Monday, 4 June 2018

The Fairy Dust Theatre - Calico Punch and Judy Booth Kit

Hello Everyone! I hope you've been enjoying sunny weather where you are and that you've managed to fit in a visit to the seaside, or maybe you plan to soon? When I was small, my favourite part of a trip to Brighton or Hastings on the South Coast of England, was the anticipation as I watched the Punch and Judy man set up his booth on the seafront. Although I found the character of Mr Punch terrifying and I didn't enjoy seeing poor Judy beaten black and blue, I loved the bright colours of the miniature theatre and the details on the puppet's costumes. I always hoped that perhaps, this time, the puppets would have a happier tale to tell!

Once I was home with my collection of sea-shells and the salty sea smell still in my nostrils, I would create my own little theatres from cardboard boxes and make puppets from paper and card. Seeing the Calico Punch and Judy Booth kit took me back to those days, so I decided to let my imagination run free with one of the small, plain kits!

I wanted to transform the Booth into a Mixed-media theatre of magic and dreams. Red and Gold are not colours that I often work with, but they seemed suitably theatrical. The decorative flourish at the top of the booth reminded me not only of Mr Punch's hat, but also of that of the Joker in a pack of cards. I used my own artwork of a face and hands to suggest the Joker/Puppeteer bending over with the marionette's strings at the ready as we wait for the show to begin.

The MDF pieces that make up the kit don't need Gesso; but I like to give them a thin coat before collaging with tissue and adding some rubber stamping.

A wash of translucent blue gave me a background to work upon. It suggested to me the sunshine and blue skies of a perfect childhood day and the layers of memories and stories that shape us.

You can see from this shot of the back of the kit that I used embossing paste through a stencil as my final 3D layer. Green wooden beads provide the finials on the 2 rear corners.

I used a harlequin stencil and gold embossing paste to continue the playing card/Joker theme. What fate awaits the characters who prepare for the drama to unfold? At the moment their only audience is a tiny wren, but I expect the sea-gulls are gathering over head too! The sun faces on the bunting echo the stamping on the background.

And here is the seagull's eye view as he swoops down to watch the show!

Perhaps the clowns and minstrels who sing and dance to attract their audience are also the puppet actors in the show. Once you have taken your seat and you are settled with the wren and the seagulls they will vanish and re-appear in costumes that seem to have been sprinkled with fairy dust.

Will the Lion Minstrel put on the royal robes of the enchanted Beast?

Will the Sad Clown become The Happy Prince?

Will the Little Clown who thought she was no more than a funny dreamer become a Princess?

Buy your ticket and see!

Thank You so much for stopping by today. I do hope you will be inspired to create your very own puppet booth. You might want to keep to the traditional Punch and Judy. If you do, the kits come with their own Punch and Judy plaque. This can also be reversed for your own signage if you wish. You might want to create tiny puppets to appear on the miniature stage or try out the larger size booth. Whatever you create and wherever your summer travels take you, have a wonderful week.
Calico Craft Parts Used
Punch and Judy Booth Kit (small, plain)
Sheet of Wooden MDF Garden Birds


  1. Julie, this playful piece has so many wonderful elements. The puppeteer is so awesome! I love the colors and the stenciling. What a treat to see how you’ve brought this to life!

    1. Thank you so much, Ann. I had so much fun creating it. :)

  2. This is the fascinating booth Julie. I love the mysterious things of the festival and now I am expecting something to start with this little theater. I love it!! xx

    1. Thank you Etsuko. I almost feel that a little show is about to unfold before my eyes, myself! I will have to create some tiny puppets now! :)

  3. So enchanting Julie , so filled with fantasy and your gorgeous painted faces,- and figures- I love the embossing you made ,really making this to a sun filled happy place, to sit down and let someone else unfold the story !!I so understand it was a fun place to be, while creating. Xx

    1. Thank you so much, Dorthe. I did have a lot of fun creating this. I will have to think about making some little puppets now!

  4. Magnificent! I am blown away by this piece Julie Ann!! Your characters are perfect for this little theater and the theater is a totally awesome make! Well done Calico!
    huge hugs,Jackie

  5. Thank you so much, Jackie. I'm so glad you like the little theatre, it's lots of fun to assemble and decorate. :)