Cardboard Red Barn DIY Puppet Theatre

by Tonya Staab
Published: Updated:

This cardboard red barn DIY puppet theatre will provide hours of fun for the kids to put on puppet shows for their family and friends.

Disclosure: As a project leader for Elmer’s “Can You Top This” Challenge for Collective Bias, I am being compensated.

cardboard red barn diy puppet theater with wood farm animals on popsicle sticks.
A cardboard red barn DIY puppet theatre with wood farm animal puppets.

DIY red barn puppet theatre

The kids absolutely LOVE their new puppet theatre and have put on countless shows for us already.  


  • Tri-fold cardboard display board
  • Acrylic paint – red, brown, black, and white
  • Box cutter
  • Straw or raffia
  • Wood animals – pre-painted preferred
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Glue

How to make a puppet theater

Using the box cutter, cut a section out of the tri-fold board to create the window for the puppets.

Glue pieces of raffia (or straw) onto the sides of the window to create curtains. 

The puppets were pre-cut and painted wood animals purchased at Michael’s craft store so I just glued popsicle sticks to the back of them

Paint the tri-fold board to resemble a red barn. Once the paint has dried, add a few of the painted wood critters to the outside of the barn.

Now you are ready to put on an epic barnyard puppet show.

Tri-fold board ideas

Are you looking for crafts and ideas using Elmer’s tri-fold boards? Check out these that we have made, and we have another list of ideas below that too:

Even more tri-fold board ideas

  • A science fair project
  • A book report for school
  • A backdrop for a nativity scene for a Holiday
  • A chore chart for your children
  • A holiday calendar
  • A bean bag toss game
  • A display board for your kid’s artwork

You can purchase Elmer’s tri-fold display boards at Walmart. Break them down, glue things to them, cut them, or paint them to create anything you like. There are two versions available, a cardboard tri-fold board, or a foam one.

Have you made a DIY puppet theatre? Did it have a particular theme like ours did?

Please pin this post for later:

red barn diy puppet theatre pinterest

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Jane November 13, 2010 - 3:50 am

Ha ha! I ACCEPT your challenge! (You knew it was good timing, right?) 🙂

Tonya Staab November 13, 2010 - 9:11 am

Ha ha ha.  You know when you asked me how to make it, it really didn't even register, but then when I was typing the blog post yesterday, I was like hang on a minute ….  Cannot wait to see how it turns out.

Conny November 21, 2010 - 11:35 am

how fun!!! 🙂 I would have loved that as a little girl (and love it now as a “big girl”!).

Here’s my entry:

Becca -Our Crazy Boys November 22, 2010 - 1:12 pm

I like that you did a linky!! Fun way to enter 🙂

Thanks for hosting!

Susieqtpies November 24, 2010 - 5:09 am

How awesome! I had just made something using the boards! I’m addicted to these vinyl wall decals. Do we submit our same project on the other blogs or just one unique project per blog?

I tweeted @Susieqtpies


Tonya Staab November 24, 2010 - 11:41 am

By submitting your projects on the other 5 blogs, you are giving yourself more chances to win, however, you can only win on 1 blog – I hope that makes sense :).  Good luck.  I absolutely LOVED your project.

Janel C November 24, 2010 - 10:15 am

Okay I entered in the linky.. but thought you might need my email? Anyways… I posted on FB (Janel C.) and tagged you on it, but you can also find my project here:¬e_id=10150097695642667

I used a bi-fold foam board, as that was the size/shape that worked for the project I had in mind, hope that was okay!

janel_marie at yahoo dot com

Nicole November 29, 2010 - 12:50 pm

Finally finished & the boys LOVE it! Hopefully it helps with all of their questions…

Megen Parsons November 29, 2010 - 7:31 pm Reply
Tonya Staab November 29, 2010 - 7:53 pm

Hi Megen,

Thank you so much for your entry, unfortunately though I am unable to access it.  Have you made the note public?

Courtney Mora-Ludwig November 29, 2010 - 11:39 pm

Hi there – I came over from Super Saving Sense with Sara

So here is my facebook note with my project on it. I made a fireplace for The Grinch and his dog, Max. It serves as a barrier for my twins versus the cords under the TV stand. It could also work as a “fireplace” for those kids worried about Santa delivering presents.

Happy Holidays everyone ! Thanks for a chance to win a gift card !!¬e_id=10150093741705763

Bev November 30, 2010 - 7:49 am

Here is mine, thanks for the opportunity¬e_id=164501790253830

Christy November 30, 2010 - 3:40 pm

Here’s mine! I made a homework station.

Tonya Staab November 30, 2010 - 7:51 pm

Megen, I still cannot access your entry for some reason. I have even tried manually viewing it by going to your profile to see if there is a note showing on the sidebar, but there isn’t.

Megen Parsons November 30, 2010 - 7:30 pm

Yes I made it public, can you see it now?
Sorry about that

Erica December 1, 2010 - 8:28 am

, I posted my project on my website. I hope I did the hashtag right!
And just in case I didn’t do it right, I put it on FB also!¬e_id=470979812977

Melissa December 1, 2010 - 7:34 am

I entered up top…do I have to link it here as well? I guess I will just to be sure. I had a blast doing this!¬e_id=179945685350232

Heather December 1, 2010 - 6:47 pm

Okay, we’re in! I made it in time. Whew!

William A. December 1, 2010 - 10:38 pm

I can’t figure out how to use a linky thing.

I am trying to enter my project for the can you top this contest.
here is my post

postcard printing April 21, 2012 - 9:01 pm

What a amazing and colorful and handmade Puppet,Its really great and so nice,You have done great work,I love this,If you have more ideas kindly update us.


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