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PVC Puppet Stage  (Read 35575 times)
« on: July 01, 2010, 05:05:22 pm »

I found this while I was searching around. I didn't make the tutorial but I know people who have used it and I'm planning on using it.

« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2010, 07:04:00 pm »

Nice FIND!

« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2010, 07:38:28 am »

Just my opinion, but 2" pvc is overkill. Especially if you want to move it around.
StiqPuppet Productions
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2010, 06:58:40 pm »

It is an great find and will be very useful for some......

.....just some farther thoughts......

.......Pvc is very heavy to carry around and takes up a lot of room especially as a one person show with a car.....just so people know before they spend all this money and find out it is hard to bring around or pack.

Daryl H
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« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2010, 11:17:04 pm »

Actually, there a couple of versions of how to make PVC stages out there. I've made a list of free patterns/tutorials on building sets for puppetry:


Personally, I prefer the lightweight hollow square aluminium tubes (translate to US: aluminum). Very easy to put together, with plastic joints, and can be put in the back of any car with no trouble. ... Of course, I've never used PVC before, so what do I know? Wink
« Last Edit: October 24, 2011, 05:15:55 pm by Na »
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2010, 12:21:48 am »

Just my opinion, but 2" pvc is overkill. Especially if you want to move it around.
I agree which is why I personally am going with 1 1/2" tubing

@ Darrel  I don't disagree with you, but its nice when you don't have $600 to spend on an aluminum stage (see one way street catalog)

StiqPuppet Productions
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2010, 03:57:42 am »

@ geobryan In no way am I debating that  Smiley  I am just giving people a heads up....some get excited by the idea and it ends up not being practical for them....just don't want people to spend money and not get something they can use.

Daryl H
Angel in Tx
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2010, 05:04:14 am »

We have a couple of PVC stages.  One is 1/2" and one is a 1".  You don't need the 1 1/2" really.  The 1" has held up for years already.  And I didn't know of any tutorials at the time.  We designed it ourselves!  I've added to it over time and it has grown.  PVC pipe and the fittings are very economical and can be replaced and reconfigured, to your heart's content.   It isn't as on-sight adjustable as the One Way Street Stages, but dollar per dollar, they just can't be beat. I have cut the pipes to make adjustments before, and if you need to put them back you can use couplers. 

Just make sure you label your pieces before you disassemble.  You think you won't forget where they go, but you do! LOL

We lucked out and someone gave us a huge bolt of black fabric for the curtains, but you can use black sheets from Wal-Mart, they have to be doubled though.  In light you can see through them. 
Angel in Tx
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2010, 05:05:35 am »

I forgot to say that we initially spent under $50 for our stage that will hold a dozen performers.
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2010, 01:33:24 pm »

Our first stage was that huge PVC with the wooden footings, the footings did not work that well, wobbled, and the children used the pipes as a jungle gym and it broke, we were lucky it did not hurt them. Made a new rule never leave stage set up if you cannot lock it up.  Heavy and hard to take on the road.  One Way Street has book on building stages $12  www.onewaystreet.com/product/123/staging, easy to follow directions.  Tricky joint top front corners, sides are slightly higher than the front.

One thing we learned from many years with the pvc stages is that you do not need to glue or even tape the vertical joints, gravity holds them in place, but you DO need to glue or tape the horizontal joints. We keep the end joints on the long pieces so it saves time and we number the pipes for each joint.  You don't have to have footers for even the one inch pipes, the 3-D shape of stage holds them in place if you have a pipe across the back that makes it a square. For outdoor portable stage we made half full cement buckets with handles that had slightly larger piece of PVC embedded in cement for footers, added benefit that one person can set the stage up since the buckets hold up the legs.  Our puppeteers kept growing and correct height positioning is always an issue.  We saw another stage with the slightly larger PVC pipe footer where they drilled holes thru the PVC at intervals and put a nail thru holes to make legs adjustable for height. Sorry no pictures just gave my last PVC stage away to another new team.
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2014, 11:29:51 am »

HI Guys, I am in the middle of building a stage setup for a group. I am doing it in 1/2" PVC, which is working, and that is what was requested, but I am concerned that there is a lot of sideways movement. It has to be light and small enough to taxi and carry, as transport is an issue here. However, is the consensus that 1" is a good middle ground size for tube? (for future reference)  I have  used stages made of 2" tube and I do think it is overkill, and is more work to transport on your back. I am  jointing the pipes and joints with some short internal elastics, much like a  blind man's cane, or  some tent pole setups. This  makes assembling  much easier. The  question now is diagonal bracing. I have  used adjustable chords on occasions, but they get a little  messy in rapid pack away situations, and they  can get tangled when you are in a hurry. To a degree the cloth covering can be sewn so that it  can be tightened and  give  support....but anyhow... Any suggestions?
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2014, 01:17:37 pm »

One inch is the smallest I have used and it seemed to me that there were different thicknesses of the pipe itself, some thinner were weaker.  I used the thicker 1 inch that was stiffer. Because we had a back cross bar it was very stable, but we did have to duck under it. So our stage was a complete rectangle on the top bars, we liked to have a curtain to hide our backside when we were in the park. We used two different lengths of pipe when we wanted smaller or larger stage width. Having a joint in the middle of pipe that was not supported by a leg did not work for us. The weight of the curtain pulled it down. We had 8 foot 1" pipe for front with no joint and it stayed straight Ok.  Those cement bucket footers really helped with stability and made set up faster but they were heavy, it helped that we found cheap small buckets with handles, about the size of paint can.  One time we put bags of beans in large coffee tins then inserted the poles to weigh them down and that worked. So do you have the end joint connectors on your pipes or is only the elastic holding them together with no joints?
Shawn Sorrell
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2014, 03:01:31 pm »

I think 1/2" is a little light for stage setups and you'll always get a bit of movement using 1/2". Now what you can try and we used to do this even with 1". Instead of a single rectangle we would use a T on the upright so that we could have the rectangle cut into more of a square. Seemed to help with stability. We also always would glue either the vertical or horizontals together instead of just relying on the pressure to hold them together. That seemed to help stability but it could still be broken down into lengths of pipe they would just maybe have a T in them.
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2014, 04:49:58 pm »

Thanks Snail and Shawn. Snail, Yes, here we generally have two thicknesses for each kind of pipe too. One takes more pressure than the other. I think you are right in the 1 inch pipe. If I made one for me, I would probably use 1".
   Shawn, In the case of this setup, the show is an indoors one, as it has lighting etc, and also it is a 'puppeteers visible' dressed in black thing, so the stage is shorter at the front, only 1.2m tall. I did notice that once I attached the corners and T's permanently (a short screw rather than gluing, so as to render it dismantle-able reusable/re-adjustable in the future. One I saw, they used pop rivets) to the uprights, it did stabilize things a bit (plus some anti twist stability in the panels), and the thing has 6 panels of 70cm wide (in a U shape with wings) joining them with some nifty PVC clips that I saw, I think on an Argentinian based stage, which then give you a double upright every 70cm width, so it sorta works. We will see how it works once the cloths are on, then see if I don't have to add another horizontal tube with its T's half way up the rectangular panel to give more stability, or replace the middle joints in the panel, with T's.
   Snail, the elastics... At the moment the uprights have a fixed elbow on the bottom, and a fixed T at the top of a 1m length, so that it will hopefully fit into a bag a tad over a meter, to go in the back of a taxi. The extra length for the height of the stage, and the 70cm horizontals, which are in 2 pieces are attached with internal elastics so that they pop out of the sockets to fold away (top one folds downward the bottom one upwards) and are all attached so they assemble in a flick of wrist type of thing. The bits never get separated to get confused with each other.The elastics also help hold the pipes into the sockets but a snug push in fit is also necessary and the elastics are not strong enough to be the sole sustainers of the joint. The cloths also help to keep the pipes in their sockets/joiners. The 70cm horizontals are split in two with a flange on one (softened over heat to make) of a couple inches to give the stability or solidity in the joint. A joiner is too short, and costs, and less than a couple inches does not give the lateral strength needed to stop splitting or stretching of the joint. I am putting a short wooden plug into each pipe end, to help combat long term compression of the tubes in the sockets, as they tend to compress or shrink in over time and get loose in the joint.........maybe a quick video tutorial might explain things a bit better. Smiley
thanks for your input.
Chris Arveson
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2014, 05:58:05 pm »

I used 1-1/2" pipes when I used PVC pipe stages. I found them inherently unstable when relying on friction to hold the pieces together. I ended up cementing the various joint pieces to vertical pieces, and used quick release pins to hold the horizontal pieces in place in the joints That added a lot of stability.

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