Family Advent Calendar, Day 12: Make a Shadow Puppet Theatre and Christmas Shadow Puppets

Today, we are making a Shadow Puppet Theatre and Christmas Shadow Puppets. Then, we’ll improvise a few plays and pageants in the dark. This is a great way to learn about telling stories without words or with truly creative narration.

Here are our Shadow Puppet Theatre and Christmas Shadow Puppet tutorials!

DIY Holiday Puppets and Shadow Theatre
Shadow Puppet Theatre

Shoe Box, Cereal Box or other Large Cardboard Box of a similar shape.
Exacto knife
A Large Rectangle of Parchment Paper, Waxed Paper, Tracing Paper or Plain White Paper
[corresponding in size to the length and width of your box]
Duct tape
Large Flash Light

Method [Also See Graphics Below]
If you are using a shoebox, discard the lid and skip to the *
1] Remove the entire length and width of the backside of your box with an exacto knife.
2] If necessary, use duct tape to make sure that the interior flaps of the box are not loose or flapping down.
*Flip box over
3] Mark a rectangle on the front/face side of the box with pencil and ruler. Be sure that this rectangle is slightly smaller than the size of your paper and about an inch from the outside edges of the box itself.
4] Use an exacto knife to cut the rectangle out of the face of the box.
5] Cut paper to size larger than the opening in the box and secure to front of box with a few bits of tape.
6] Use long lengths of tape to “Frame the paper” and affix to the cardboard completely.
7] If desired, at the base of the theatre you’ve created, cut a long rectangular opening as in the seventh picture below.
[This helps small hands and small puppets get closer to the paper. It’s really only necessary if you are using a very small box.]
8] If desired, use duct tape to finish any visible or frayed edges or sides of the cardboard.

DIY Shadow Puppet Theatre
Holiday Shadow Puppets

White or black card stock
Small Wooden Dowels
Tape or Strong glue

Method [See also pictures above]
Source silhouettes online [or use the ones below], copy them, and size them to your liking.
On white card stock, print black silhouettes of those images
OR print silhouettes onto plain paper and cut them out against black card stock.
Carefully cut out the figures with scissors
Attach dowels to the backsides of the cut-outs with tape or glue.

Wondering how to use the Shadow Puppet Theatre?
Place theatre on a table in the dark.
If desired, use a tablecloth to help cover the puppeteers.
Situate a flashlight or lamp on a chair, stool, or second table behind the first.
Shine light through the back of the puppet theatre.
Duck down below and behind the theatre.
Dance puppets as desired.
Narrate your story…or let the puppets tell the story for you!!

Christmas Shadow Puppet Silhouettes and Printables
If you are searching for a particular figure for your shadow puppet theatre, simply search via Google Images for “*nameoffigure* silhouette.”  You’ll likely find the silhouette you are looking for. You can also create a silhouette from a photograph by following last year’s tutorial.  Below, you will find several festive holiday silhouettes we’ve gathered for you to print out and size to your liking.

Awesome Nativity Silhouettes

Shepherd-Silhouettes 1Wise Men Silhouettes
 Reindeer Silhouettes
Christmas Silhouettes  Printable

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4 Responses to Family Advent Calendar, Day 12: Make a Shadow Puppet Theatre and Christmas Shadow Puppets

  1. December 18, 2014 at 6:47 am #

    Now featured on Mic atelier de creatie!

  2. Kathy December 25, 2014 at 1:02 am #

    Thanks I am using your template for my ESL science class on Light.

    • December 28, 2014 at 5:16 pm #

      Awesome! Have fun!!


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