DIY Puppet Theater with Smart-Fab

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Sometimes the best jumping-off point for an art project is having a material that you don’t know what to do with. No project in mind; no end result in mind, just a pile of something looking at you, challenging you to make something with it.

I like this approach for kids, since they are forced to use their imaginations and play around with a material, without being given specific directions. It’s a good balance to the set art projects, even though both approaches are great.

I was sent a box full of rolls of something called SMART-FAB. This stuff is a non-woven fabric that can be cut, glued, painted on, sewn, and stapled. I’ve seen it around in schools, community centers, conferences- because it’s cheap, super easy to use and holds up well; it’s like some weird hybrid of fabric and paper.

I got some great ideas for using it by watching their video, which is full of all sorts of ways to use it:

 

For people like me, who are sewing-challenged, it’s nice to know you can just grab your stapler and play around with pleating, poufing, wrapping, anything goes with Smart-Fab.

I had something in mind.

I started with a big old white foam core trifold display board, from Target, and cut out a window. I used the paper insert that came with the board as the template for the window, and traced around it with pencil.

I cut out the window with a craft knife, grabbed some scissors and a stapler, and went at it. Red became curtains, blue and green pieces were poufed and stapled onto the sides to represent grass and sky, and we ended up with….

DIY puppet theater • Artchoo.com

….a DIY puppet theater!

 

DIY puppets in DIY theater • Artchoo.com

I might have gone slightly overboard on the gathering, pleating and poufing, but it’s reallllly fun. Warning: some of my staples poked through slightly in the back of the board. If you make this and yours poke through, you can just cover them over with small pieces of tape.

 

DIY puppets/DIY puppet theater • Artchoo.com

Wondering what the puppets are? We used wooden cooking spoons, pillow filling, and pieces of Smart-Fab. I tried to glue the features (made from card stock) on with stick glue, to no avail. Use tacky glue for the best results.

DIY puppets • Artchoo.com

And now, for your viewing pleasure, I present a short drama in one act, starring Fen as Fred and Bob, and Beckett as Bob (?) and definitely not George:

Smart-Fab is on Facebook, and Pinterest

Here’s a link to find out where you can buy Smart-Fab.

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6 Comments

  1. 05/29/2013 / 12:14 pm

    Hi Jeanette,
    Very Cute. I cannot play the video. What you did was adorable–I will post on the Facebook page. Thanks again, Lindsey

    • 05/30/2013 / 8:59 pm

      Hi Lindsey- I fixed the video. I had it set to private; guess I need to bone up on my YouTube skills!

  2. 05/30/2013 / 2:24 pm

    Great idea! As usual, your artiness and craftiness astound me.

    Plus your kids are cute times infinity.

    • 05/30/2013 / 8:52 pm

      Oh, you are sweet. And thanks for the kid compliment- I’ll pass that on and enjoy the reactions.

  3. 05/30/2013 / 6:42 pm

    This is brilliant and much safer than the one I made a few years ago of wood that kept falling over. Great use for the non woven material too! Great improved craft to go along with great improved play! That’s three greats and a brilliant!

  4. 06/01/2013 / 6:44 am

    Adorable! I’m so glad you captured their play on film!!!

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