Shadow Puppetry

Gran’s Journey to The Moon

It’s amazing what you can create with cardboard, a light and an old bed sheet….Frolicked Outdoor Theatre reveals how to make your own shadow puppet.

Gran has made a little shadow puppet show for you and has revealed her behind the scenes secrets to how she made the puppets and how she set up the shadow puppet theatre/screen at the bottom of the stairs.

What you’ll need

· Card (the back of a cereal packet is perfect)

· A marker pen

· A sharp pencil

· A lump of plastersine or sticky tac

· A pair of scissors

· Some split pins (3 for Gran’s show)

What you’ll need for to perform a shadow puppet show:

· An old sheet

· A place to put your sheet (pull it tight across a door frame, a couple of chairs or between the legs on a big table)

· A lamp

· Some masking tape

· All your set and puppets


What to do

Draw your own characters onto card (or print out Gran’s characters and cut them out from card). Create moving parts with separate puppet pieces and some split pins, set up a sheet and a lamp (with some masking tape) in your house and give your family a treat…

Drawing of set up with lamp, Gran, sheet stairs and puppets.

Here is Gran demonstrating how to use a shadow puppet against a screen.

To make your own version of Gran’s shadow puppet show, complete with shadow puppets, follow the instructions below.


Step by Step Guide

1. Download Gran’s shadow puppets (Shadow Puppets 1 and ShadowPuppets 2) and print them or draw your own puppets or sets onto card. The thickness of the card from a cereal packet is perfect. Gran used similar white card for hers in the video.

Template of puppets eing cut out with scissors.

2. If you’re drawing your own characters, think carefully about where and how you want them to move and remember to add tabs on so you can hold them!

Cut carefully around all the edges with scissors

Making window in rocket ship

3. You can also make holes or flaps in your puppets and sets that can reveal things during your show… think about what surprises you might want to include…

Piercing holes in puppets for moving parts.

4. To cut out holes in your puppets, or make the holes for the split pins (to make moving puppet parts), you’ll need a piece of plasticine or sticky tac and a sharp pencil. Put your puppet on the plasticine and push the pencil through the card, either on the ‘x’ (on Gran’s puppets) or where you want the moving parts to be on your puppets.

Inserting split pins to join card where pieces move.

5. Push a split pin through the two pieces of card to complete your flaps or puppet moving parts and open the metal bits on the back of the pin to secure the pieces together (on Gran’s puppets, these are the hatches for the rocketship and the moon, and Gran’s moving arm and walking stick).

Finished shadow puppet of Gran.

Here is a finished shadow puppet of Gran.

Here are all the finished set and puppet pieces for Gran’s show.

Here is Gran using the puppets as part of her show and here is how the shadow show looks from the front. Stick pieces of set directly to the sheet with masking tape.

Here is how Gran set up her show across the bottom of her stairs.

REMEMBER to turn the lights off in the room except for your lamp. Add music and sound effects….have fun.

Can you perform Gran’s Journey to the Moon or can you take your audience on a journey of your own making?

Gallery Oldham