Shadow Puppets




Introduction: Shadow Puppets

About: I'm a mom of two boys, an adorable girl, and have a handsome hubby to boot.

I first saw shadow puppet characters on Etsy and loved them. What a great gift idea! The puppets were $20, so relying on my own master cutting skills and inginuity, I gathered some supplies (most of which were on hand) and wallah! I had made an adorable gift set including a flashlight and carrying case- all for under $10.

Hope you enjoy.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: The Supplies

 For the Puppets:
  • black card stock (6 sheets or so)
  • large flashlight ($4)
  • 1 pkg wooden dowel sticks
  • glue gun, glue stick
  • scissors
and the Carrying Case:
  • scrap long piece of fabric, measurement varies
  • matching thread
  • 8" ric rac
  • 1" button

Step 2: Cutting and Laminating

  • Decide on a theme for your puppets, then search online for some image inspiration. My image inspiration came from a set I saw online.
  • Sketch your figures on to some card stock, or print some images and then trace them on.
  • Cut out your images then laminate. Cutting them first will help them seal better than trying to cut them after laminating.

Staples laminated all my figures for around $2.

Step 3: Attach the Dowels

Using your hot glue gun, glue 1" down on a wooden dowel to the back of each finished puppet.

Step 4: Create a Carrying Case

Using a long rectangle scrap piece of fabric, create your carrying case with a pocket for the puppets:
  • Decide how long you want your case. Take that measurement and add to it the length of the pocket you would like. This is so you can fold your pocket piece up to where you'd like.
  • With right sides of your material facing together, sew around the edges of your scrap piece, leaving a small opening for turning it inside out.
  • Turn the piece inside out and topstitch, closing and topstitching over the opening that was left open.
  • Fold your finished material a little over halfway up to create a pocket. Insert your ric rac midway and pin the ric rac and pocket piece in place. The ric rac is used to tie your case together.
  • Sew down the two sides and bottom of your pocket, making sure to secure the ric rac in place on the side.
  • To make the casings for the puppets, start at the top of the pocket and go in about 7/8 from the edge. Sew down to the bottom of the pocket, creating a little casing. Check that your casing is big enough to hold your wooden dowels. 
  • Continue to make the rest of the casings across the rest of your pocket piece. 

Step 5: Finishing Up

Put your puppets in the case and fold or roll it up to decide where to put the button. Mark, and tack on your button. To close your case, roll your case together and simply wrap the ric rac around your button (making it easy enough for even a 3 yr old). Grab your flashlight and your gift is finished! If you'd like, you can also write up an adventurous story to go along with the puppets and include it with your gift.

These puppets look so amazing on the wall and are so cool to see! I am confident beyond the *shadow* of a doubt that you'll absolutely love it! ;)

Craft Contest

Runner Up in the
Craft Contest

Toy Contest

Participated in the
Toy Contest

Be the First to Share


    • Trash to Treasure Contest

      Trash to Treasure Contest
    • Rope & String Speed Challenge

      Rope & String Speed Challenge
    • Wearables Contest

      Wearables Contest

    9 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    This is a wonderful instructable! I love low-tech toys that actually encourage imagination, and the fact that you can make them yourself is awesome! I voted for you also. :-)


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Voted! :)
    was time someone tries to revive the lost art of shadow-theaters! :)

    I visited one in far east once. No spoken word (at least none i was able to understand) but the story was clear and simple, yet beautifully displayed.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Oh sweet! I've never been to anything like that. Sounds awesome. Thanks for the vote and comment.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    It was a VERY pleasant surprise in our all-you -can-get-and-in-3D-please-World...

    Thats why i enjoy the simple pleasures and recreations.
    5 years ago i trashed my TV and it was the best decision in a long time. Suddenly i had freee time to use with the stuff i really enjoy and deep inside wanted to make. The simple beauty of a sunset behind the mountains or the sunrise over a foggy field... a hind in the open. A mumbling stream in the windy and rocky highlands of scottland. Who can say "nay" to that?

    I play fantasy-RPG's (pen and paper) every second week with a bunch of friends. No PC, Interwebs, Cellphone, or any electronics for that matter. You dont need fancy grafics and CGI to tell a good story. Your own immagination is a thousand times more powerfull in making up good graphics than any 10'000$-PC or console. Also you can be sure that if you want to see a beautifull valley with rolling hills and dotted clouds sprinkled in the sky, you will LIKE it. Thats because you see what you want to see and what you define as beautifull. Not what another guy in a cellar decided that his version of the valley is what pleases you.
    I am sure a lot of you remember a story told at a campfire better than the plot of many AAA+ movies. The difference? 100'000'000$ and more but still often falling short in the sheer power of impact it has on a person.

    Who of you had some images flashing by while they read the descriptions i gave about the sunrise, the hind and the mumbling stream? Thats what i talk about... ;)

    The power is not in the cost of the tools used but in the way you use them. Shadow-theaters are exactly such a thing!
    Even some Ads realised this:


    6 years ago

    Awesome art


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! I found the images online, but it was still tricky to eyeball.