Cardboard Box Theater for Pretend Play

This homemade theater is a no-glue, no-sew project that only takes minutes to make. Enjoy family time with creative play inspired by a cardboard box theater.

Homemade puppet theater for kids pretend play

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Making a cardboard box theater is a fun hands-on activity for the whole family. Kids will love helping with the construction of the theater, and performing songs and stories with favorite puppet characters.

This tutorial is written for a box that is free standing, and wide enough for a window to be cut out of the front. You can adapt the simple instructions to other box sizes.

We use a tall, narrow box measuring 32 inches (81 cm) high x 9 inches (23 cm) wide x 7 inches (18 cm) deep.


How to make a cardboard box theater

Inside view of the box used to make the puppet theater


1. Cut out a window
  • Cut a window into the front of the box as shown, allowing the flaps to be opened and closed.

This is a view of the inside of the box with the box lying on its side.

The distance of the window from the bottom of the theater will depend on choosing a comfortable height for your child. Your child can stand or kneel behind the curtain to put on puppet shows.


Related: Puppet theater made from foam packaging


Fold fabric then secure with masking tape to make a casing


2. Make a curtain for the theater
  • Cut 2 pieces of cotton fabric, each measuring approximately the width of the window and slightly longer than the window. Trim the sides of each curtain piece with pinking shears to prevent fraying.
  • Lay a fabric piece flat on the floor. Fold over the top edge approximately 2-3 inches (5-8 cm). Tape the edge to the curtain with masking tape to make the casing. Repeat with the other piece of fabric.

3. Make a curtain rod
  • Cut a narrow rectangular strip from sturdy cardboard to a length that fits snugly inside the box above the window. 


Push the cardboard through the fabric casing to make theater curtain


  • Slip the cardboard strip through the casing of each curtain piece.


Tuck the curtain into the open back of the cardboard box theater


  • Place the curtain inside the theater. The cardboard rod will hold the curtain in place but you can add some tape to secure.

4. Decorate the theater
  • Color the front and sides with crayons or markers, or even paint.
  • You might like to make a cardboard sign to hang on the front of the theater to advertise an upcoming show.


Cardboard box theater easy to make for kids puppet shows


Puppet theater to make for story time with preschoolers


 Have fun creating songs, plays or stories for your favorite puppets to perform.


Puppets and Theaters on Pinterest


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