Working on Our First Crankie

Recently we’ve gotten super inspired by crankies – and so we built our own crankie box, and began work on the production of the 1st annual Ithaca Crankie Cabaret.

A crankie is like a small wooden theater, with a scrollable paper story. We helped Edith, one of the artists we’re working with, build this one:

This is before any decorations (although we did add the fun spoons for kicks) and before you add the paper scroll. For our box, we went for a more widescreen size, and we added doors on the front. Here is what it looks like when you backlight the doors:

Next, I started working on the images. For my crankie, I am using a Tyvek scroll instead of paper. And I am glueing black and white tyvek cut-outs that will be backlit, as well as using shadow puppets for action. Here is a scene:

I am also using colorful cellophane pieces to add color to some scenes like this one:

This is just one of the many ways artists can use crankies. You can just draw or paint on it, you can use paper, quilted fabric, projection, add music, storytelling, other kinds of puppetry and much more.

We can’t wait to share what the group of artists we’re working with have come up with. Hope you can make it to our cabaret on Nov 3 and 4th of 2017!

4 thoughts on “Working on Our First Crankie

  1. Alison

    I am excited about your Crankie effort and the upcoming Cabaret! I have long wanted to do a Crankie project with my homeschooled kids as a history project with music.

    1. LilySilly Post author

      That sounds like a great project. I have a friend who is working on making very small crankies so that folks can try them out at home and I’ve been thinking about their potential for classes with kids, too. I’m excited to get more people into crankies in our area, hoorah!

  2. Elisa Galeati

    Hello, where you buy tyvek? Do you know alternative materials?
    In Italy is not easy to find it.
    Thank you so much

    1. LilySilly Post author

      We order tyvek from Material Concepts: It doesn’t tear at all. You want hard structure tyvek, 10G or 10Gx. Many sizes are available. They also have black tyvek: Tyvek is nice but you really can just use a roll of paper. Some people have also used fabric. Besides those materials, I don’t know of other options, although I am sure there are others. IF you use paper, you might just want to reinforce the top and bottom with some clear tape – but as long as you are careful with it, paper is just fine!


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