How to make a variable height puppet stand

Recently I needed to make a few more puppet stands in order to hold the cast of characters I was working on. Two of the puppets were massive, their live hands dragging on the ground, so I wanted to make a few larger floor height stands. My favorite puppet stand at the time was an old IV pole with the IV bag hardware cut off. I love it because I can adjust the height and it’s on wheels. I can move it over with my foot as I work. To create something similar, I bought casters and used spare parts from the shop and garage to create two stands.

Stand with standard paint pole

I found various screw end poles in the rafters of my shop. Since I couldn’t find hardware online to use to attach my pole to the scrap plywood, I 3D modeled my own and 3D printed it in ASA filament. You can access the .stl file I made on by hitting the button below.

Once I had this hardware, it was easy. I glued two pieces of plywood together to make the base of each stand. Since I wanted one stand with casters, I bought the smallest set I could find at Lowes and screwed those into the bottom of one stand. I screwed the newly printed hardware in the center on the top. For one stand I used a variable length painting extension pole. For the other I used a window cleaning extension pole. I had both of these on hand. A standard broom handle will also work. They all had the same threading.

Casters screwed to plywood base
variable height paint pole

What I love about these stands is that I can take them apart for easy storage. I love the variable height as well. The variable paint pole version is on my workbench right now. On its lowest setting it’s a bench top puppet stand. On its higher settings, it’s a floor stand if I work seated.

The window cleaning extension pole goes even higher! I like to work standing up, so this one was great for accessing different parts of a large puppet by creating the easiest height for detail work at eye or hand level.

With my new and old variable height poles, I was also able to photograph this whole set of puppets on my own by setting them up on stands and adjusting the heights to create this grouping.

Gus Plus Us, the old and new series on stands for photographing

What’s your favorite puppet stand? A paper towel holder? A microphone stand? Something homemade? Feel free to comment below.

Happy Building!

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