Puppet Time!

Julie's First Puppet Show

So I have this niece, Julie, who’s 3 years old and super cute, and who loves puppets. The first time I picked up one of her bears (or was it a dolphin or something?) and had it say “Hi Julie!” she said Hi right back and went on talking to him. She wasn’t excited, or surprised or anything – it was just that Mr. Bear-Dolphin had some stuff to say to her and she had plenty to say back. It’s been sort of a running theme for a while now, so this Christmas Hilary and I decided to make her a puppet theater. We designed the thing in Adobe Illustrator, modeled it all in 3D Studio Max to help visualize everything, cut all the pieces out on the CNC Router, sanded, painted and glued it all up, then finished it off with red curtains. I can tell she loved it because, just like the first time Mr. Dolphin said hello, she just sat right down and got to it. There was no question of what a puppet theater was, or how to play with it or anything. She walked right up to her new stage and got ready for a show – and five minutes later she was putting on a puppet show herself! The theater is essentially a flatpack kit, cut from a single sheet of 1/4″ birch plywood. It could easily be made of MDF or even cardboard, and the design should scale up or down pretty well (within reason). For what it’s worth, I plan to release the design into the Public Domain, but my files aren’t very clean at the moment. Should anyone be interested in building a puppet theater from my plans, drop me a line and I’ll clean up the files and post ’em here. Let me know what format(s) would be the most helpful – I’ve sort of cobbled together my own workflow, and I have no idea whether or not my files would work for a stranger. Enjoy the photos below. I wish I’d taken better shots, but when a 3 year old gets involved the night tends to veer off track pretty quickly.