February 2, 2012

Celebrate the Lorax: A Cereal Box Puppet Theater

Dr. Seuss' book The Lorax made a huge impression on me as a youngster.  With its message of eco-consciousness, it really inspired me to become a young environmentalist, recycling and repurposing my way through elementary school.

When crafting with my own sons, I try to raid our recycling bin for projects.  Today I'll be showing you how to create a puppet theater and puppet using recycled and repurposed materials.

Cereal Box Lorax Puppet Theater

Materials for Theater
Cereal box or other box | Decorative or recycled paper | Glue stick or non-wrinkling paper adhesive | scissors and/or craft knife | Pencil | Ruler| Dowel Rod or stick | Scrap material | Stapler

Materials for Puppet
Scrap fabric (preferably fleece, felt or thick fabric) | Tacky glue | Marker | Scissors | Popsicle stick
Directions for making the theater:
Cut the back of the cereal box in half
then cut along the bottom and top edges so that the back panels open like below:
Leave the bottom of the box in place
but cut off the tops of the side flaps, leaving the one at the top of the middle panel in place.
This will get turned into a decorative edge like this:
 To make the decorate edge, take a piece of the cardboard scrap and draw a few bumps
Then cut it out and trace it onto the top of the box.  You'll need to trace it twice, once on each side.
Then cut that out, leaving a decorative edge. 

Next you need to cut a window for the theater.  I traced a box I had on my bookshelf, but a book or other rectangular object would do just fine.
Cut it out carefully with a craft knife and a straight edge (aka, ruler).
Ta da! You have the basic bones of your theater.
Time to decorate it.  I chose some polka dot scrapbooking paper, 12"x12".  Recycled wrapping paper or other paper would be equally nice, plus more appropriate given the nature of the project and the sentiment of The Lorax.

I used two sheets of the paper, one of which was cut in half to cover the side panels.
This step involved folding, gluing, and lining up the paper to cover all of the cereal box.  Don't be afraid to use lots of glue stick--you don't want the paper peeling off mid-puppet show.
I started with the side panels, then did the front so that I could overlap the paper onto the side pieces.
Once the box was covered and smoothed out, I cut an "X" in the window on the back with the craft knife
and folded the edges in, gluing them down.
You'll also want to finish all the edges, either by trimming them with scissors or folding and gluing them down
Now onto the curtain.  I had some leftover fabric from another project that I cut into a square a few inches larger than the window.
Using scissors or pinking shears, cut the fabric in half to make 2 curtain panels.  I then trimmed around the edges with pinking shears to delay fraying.
Rather than sewing the curtains, I simply stapled them to make a pocket for the dowel rod to fit.
To hang the curtain, poke holes in each side of the box, slightly above the window
then push the dowel through the hole.
And there you go! 
I added a few doodles at the top of the theater for interest, and also some Truffula Trees on the sides using rolled up newspaper and some colored wool (you could substitute paper or cotton).
 
 I just stapled the wool onto the newspaper trunk, and stapled the tree to the theater.
 
Directions for making The Lorax puppet:
I used some scrap orange fleece I had on hand and cut a template out of cardboard to make a Lorax figure
Then I cut out the figure from the fabric
I made sure to have a front and back panel for the puppet, as well as Tacky Glue to glue it together.
First glue the stick to the cardboard
Then glue on the fabric.
 
Next, I needed to make a yellow mustache for The Lorax.  With scrap felt, I cut out a mustache. 
 and added a bit of fringe.
 I also cut out some eyes from white felt
 and a brown nose and pupils from more scrap felt (scrap stashes are great!).
Then I glued the facial features on with tacky glue.
 I also added some eyelids from the orange fleece, so The Lorax didn't look so surprised.
And in typical "a-ha" fashion, I realized the puppet needed arms.  I cut out some out of orange fleece, then stuck them underneath the body fabric.
 
He also needed to be trimmed a little around the arms, so I just cut off those original arm bumps with scissors.
Now The Lorax is ready to perform in his funky new theater.  Maybe his first act will be a song and dance?

I'm thinking of making some more of Dr. Seuss characters to interact with The Lorax.
 
Enjoy! 

7 comments:

  1. The theater is so cute! I love that it's from a cereal box!!! I think my girls & I would TOTALLY enjoy making this project. Thanks!

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  2. This is darling. :D Sadly, I like puppets way more than Kidoodle. Still, at least *I* would have tons of fun with something like this.

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  3. This is great! We just made some popsicle stick puppets the other day and were looking for a "stage." This is the perfect solution!

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  4. OMG, this is SO adorable!! I'm going to show this to my girls, they would LOVE it!:) We have a bit more elaborate puppet set up at our house at the moment, but they love making things like this!

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  5. What a great idea! I'll have to add it to my list :)

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  6. What a wonderful idea. My kids will love doing this, especially after seeing the movie. Great spring break project I think.

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