It started with a sketch, and turned into a rainbow of colors. Read on to learn how we made our puppet backdrop for $7.99!
I love brainstorming ideas with others as I find it always opens the door to creative opportunities. I shared my sketch with a few friends at work, hoping they would help me think about what materials I could use to make the backdrop.
Poles or tubes for the sides and wire to connect them? Two big sticks on a stand? The answer presented itself when my friend offered to donate her photo booth stand that she had used for her wedding. It was exactly what I was looking for. The height and width are adjustable, it is easy to set up, and it’s sturdy! Thank you, Shannon!
After measuring the stand, I took a trip to our local thrift store to find material to cover the frame. There were racks of fabric pieces, curtain panels, tablecloths, and bedding. I knew I would find something here. First, I picked out a collection of fabric that were different colors and textures, but then a colorful comforter jumped out at me. It was perfect and for only $7.99; I was sold.
Originally, I wanted to create a space children could walk under, as to “enter” the Solutionary Street, but after finding the comforter, I revised my plans. There is always the opportunity to have different backdrops in the future. What I have learned is simplicity is key when starting out. It’s important not to over complicate.
After a good wash, I hung the comforter up to make sure it fit on the stand. I used extra string I had left over from our Christmas tree to make a clothesline.
The photo stand came with clamps. I could use these to pull back the comforter and hold the string nice and taut. I found old Ikea Dignitet clips in the closet and hooked them onto the string.
Next, I started making the decorations. It was important that these pieces felt “crafted”, playful, and whimsical. Using materials I found lying around the house, I made stars, clouds, and a sun. I used foil, cardboard, craft foam, and cotton balls. Since I had lots of yarn leftover, I used that to hang the pieces to the clips.
I wasn’t sure how I would make the Solutionary sign. Should I print out something out from the computer? Paint pieces of cardboard? Use wood? I decided to cut off the side flaps of a box and leave the edges rough so it had that consistent childlike look. I used craft foam to cut out the letters. I made two signs. One that says, “The Solutionary School,” and the other that says, “Solutionary Street.” This will give me the flexibility to use the backdrop for both the puppet workshops and for vendor fairs.
And here it is! The clips can come on and off and I can easily change out the sign and decorations. After a good trip under the iron, the backdrop will be ready.
I’m happy with how it turned out. It ticked all the boxes of what I wanted. It’s quick to set up, it’s movable, it can be easily transported, and it’s fun! Because I could source most of my materials by looking around the house, it only cost me $7.99!
During this process, I learned that I really love building. I remember when I was little my dad would tell me how when he graduated high school he almost moved to California. He wanted to build sets for movies. Maybe I have a little of that in me too.