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"How to Make a Lightweight, Traveling Crankie Theater"

Props are always welcome at the best gatherings. Crankies, or hand-cranked paper movies, can be large as a window or small as a matchbox. This crankie theater is the same size as my heavier wooden crankie theater but fits in a suitcase when I travel and only weighs a few ounces.
Cardboard! It's lightweight, you can cut it up with scissors. Packing tape makes it waterproof. Paint makes it pretty. This is the theater sitting on my rocking chair with no crankie in it yet -- you can see right through it.
This is the cardboard crankie theater with a crankie (paper movie) in it, ready to roll.
This is the side view, with the rolled-up crankie (paper movie) ready for cranking.
I cut up a big box for the basic theater. I found a rectangular piece of cardboard in the box with holes every few inches, so I taped it down on the "floor" so that two of the holes at each end of the theater would hold crankie poles just offstage, as it were. I taped over the rest of the unnecessary holes.
This is a view of the back with the crankie loaded into it, ready to crank.
When I load the crankie, I put one end of the pole in the theater floor.
The top of that side of the crankie has a crank on top for turning, which I secure with a silly hair tie. It is two fake roses on two stretchy loops. One rose loop stretches over the other rose, which holds the upper end of the crankie pole loosely in place. If it were tight, it wouldn't turn, so this works really well.
Close-up of the rose loops, for anyone interested. My wooden crankie theater has a whole different system. Have fun making up something, or call me and we'll make up something new.
My crankies are hollow cardboard on the left side, so this cardboard theater has a left pole which goes into the "floor" hole at the bottom after being put through the crankie's hollow core. In this way I can change crankies like movie reels for variety.
I put some more hair ties at the top of the left side of the theater...
...which slip easily over the top of the hollow core of the crankie or the pole, whichever.
Here is the back of the crankie, ready to roll. I put the song lyrics line by line but backwards on the crankie itself so that anyone turning it knows how to pace it with the song by speeding it up or slowing it down with the lyrics as they go by. They go by in backwards pieces, which is pretty funny, and keeps your cranker person entertained.
Some people have poles with cranks at both ends of their crankies, which is heavier. Some make them of cloth, which is heavier. I was trying to make mine as lightweight as possible while still making it big enough to show crankies the same size as my wooden theater, which manages to entertain a sizeable room full of people.
The little rectangle space where the holes go through makes a handy storage space in the theater itself for the left pole, which, unlike the pole on the right side of the crankie, is not afixed to the drawings and the paper, but just floats inside the hollow cardboard core of the crankie (secured by the hole at the bottom and the hair ties on the top). I didn't really think this stuff up, it just kind of happened when I was making something to fit in a suitcase.
So that's how to make a traveling cardboard crankie theater. I hope this is useful. Make a crankie and delight the world. Be sure to see some of mine.


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