Introduction: Shadow Theatre in a Shoebox

I have always loved shadow theatres. My kindergarten teacher used to play once a year in christmas time. That got stuck with me. So when I found an easy instruction I knew I wanted to do this.

Here is a link to the instruction I found online:

It's a fun way to play with light and light sources. Since I am a teacher I can already see the pupils playing with it.

The material needed I already had at home, so I just got started.


  • shoebox
  • baking parchment
  • water colours and a brush
  • scissors
  • cutter
  • tape or glue
  • pencil
  • cardboard
  • shashlik skewer

Step 1: Cutting

To get a frame I measured approximately 2cm from the edges and marked it from the inside. Make sure to make the frame not too thin, so it has enough stability and space to glue on the baking parchment.

Use a cutter or scissors - whatever you feel more comfortable with.

Firstly I cut from the inside. I used a ruler to get as straight lines as possible. Then I cut from the outside.

Step 2: Colouring

To have the focus on the shadow play I decided to paint it black.

You could also use cardboard instead and glue it to the frame.

If you use water colours make sure to stir the colour until it has bubbles. The shoebox will take the colour better.

Step 3: Gluing

Now it's time to attach the baking parchment to the inside of the shoebox.

To get the right size of the baking parchment I got the measurement from the outside of the shoebox. Then I would just cut a little bit off the ends until it fitted in the box.

To attach the baking parchment I used tape, which is an easy and fast way. As I have a rather thick frame this was quite easy.

You could also use glue instead of tape.

Step 4: Stick Figures

With cardboard you can design elements for your play.

The colour of the paper does not matter, since you're not gonna see it anyways.

If you would like to add colour you could use coloured translucent paper. Cut out areas and glue the paper onto it. Just make sure to have a frame thick enough for stabilisation.

Then I taped my cut out elements to a shashlik skewer.

Step 5: Time to Play

Put a light source behinde your shadow theatre.

Finally it's time to play! You could either use your designed elements or roam around and use whatever you find back home.

The closer your items are to the baking parchment the easier it is to recognize them.

I hope you enjoy your play time :)