How to Make a Theater Out of a Shoebox


Shoebox theaters are a timeless craft that your parents and grandparents probably enjoyed. Create your own miniature landscape for carrying out hours of endless make-believe play with this simple, budget-friendly craft. Perfect for a rainy day activity, these tiny theaters provide children with magical lands where they can develop their own characters and get lost in the wonderful world of make-believe. Use materials you already have around the home to begin exploring the fun of shoebox theaters.

Things You'll Need

  • Shoebox
  • Scissors
  • Construction paper
  • Markers or paints
  • Glue
  • Cut a hole in the lid of the shoebox to allow light to enter.

  • Cut a second hole on the front side of the box for peering into the magical theater land.

  • Cut a piece of construction paper the same height as the shoebox. Create a cyclorama by placing the construction paper inside the box so it curves around the three sides of the box, leaving the peephole open. The paper will resemble a cyclorama curtain of a real theater and will eliminate corners, making the scene appear larger than it is when viewed through the peephole.

  • Decorate the construction paper cyclorama with paints and markers. The cyclorama will be the background of your shoebox theater setting. Some suggestions for decoration include clouds, rolling hills or a city scene.

  • Draw additional features for your shoebox theater scene on construction paper such as trees, buildings and people. Draw an extra 1/4-inch tab on the bottom of each feature similar to the tabs on paper doll clothing. Cut out the features and their tabs. Do not cut the tabs off the features.

  • Cut a small slit in the middle of the 1/4-inch tab of your paper shoebox theater scene features. Fold one side of the slit tab forward and the second backward creating a base for the construction paper features. Dab a small amount of glue on the underside of both sides of the tab base. Glue the construction paper features in place inside the shoebox theater.

  • Peer in through the peep hole of the shoebox theater, and enjoy the magical world you have created inside.

Tips & Warnings

  • To create a more active shoebox theater, remove the lid completely and drape small paper figures attached to fishing line into the box as you peer through the peep hole. Figures can be tied to your fingers and moved around like marionettes within the shoebox theater.
  • For a night scene, punch small Christmas lights through the top lid of the shoebox illuminating the scene with "stars."

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  • Photo Credit IT Stock Free/Polka Dot/Getty Images
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