Introduction: Papercraft String Puppet

A cute ostrich with big eyes, made mostly from paper products.


  • Colored card stock paper (colors: black, white, tan, grey, yellow/ orange)
  • Copy Paper
  • Crepe Streamers
  • Cardboard
  • Tape
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Needle & Thread
  • Power drill

Step 1: Paper Feathers

For this project you are going to need a lot of feathers- 50 or more, depending on how fluffy you want your bird to look. You can cut the feathers out of card stock by drawing the shape of a feather and snipping the edges with some fringe scissors, but that might be a little time consuming. If you have a machine that will cut shapes for you, I suggest using it for this project. I used my Silhouette to cut out a feather pattern in various sizes and colors (black, white, tan, grey, tan). I have provided an image with the silhouette of the feather I used.

Step 2: The Skeleton

This puppet has two main parts: the body and the head. To make each part, ball up some copy paper: use 2 sheets for the head, and 5 sheets for the body. Keep your ball from falling apart by securing it around with two long pieces of tape (see images). The part where the pieces of tape intersect will be the top.

Take a piece of thread (26” long for the body, 12” for the head), tie a knot and attach a small tape at the end, and run it through the tape so that you now have a ball of paper hanging from a piece of thread.

Find a place to hang the balls from, this will make it easier to attach the feathers.

Step 3: Handle

You’ll need cardboard to make the handle part of the puppet that the strings attach to. One piece of cardboard should measure 12”x1” and the other one should be 6”x1”. One you have those pieces, make a cross and glue them together where they intersect (for extra stability, cut two of each piece and layer them). Wrap the entire thing in crepe paper to give it a pop of color.

Step 4: Legs & Neck

  1. Cut twelve 18” long strips crepe streamers.
  2. Separate them into three stacks with 4 streamers in each stack.
  3. Take a power drill, pinch one end of the streamer stack into the space where the drill but would usually go. Tighten it in there.
  4. Hold the loose end of the streamers and run the drill. Stop when streamers twist up into a tight rope.
  5. Trim each piece to be 8” long and tie a knot at each end.
  6. For the ropes you will be using as the legs, you can also tie a knot at the midpoint to look like knees.
  7. When you’re done adding feathers to the head and body, attach the legs with glue (one hanging down from each side of the body)

Step 5: Feet

  1. Cut out two crown shapes (approx. 4”) from cardboard.
  2. Cut those same crown shapes out from yellow/orange paper.
  3. Glue the yellow/orange pieces to the top of the cardboard pieces.
  4. To make the feet heavier you can add more cardboard layers to the bottom of the feet
  5. Glue one rope/leg to the center of each foot

Step 6: Feathers

  1. Use tape and glue to attach the feathers. Start attaching at the bottom, and work your way around.
  2. Then, work your way up to the next layer.
  3. You should have 3- 4 layers of feathers.

Step 7: Beak

Use a half sheet of yellow/orange paper for the beak. Watch the gif to see how I made it. It’s way too confusing for me to explain how to make it. So, if you can’t figure it out, just search the internet for “origami bird beak” you should come across something helpful. If all else fails, make a basic beak by folding a piece of paper in half and cutting it into a triangle shape.

  • Take the feathered head and glue the beak into the front.
  • There might be a gap between the beak and the head. Cover the gap by gluing a feather along the edge of the beak.
  • Cut out two circles for eyes and glue those to front of the head, above the beak.

Step 8: Assemble the Bird

  1. Take the piece of thread that is holding the head, trim it to be 9" long and tie it to the front end of the handle (top of the cross).
  2. Take the piece of thread that is holding the body, trim it to be 12” long, and tie it to the back end of the handle (bottom of the cross).
  3. Cut a 24" piece of thread, glue one end to the tip of the foot, tie the other end of the thread to the handle on that side of the foot. Do this for both feet.
  4. Take your last piece of rope and glue one end to the back of the head, and the other end to the front of the body.
Papercraft Contest 2015

Participated in the
Papercraft Contest 2015