Storing hand puppets in a box or bin can result in tangles, and flattened and wrinkled puppets. A puppet display stand will keep them neat, on display, and ready for their next appearance. With a few basic hand tools, some craft-store supplies, paint or varnish and about two hours of your time, you can make an attractive, customized puppet stand to store your whole hand-puppet collection.
How to Make a Puppet Display Stand
Measure each puppet to be displayed on the stand: Measure from the "neck" (where the head is attached to the body) straight down the skirt of the puppet to the bottom of the hem. If you wish the puppets to be displayed with their heads at the same height, then use the longest length to determine the height of all the puppet mounts. If you'd like the puppets to be displayed at their varying heights, use each measurement to customize each puppet mount. Subtract 2 inches from the measurement number or numbers, and cut your dowels to that length (or those lengths, if you're customizing a mount for each puppet). You can display up to five puppets on this stand.
Cut the 2-by-6-inch wood to a length of 18 inches to create a board measuring 2 inches by 6 inches by 18 inches. This will serve as the base of the stand. However, if the hand puppets to be displayed are unusually long (more than 10 inches long from neck to hem) or unusually heavy (if, for instance, they have wooden or papier-mache heads rather than a stuffed cloth head, have an unusually heavy wig, or are made of a heavy fabric, such as fur), you should cut an additional, exact duplicate piece of lumber to the one above, and glue it underneath the first one, resulting in a heavier, more stable 4-by-6-by-18-inch base. If you're making the sturdier base, allow the glue to dry thoroughly before advancing to the next step.
Sand the base until smooth. You can stain and varnish the base, paint it as desired or leave it unfinished.
Apply wood glue to one end of a cut piece of wooden dowel. Insert the end into a wooden bead or the center of an empty thread spool. It should be a very snug fit. Allow the glue to dry.
With a tape measure, locate the exact center of the base (9 inches in from the end, 3 inches in from the side). Lightly mark this spot with a pencil. Mark the center of each end (3 inches from the side). Using a ruler or yard stick, lightly draw a straight line the length of the board, intersecting all three previous marks (you'll have a line down the center, lengthwise, of the base.) At intervals of 3-1/2 inches from the center mark, mark two additional spots on the center line on each half of the base, resulting in marks for five drill-holes, evenly spaced across the base.
Using a power drill, drill a hole 1 inch deep in the base at each marked spot.
Apply glue to the end of each dowel opposite of the bead or spool. Insert the glued ends into the base, tapping lightly with a hammer to ensure they are inserted all the way to the bottom of the drilled hole. Allow the glue to dry.