Introduction: Shadow Puppet Theater

There are many ways to recycle cardboard boxes.

Try making this easy shadow puppet theater and then help your kids put on their own puppet show!


  • Cardboard box
  • Desk lamp
  • Scissors
  • Xacto knife
  • Tape
  • Ruler
  • Cardstock, decorative paper or paint
  • Wooden Skewers
  • Wax paper

Step 1: Let's Get Started

  1. Measure and cut a smaller size square or rectangle on the front of the box. Approx 2" Inches away from the edges.

  1. Cut and tape a piece of wax paper inside the box.

Step 2: Decorate Your Theater

This step is optional as you won't really see the details of your decors in the dark. I wanted to display mine in our toy room, so I decided to make mine a little more pretty. ;)
  1. Measure and cut approx 4 pieces of 2" strips to make the border.
  2. Glue or tape them on the front of the box
  3. I made some decorative curtains using some graphic paper

Step 3: Making the Shadow Puppets

  1. Search on the web for images of the animals/characters in your story. Choose images with simple silhouettes.
  2. Print the images on a sheet of paper, lay it over your thick black cardstock and cut out the shapes using scissors and xacto knife.
  3. I used light colored tissue paper to color the eyes of my characters and props.
  4. Tape or use hot glue to stick the wooden skewer at the back of your puppets. (I also used poster gum to hold the sticks at the back of my characters. It worked great as you can angle the skewers a bit more)

Step 4: Set the Stage!

In a dim or dark room, set up your puppet theater.

Dim the lights, turn on a desk light or flashlight and enjoy the show for hours of creative playtime fun!

Thanks for looking!

Have fun!

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