Saturday, May 22, 2010

Shadow Puppets

Well, its the end of the week and I finally got around to posting about the shadow puppets.  If you didn't see the giveaway that I had last week here's a recap:

We invited our friends over for a shadow puppet show night one weekend.  We made everything we needed for the show in the hour and a half before they came. The kids made up their own plays and the parents cracked up laughing.  It was great entertainment and the kids can't wait to do it again.  The end.

 These puppets are fun for a rainy day, a quiet night with a flashlight (remember using your hands to make shadows on the walls, well this is like the upgrade) or for a full on shadow show night with friends. 

Here's what you need for the stage:
1. A cardboard box and something to cut it with
2. A white bedsheet (low quality is actually better here, you don't want it too thick)
3. A bright light source.  A really good flashlight will do.  Or, if your flashlights are kinda wimpy we have even used a lamp. 

For the stage we just used a regular cardboard box.  We cut it down one side (so that we could lay it completely flat) and then cut a window out of the front to be our stage.  Then we propped it back up and used some duct tape to secure it.  All that was left was to cover it with a white sheet and put our light behind it.  When we turned out the lights it looked like this:
And then with the puppets behind it it was like this:

So, now you want to make some puppets don't you?
Here's what you need for that:
1. Black construction paper (I used scrapbook paper because I had it on hand and it was sturdier)
2. Self sticking laminate (this is optional but you puppets will last much longer if you use it)
3.  Straws to use as sticks for the puppets
4. Brads ( I used one inch brass plated fasteners from Office Depot)
5. An EXACTO knife to cut out things like eyes
6.  Scissors to cut out the shapes

Oh, and of course you need some puppet templates.  You can draw your own and we have done that for things that we couldn't find templates for online. But, honestly, I like to use things that are already made and cut out some of the work. 
 I found this site with great templates so we only had to come up with a few of our own.  Go to:

for all kinds of stuff that's ready for you to print.

Now, stick your laminate onto your paper. (Here's the laminate I used, there will be instructions on the package)  It's pretty much just a big clear sticker that you put on the page.
Lay your template over the top of the laminated page and with a pen trace the entire thing (including the dots that show where the brads go).  Press firmly. 

The goal here is that when you lift the template off you will have left an impression on the paper like this:
And now you can use those lines as your guides to cut out your shapes.
Cut out the shapes. Use a hole punch to punch holes in the joints that were designated on the templates (you should have left a dot on these spots.

Hook the pieces together with the brads.

Cut out the eyes with your EXACTO knife

Then tape a straw to the back of each puppet and you're done! 

You can make this super simple and make puppets that are not jointed or laminated but a little extra time brings the fun up a notch.  Then send your puppeteers behind the stage, turn out the lights, and pull up a chair.
You will love it I promise and if you take the extra time to laminate them in the beginning you can use them for many many nights of fun together.  Try it out...just one more thing to do together besides watch TV.

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