【How to】 Do Cool Shadow Puppets

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Items Youll Need

All you need is:

  • A cardboard box (a cereal box works very well),
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Thin white paper or wax paper
  • Either straws, craft sticks, or skewers
  • A desk lamp works well for the light source.
  • Oh, and you need some imagination because there are stories to be told!

Printing Shadow Puppets on Transparent Film

If you get printable transparent film (there is film for inkjet printers and film for laser ones) and use it for printing designs, you will only need to do very basic cutting before the puppets will be ready to play with.

Pros: Quick and rather inexpensive.

Cons: You will be able to stage shadow puppet shows by holding the transparencies against the screen, but you will not be able to cast crisp shadows on the wall with a flashlight or do experiments with light.

Video

Moon Festival: Shadow Puppets

Celebrate the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival by staging a shadow puppet show based on the Chinese Moon legend that explains the origins and traditions of the festival.

Instructions

  • Tape the box up well so that it's sturdy and closed.
  • Then trace about 1 – 1 1/2 inches away from the edges of the large faces of the box. Do this on both sides. These are your marking lines.
  • Next cut out the large rectangles you just drew. We used a utility knife for this. Wait! Save the cardboard you just cut away! You can use that for making puppets.
  • If you need to add more tape to the inside of the box to make it more sturdy, go ahead and do that now.
  • Find a sheet of fairly thin white or light colored paper. Tracing paper or wax paper would work well too. We just used plain old copy paper.
  • Tape that over the hole on one side only. That side with the paper faces your audience. The other side is where you, the puppetmaster will work your magic.

If you want to decorate your puppet theater, you can. But remember, it will be dark as you give your show, so the audience really won't see a lot of what you design on it. So keep it simple. The image to the right is an example of a possible border around your theater. Click it to find the original image.

Below are the puppets — simply shapes cut from cardboard with sticks taped on. We used bamboo skewers, but you can use craft sticks or straws as well. To make your puppets more lifelike, cut out legs, jaws, or arms separately from the body parts and attach them with paper fasteners (brads). Be sure to attach a stick on each part so you can move both pieces. Sprite made her shark have a hinged mouth! Very scary!

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shadow puppets

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2 Doodle your character



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Step 1: The Supplies

 For the Puppets:
  • black card stock (6 sheets or so)
  • large flashlight ($4)
  • 1 pkg wooden dowel sticks
  • glue gun, glue stick
  • scissors
and the Carrying Case:
  • scrap long piece of fabric, measurement varies
  • matching thread
  • 8″ ric rac
  • 1″ button

How To Do Shadow Puppets Details

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How to make shadow puppets with paper

First, get the printable shadow puppets templates (they’re free!).

Print them onto cardstock paper and cut them out with scissors. If you cut out the eyes, the shadows come out even better.

Tape the skewers to the back of the puppets. This will make it easier to play with them in the light.

Turn on the light and shine it on a large, blank wall. We used our dining room wall. Turn off other lights for even more drama.

Take turns telling spooky stories as you play with the puppets.

My kids had a blast with these silly little puppets.

Warnings

  • Be careful if using candles, lamps are recommended.

    Thanks! Helpful 29 Not Helpful 12

  • Be careful when cutting out the cardboard-box and paper.

    Thanks! Helpful 14 Not Helpful 24

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Step 5: Finishing Up

Put your puppets in the case and fold or roll it up to decide where to put the button. Mark, and tack on your button. To close your case, roll your case together and simply wrap the ric rac around your button (making it easy enough for even a 3 yr old). Grab your flashlight and your gift is finished! If you’d like, you can also write up an adventurous story to go along with the puppets and include it with your gift. These puppets look so amazing on the wall and are so cool to see! I am confident beyond the *shadow* of a doubt that you’ll absolutely love it! 😉

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