Rubbermaid Bin Puppet Stage

A simple portable puppet stage constructed using a Rubbermaid tub.

I work for Child Evangelism Fellowship. We teach weekly Good News Clubs® for kids in homes, apartments, public schools, and many other places. In the summer, we teach 5-Day Clubs® which are like a mini VBS, where a family can invite neighborhood kids over for a Bible story, memory verse, games, songs, and an exciting five part missions story. I enjoy using puppets and illusions at the clubs I teach and I needed a small puppet stage for one or two puppets. It needed to be set up and taken down quickly because at the after school Good News Clubs, we don’t get much time to set-up between the end of school and when the kids arrive. In the summer we sometimes teach three to four 5-Day Clubs each week. So here is my solution!

Rubbermaid Bin

The base of the stage is an 18 gal. Rubbermaid storage bin. This will hold the parts for the stage, a few small puppets, and all the visuals I use to teach clubs. With visuals in the bin, it is heavy enough to hold up the weight of the pipes and the curtain.

I used one 10 foot pole of ½ inch PVC pipe, four Tee joints, and two coupling joints, to create the frame for the curtain.

Tee joints secured inside the bin, near the top.

I used screws to fasten two of the Tee joints on the front inside of the bin, about 15 inches apart and 2 inches from the top. I may use glue to reinforce these later. The goal was to have the stage just over 4 feet high. Mine ended up about 4 feet 3 inches.

Illustration of the pipe puppet stage structure.

The 10 foot pole was cut into three 15 inch sections, and four 18 inch sections (with a small piece left over.) The 15 inch sections are connected using the two remaining Tee joints and become the horizontal top of the stage. The 18 inch sections are connected to the two coupling joints and are then connected to the top bar after it is strung through the curtain. If you choose to glue the parts together, be sure to only glue one side of each joint to a pipe, so that you can still get it apart!

Finished portable puppet stage.

As you can tell from the picture, I didn’t buy enough fabric for the width of the curtain. I only bought a yard and a half, I forgot about the extra length the joints and side seams would need. I would recommend building your frame, measuring, then purchasing the fabric. A friend sewed this for me and left two openings in the top hem for the vertical poles to enter through. She also used bright red thread to make an “X” where the openings were so I can find them easily.

By Matt Strawn

Stack of FCM Magazines

This article originally appeared in The Voice of FCM, vol. 56 num. 2.

Members of the Fellowship of Christian Magicians have access an online library containing over 50 years of FCM magazines filled with articles on sharing the Gospel using magic and other visual arts.