That's Entertainment

Or how to make shadow puppet masterpiece theater.
The snow is on it's way out the door, but it still isn't warm or dry enough to play outside. My children, as much as I love them, have been driving me batty. So I came up with a frugal idea to keep all of us occupied for awhile.
In comes shadow puppet theater.

The Theater
To make the theater you will need these items, and an iron (for freezer paper) and pencil (to draw out your theater)
Twin bed sheet, black paint, sponge applicator, Elmer's and freezer paper

First I drew my theater on some graphing paper, once I was happy with what I had, I drew it on to the flat bed sheet. This is where having a new sheet helped a bit because I could use the folded lines as a frame of reference.
Once I had the image drawn, I went over the pencil with glue.

Once the glue was dry (or almost dry, I jumped the gun a bit here) I ironed on the freezer paper to give me crisp lines on the sides of the theater and for the stage. I also ended up cutting out circles to go down on the bottom. 
After the glue was completely dry, I started to paint on the black. I mostly used the foam brush, but I did use an artist brush for the area that would be the theater curtain.

I followed the paint instructions and waited 72 hours to launder. I didn't actually launder, I just let the sheet soak in warm water in the washing machine and did the gentle cycle. This I might not do again, the glue came off in black strips and there was black pieces everywhere. I thought it might ruin our washing machine, but it is still working fine and I haven't seen any black glue gunk in our real laundry. Just be warned. 
I let the theater air dry. I made touch ups with the black paint and was done. 

Admittedly, I may have gone a little overboard with all the embellishments on our theater, but I really had fun doing it. In case you are wondering the bottom says "shadow theater" with shadow in white and theater in black, but it does just looks like "tshheaadtoewr". It kind of turned out to be a puzzle the kids took some time to solve. It is definitely not perfect, but I believe it has quite a bit of charm.

The Puppets  
For the puppets you will need

The dragon printout I got from Googling dragon silhouettes. I cut that out and traced it onto the cereal box cardboard.

As you can see, I took a few liberties and the dragon doesn't look exactly the same as the printout. Too much detail will get lost in the shadows. I cut out as much as a could with my scissors and then used my paper cutter for the rest. That is the orange thing in the what you will need photo. I love this tool, it fits on your finger and makes cutting things that scissors can't reach much easier.

Once it is cut out attach the wooden skewer with tape and voila, shadow puppet.

The shadow theater is hanging in the doorway with a tension rod and the kids are using their dad's maglite for a light source. I am Googling more silhouette ideas too, I just found some good Doctor Who ones. This project was fun and cheap, notice I didn't say easy. It isn't extraordinarily difficult, it just took some time.

Cost analysis $8.00
$5 for the bed sheet and $3 for the black paint. I wanted to get pillow cases, but the one flat twin sheet was cheaper than the pillowcase set. Everything else we already had at home.
The kids are having a blast. At first I thought my kids might be a little old for this (seven and nine), but they were on board right away. They have played with is for hours too, so it has served it's purpose.

Happy St. Patrick's Day