyone can make them!
DIY Puppet Ideas
Gather or make your puppets. If you already have finger puppets, great! Use those, or if your kids are not yet burnt out with crafting, make your own paper puppets using our diy puppet ideas below ...or you can tape a Hot Wheels car to a craft stick...., which is what my son did! Vroom!
- Origami finger puppets
- Printable finger and stick puppets (including seasonally-themed puppets)
- Magazine stick puppets
Post updated 2022.