How to create a toilet roll stick puppet theatre with cardboard
Curtain up at the Cardboard Hippodrome: a cardboard box makes for a good toilet roll puppet theatre set. Image by Titosart (via Shutterstock).
About ten minutes walk from our base, we have the Romiley Forum theatre on our doorstep. Opening in the early 1970s as part of a town centre redevelopment scheme, it is managed by NK Theatre Arts. From musicals to musical tribute acts, it has a small but perfectly formed auditorium. Apart from DVDs and Bluray discs, there is no better way of bringing the theatre to your home than making your own. Enter stage left, a cast of used toilet roll, and a cardboard box.
Act One: Building Your Theatre
The Victoria and Albert Museum has a brilliant fact sheet on making your own cardboard theatre, though we stress that toilet roll puppets may be too big. Instead, you could use cardboard to make 2D characters. Alternatively, you could cheat and buy your own theatre set (Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop is one source).
For a puppet theatre, you could use a cereal box. Better still, if you have made a big electrical purchase, you can use the cardboard box. A washing machine or vacuum cleaner box could suffice. Courtesy of YouTube, these clips should inspire you.
Make A Cardboard Puppet Theatre
How To Create A Puppet Theatre Using A Shoebox
Act Two: Your Toilet Roll Cast
A used toilet roll insert can be used for your cast. The limitations of this are down to your imagination, whether you wish to stage Cats in miniature, or a Punch and Judy show. Basically, you need a collection of used toilet roll inserts and a set of lolly sticks or tongue depressors.
If you have confidence in your drawing skills, you could get the pens, pencils, and felt tips ready. Or you could download an image of your desired character, print it, then stick it on your bog roll. If you are stuck for ideas, the excellent DLTK’s Crafts for Kids site should inspire you. There is one page dedicated to toilet roll based puppetry that we heartily recommend. Plus there’s templates, which save you from drawing your characters.