Introduction: Make a Bah Humbug Paper Shadow Puppet

About: I am a DIY person on small scale... fixing things, painting, creating simple solutions... I've been offline for a while, regrouping in my career, going into social work and trauma healing. I teach NVC so will …

For some fun on a white sheet or tracing paper taped over a hole in a simple refrigerator box, this puppet-making technique makes for some fun using your own original illustrations and creations.

In this video, Kathy S is singing. Bug designed by Mark A. I constructed the puppets.  I made a bug that has legs that swing freely, and an arm that can be articulated to poke himself in the eye with a pen...

Steps of this instructable
1. illustrate and print an awesome cranky-looking scrooge-style pi-pedal bug or other creature
2. print out and enlarge
3. trace over the areas you want to cut with chalk/carbon
4. press the chalked drawing onto thick paper to transfer design
5. cut body, legs and arm sections with Exacto knife
6. tape lighting gel to create bright green body.
7. sew arm and legs on with needle and thread to articulate
8. attach velcro to puppet arm, body, and cheap flat-ended chopsticks
9. animate on the screen or curtain with a light shining behind you so audience sees the cranky bug moving his arms and legs while you sing a song.

Items Needed
1. Card Stock Paper
2. Printed Design
3. Chalk/charcoal
4. Colored Gels OR Tissue Paper
5. Needle and Thread
6. Exacto Knife
7. Scotch Tape
8. White sheet or paper with floor lamp or clamped work lamp behind it
9. Audience who appreciates low-tech visual fun!

Ability to cut fine tiny cuts with the exacto knife

Step 1: Trace and Transfer Your Bug

With a cool illustration of a bug,

1. Trace the lines of the drawing

2. Put facedown onto medium to dark-colored cardstock (80 lb) paper.

3. Rub back of chalked drawing to transfer to the cardstock. 

4. Repeat for just the legs!

5. Repeat for one of the arms!

The legs and arm will be cut separately to be attached to the body and be articulated.

Step 2: Cut the Body Parts!

1. Cut out legs
Exacto cut along the traced leg area, but in the area that they attach to the body, cut some extra paper so it can get sewn on to the main body later.

2. Cut out body, head and 3 arms
Exacto cut the body of the bug, including 3 of the arms, head and hat (in this picture, I miscalculated the size of paper needed so hat needed to be amended with more paper by taping on the rest).

3. Cut out center of the body
Match up the legs to the body to see what area of the middle of the body to cut out so a gel or tissue can provide color to that area. Cut out center of the body including face leaving paper around all edges of the body so the gel can attach to it later.

4. Cut out the Waving Arm
Cut two sections of the arm: upper arm and lower arm. Do similar with arm as with the legs: cut out the extra arm drawing leaving extra paper where you want to make joints with thread.

Step 3: Attach Green Gel

1. Trace gel area to cut.
Place tissue or lighting gel scrap to the body part with center cut out and trace area to cut leaving enough gel inside the edge of the paper to have something to tape. You will be wanting tape on the paper, and just enough gel to attach it, but you don't want any tape in the area that will be projected with light.  Small pieces of tape required! 

2. Cut the gel with scissors.

3. Attach to the body with tape.
Make sure you use small pieces of tape so none overlaps in gel area where light will shine. If you want to glue, use non-waterbased glue.

Step 4: Attach Legs and Arm

1. Attach Legs
Sew somewhat loosely, the leg pair to the bottom of the bottom of the body. Swing the legs back and forth and trim the paper of the legs as needed so corners don't show through the gel when the puppet is Swinging!

2. Attach Arm
Sew the elbow the the upper arm, then sew the upper arm to the body. This will be a part you will manipulate with a velcroed chopstick.

Use double or triple knots!  Our arm fell off due to an undone knot during practice!

Step 5: Make a Face

Cut out little eyes and mouth, and glue to the face.

Step 6: Attach Velcro and Chopsticks

Attach a small rectangular piece (size of the end of the chopstick) of velcro to the back of the arm and the back of the body.

Attach the mating velcro to the bigger ends of two chopsticks.

Step 7: Dance and Sing the Bug

Now you can dance the bug on the white screen or curtain! Hold him with the body chopstick, and move his arm with the other... you can get the legs swinging. Velcro lets you twirl him 360 degrees.

Light should be placed close to the screen to avoid hand shadows as seen here.

The Intro of this ible shows our Bah Humbug practice... Happy holidays!
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