How to make a PVC Stage curtain and pulley display
The following parts are assuming a finished size of around 5 to 6 feet high and 5 to 6 ft. across. The fittings cost a couple of dollars each and the tubes come in 10 foot sections and cost around 3.00 each. You want to cut and fit everything together first, then if something keeps falling apart (it CAN fall apart) you’ll want to glue it. I don’t glue anything unless it becomes a nuisance (falling apart constantly) so I’ll be able to take it apart and store it once I’m done with the play. Kids, ask your mom or dad for help if you want to cement the fittings. There are two bottles of PVC cement you have to buy. They’ll cost around 3 or 4 dollars each. One is a purple cleaner and one is the gooey cement (Oatey is the most well known manufacturer). They’re not entirely safe for everyday use, so if your parents are not comfortable using those, you might be able to hot glue or just ‘white school glue’ the pieces together. I’ve never tried it. No guarantee how well it will hold or last. The PVC cement is for actual plumbing and is permanent and water tight!
See diagrams below for pipe fitting and layout!
1. Need 1.5″ and 1.25″ diameter PVC plumbing pipe (available in the plumbing section of any hardware store) and cut with a miter saw to lengths as needed. Use adapters to go from 1.5″ to 1.25″ pipe on top. I used the smaller pipe on top to keep it light weight.
2. Make curtains as shown in diagram. We used a soft velour-type purple fabric, but any kind will do. You’ll have to sew 4″ wide seams at top and bottom. Sewing machine recommended.
3. Slip curtains onto PVC rods and fasten PVC together as shown. Note the support structure in the bottom image. You will need some kind of supports like those shown.
4. The pulley system for the curtains is a bit tricky, but I finally figured out how to make it work with one loop of string or thin rope. Use Lego wheel rims for pulleys if you have them. Drill pilot holes into the PVC and fasten pulleys so they will turn easily with heavy duty deck screws.
5. Place the string or rope around the pulleys as shown and tie off or ‘burn-weld’ the ends together. (Click the pictures to enlarge)
If this was helpful to you, please leave a comment below. Thank you. 🙂
The PVC tubing is pretty cheap actually, so you’re in luck!
Here’s a shopping list:
(Prices are from our local Lowe’s
online as of January 2013)
2 – 10 ft. 1.5″ PVC tubes: $6.00 (get the cheapest ones they have — there are two kinds of pipe)
1 – 10 ft. 1.25″ PVC tubes: $3.00
2 – 1.5″ to 1.25″ adapters: $4.00 (get the smooth kind, not the threaded ones)
2 – 1.5″ 90º elbows: $2.00
2 – 1.5″ Tee adapters: $4.00
4 – 1.5″ Wye adapters: $8.00 (might have to order these online as I wasn’t finding them in the store last time I checked)
2 – 1.5″ End caps $2.00
Cement: Cleaner and Glue: $8.00
Curtain: cost will vary according to material/length.
Rope: 2 to 3 dollars. Make sure you get nylon, not cotton so you can ‘burn-weld’ the ends together. It helps if the burned together part is smooth and without bumps, and make sure the string fits your pulley size.
Lego wheel rims: ?? Someone said they used simple brass rings instead of the wheel rims. That would probably work fine as well.
Rough Total: $40 to $50.00 + your assembly time.