Saturday, November 10, 2012

Christmas Story Shadow Puppets

Here's one of the shadow puppets from my Christmas Story shadow puppet set. This is a simple puppet show I made for a Sunday school class.  I usually work with kids from 4th grade and up for shadow puppets.  This is a good show for beginner puppetteers, since there are no moving parts on the puppets. Figure out ahead of time how the show will flow, which direction the puppets need to face. Assign puppet(s) to each child, and choose a narrator. After you run through it once or twice, let the kids trade puppets and try again. Or put on a show for another class to watch.

If you are doing this at home, invite grandma for Christmas Eve dinner and after you clear away the dinner dishes, set up the theatre, and the kids can put on the show.

Downloadable Puppet patterns are now available in my etsy shop.

The puppets can be used with my tabletop shadow theatre (see my earlier blog to make your own theatre)

The script I used can be found here:
puppet script

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


A couple of weeks ago I made my annual trek to the NH Highland Games at Loon Mountain and spent a wonderful day with my son, watching the sheepdog trials and listening to Celtic music. The sheepdog competition is held on a ski slope, so the animals get quite a workout.

Defiant  -    cut paper collage
..... there always seems to be one sheep that decides to challenge the dog and stands its ground...then the border collie sets to work, creeping closer, giving the "eye" until the sheep finally turns to join the rest of the flock.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Weekly illustration challenge

Recently I started participating in Illustration Friday. 
A new topic is provided on Fridays, so participants have the weekend to figure out what to do.  It's fun to go back and see what everyone came up with! There are some amazing ideas out there. 

 Here's my first 3 submissions: 

Cut paper illustration

Pen, Ink and colored pencil

Cut paper illustration

Monday, April 23, 2012

Shadow Puppet Tutorial #1: How to Make a Shadow Puppet Theatre

This tutorial will show you how to make a tabletop Shadow Theatre and set up a shadow puppet show.

The tutorial for How To Make Shadow Puppets is here

Materials for Theatre:
3 sided cardboard display board
Rotary cutter (or box cutter), cutting mat
Masking tape, clear shipping tape
Freezer paper

Other materials:
shadow puppets (paper or cardstock); script
drinking straws
scotch tape
flourescent closet light


1. Lay the display board on the cutting mat;  cut in half.
This will allow you to make 2 theatres.

2.  Fold the display board inside out. The white side will face the audience.
Some boards cannot be folded inside out; in this case, cut the wings completely off and reattach with clear shipping tape.

3. Decide which end of your theatre will be the top. ( If there are any nicks on the edge from cutting, make that edge the bottom.)

4. Cut out a 12x19" rectangle from the center panel to be the screen.
Leave a 2" border around the top and sides of the center panel. The bottom border will be 3 3/4".
5. Cut a piece of freezer paper to be your screen.
The slippery coated side should face the puppetteers.

You should allow about a 1-2" of freezer paper to overlap the edges.
Attach the freezer paper to the inside of the theatre (brown side) with masking tape.

I have used other papers and plastic for shadow puppet screens, but translucent freezer paper is my favorite material.

Your theatre is ready!  You or your kids can decorate the audience side if desired.

 Putting on your show:

 I prefer to use angled lighting (see below) so that there are no sticks showing and no puppetteers showing.

For a clear image, press the puppets gently against the screen.
To keep this theatre from "walking" forward during the show, tape the wings down to the table.

Note the puppet in this picture is laminated; I often laminate my puppets if I expect they will have a rough life. With certain lighting conditions the laminate edges may show very slightly. Adding a second light or an extra layer of freezer paper on the screen will reduce this effect.

Prepare your puppets for the show:

Tape the short end of a flexible plastic drinking straw to your puppet.

Trim straw as needed.

This picture shows a large puppet with a moving arm, so I used 3 straws.

The puppetteer will hold the head & body straws in one hand, and move the puppet arm with their other hand.


The easiest lighting method I have found is a fluorescent closet light. The one pictured is electric but I have also used battery powered lights.

I have used other types of lighting as well. You should experiment to find what gives you the desired effect.

I hope you enjoy your shadow puppets!!


Monday, March 26, 2012

cut paper art

Cut paper collages, belted galloways and snowshoe hare.

recent drawings....

Pen/ink/pencil drawings; the mouse drawing was used for a T shirt design.