Instructables

How to Make a Jointed Paper Puppet for Animation

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Making moving images is gratifying and fun--especially when you use your hands. The world's earliest known animated features were created with paper cutouts, pieces of paper that lie flat on a background and are moved frame-by-frame in front of a camera. Animating with paper is still a living stop-motion technique to some, and emulated by computer animators wherever animation can be found. The most famous and most beloved example of paper cutout animation must be Yuriy Norshteyn's 1975 masterpiece, Hedgehog in the Fog . There are a few tools and tricks used to create the look of the film that you can build fairly cheaply and easily yourself. One is this puppet, which, when carefully-constructed, can be used over and over again.

Anybody can do this. I chose a more complicated puppet, but making a snowman out of three paper circles or a four-legged creature might be a good place to start for those who feel intimidated.

NB: This is not an instructable on making a paper cutout animation, only making the puppet itself. I plan on making a step-by-step on animating--for cheap--at some point in the future.


You will need:

Cutting mat
A pad of bristol board
Gaffer's tape (see note below)
Scissors
X-acto knife
Pencil
Thread
Paint, markers or material of choice for coloring your puppet
Optional: pointed tools and pens
 
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Step 1: Draw!

Picture of Draw!
I decided to make a(n anatomically incorrect) lower body skeleton. This way, it should be obvious where I will make my joints. A lot of people like to make character puppets, but I would encourage you to try to make something amorphous or abstract if that is more interesting to you. It will suit this project fine as long as it is made out of more than one paper segment. Try sketching without having anything in mind, and see what happens. The surface of your hand or the length of a pencil tend to be helpful approximations for a reasonably-sized puppet.

nanuk.ulla1 month ago

A great introduction into making a paper puppet. Lots of helpful information, thank you :)

(a little constructive critique: it would be of a great help to close up to the 7th step)

Kiteman3 years ago
You should use a photo of your completed puppet as your introduction image.
applemouf (author)  Kiteman3 years ago
Yes. Coming soon!