Saturday, March 1, 2014

Shadow Puppet Tutorial #3: Cutting out the Jacob puppet

simple Jacob puppet, non-moving arm

This tutorial will show you how to make an expressive moving-arm shadow puppet and provide a free template for making the puppet.

For this tutorial, we will make Jacob, a Bible story character.

I edited The Story of Jacob from Genesis into a shadow puppet script, you can access the script here.

For performing the show, you will eventually want to make 2 Jacobs, one facing to the right and the other facing to the left.  You can see in the script which way he needs to face for each scene.

To cut out the puppet, you can access the printable template here.

Simple puppet:  If you want to make a simple puppet with no moving parts, cut out the puppet body on the solid lines, including his hand and wrist all as one piece. You won't need to cut out the other 2 arm pieces. I use scissors on the easy parts and finish the tricky parts with an exacto blade. See my previous post for pictures of the cutting process.

Moving-arm puppet: If you want to make a moving-arm puppet, you will need 2 small brads(preferably in a dark color) from a craft supply store. Cut out the puppet body with no wrists or hands (follow the dotted line), and cut out the 2 extra arm pieces separately. Put the 2 arm pieces together at the elbow joint. See dotted lines on template.
Elbow joint: Pierce through the upper and lower arm pieces and attach the brad. Don't pierce the body with this brad!!! Make sure the elbow bends freely.
Shoulder joint: Pierce the upper arm and body pieces with the brad; attach the upper arm to the body as shown.
The smooth heads of both brads should slide on the theatre screen (facing the audience).

Either way, your finished puppet will have just 1 hand. I don't recommend trying to give him 2 hands, it  makes the puppet too complicated.

Jacob template with optional moving arm

After you are finished cutting your puppet, check the script to see which way it needs to face. You will attach drinking straws to the puppeteer side of the puppet.  Before attaching the straws, it's a good idea to protect the cardstock. You can either laminate the whole puppet,  or just put a piece of shipping tape on the puppeteer side to protect the cardstock from repeated taping and untaping. (I don't permanently attach the straws; I tape them on just for the show and then remove them again when I put the puppets away. ) After protecting the card stock, tape on the straws for your show.  See my Puppet Theatre Tutorial for pictures of this.

 I hope you have fun with this! Please let me know if you have any questions.

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