Wednesday, October 12, 2011

shadow puppets

If you are looking to coax a smile out of our daughter the fastest way to do so is by changing her diapers.  The reason?  When you place her on the changing table (or in our case, a changing pad on top of a dresser) she is in prime position to watch the shadows that are cast on the wall by whatever lucky soul happens to be swapping out her dirty dipe for a clean one.  Shadows, as it turns out, are freaking high-larious.  We like to call the shadowy figures that seem to illicit the most smiles from her, Shadow Mamma and Shadow Daddy.

Here is our Clio, clearly enjoying Shadow Daddy.

Because she seems to love Shadow Mamma and Daddy so much I decided that I would make her more shadow friends to play with.  Obviously, she has no idea what the shadows puppets are but I figured that as she gets older they will come in handy for story time.

The first thing I did was to pick a couple of themes to make the puppets from.  You could always just go with the old standard fairy tales.  In fact I found this free downloadable version of puppets from Billy Goats Gruff, which is especially handy if your artistic skills leave much to be desired.  I chose to do Space Invaders, the Pacific Northwest (my homage to Leif's home), and a simple Kitty and Fish.

Materials Needed:

Heavy Card Stock (I got ten pieces, way more than I needed, at Michael's for $4)
Glue (or glue gun)
Exacto Knife
Scratch Paper (only if you are drawing your own puppets)

First thing I did was to sketch the puppets I wanted to make on blank white paper so I could cut them out and trace them on to the card stock.

My version of Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet, which is one of my all time favorite movies thanks to my dad.  Once on a double date Leif and I went on before we started "dating" I noticed that he had a Robby the Robot fob on his key chain.  He was impressed that I knew who Robby was.  Nerd love.  Isn't it precious?

Using the scissors and the exacto knife I cut out the puppets while watching episodes of bad t.v. and waiting for Clio to wake up from naps.  This part took the longest amount of time and a lot of bad television.

The rest of it was easy-peasy.  Glue those sticks on the back and that's it!

Finally, get your light set up and have a puppet show!

These last two are my favorite and are part of the Pacific Northwest set, which also includes pine trees and a log cabin.  If I could have somehow done a flannel shirt, scruffy facial hair, tattoos, and dark-rimmed glasses I would have.

Recognize this last one?  Yeah, I didn't think so.  It's Frame 352.

There you have it folks.  Shadow puppets for a baby who won't really appreciate them for quite awhile.  Well, I made enough to give to my nieces and nephew, and the Pacific Northwest set will probably go to a certain eight month-old Sam in Amsterdam whose parents are Portlanders at heart.


  1. i cannot even express to you how much i love these! CANNOT even tell you! :) really bree, they are fab. i'm totally inspired, and if you don't mind (which i don't think that you do considering you listed materials/instructions), i am going to copy these. well, maybe draw my own inspirations. or, maybe not. yours are awesome! goede zo!

  2. I'm glad you like them! I want to see what you make for Sam.

  3. Ha! She LOVES shadow daddy! Look at the smile! These are great, I love the alien especially. I reckon J would like these too, she will happily chase a torch beam around for ages!

  4. I love it. Now you have me thinking I wonder if I can impress my 7 years with shadow puppets. I think I have everything in my craft box. Weekend project here we come. :)

  5. These are so cool. I've got to do this with Stell.