How to make 12 different shadow puppets

How to Make the Halloween Shadow Puppets Printable

Follow these directions to make your own Halloween shadow puppets!

You just need a few things for these Halloween puppets, including bamboo skewers, paper, and a printer!

You can also just use the templates as a guide for tracing if you can’t get to a printer!


Babies, animals, toys, and props

You can use the same technique in Google Drawing to create silhouettes of babies, animals, or props that match in size with the puppets that you created. (See an example for an image search for the term “silhouette dog” — I’m using the nature-friendly search engine “Ecosia“). For images this small you will not need any moving body parts. If you don’t find what you are looking for, you can always make a silhouette yourself using a photocopier or YouDoodle.

Worlds of Shadows – Teaching with Shadow Puppetry

This book is so interesting! Even if you don't buy it (it's quite expensive), please go to Google Books and check out the preview! You're sure to get some great ideas for making shadow puppets! I did.

Academic Connections

the science of light and shadow

pioneer lifestyles

here is a lined notebooking page about shadow puppets


  • Be careful if using candles, lamps are recommended.

    Thanks! Helpful 29 Not Helpful 12

  • Be careful when cutting out the cardboard-box and paper.

    Thanks! Helpful 14 Not Helpful 24


Cut Shadow Puppets with a Machine

If you have a silhouette cutting machine (Silhouette Portrait or Cricut), you can import the designs and have them cut in no time. Below, you will find my detailed tutorials on how to do that.

How to import a JPEG or PNG image in the Silhouette Studio

How to import a JPEG or PNG image in the Cricut Design Space  

Pros: The machine does a good job, and once you invest in it, you can use it for all the silhouettes you will ever need. I’m very fond of mine.

Cons: Not so cheap. On the other hand, for a crafter, it’s a really amazing investment, and cost is similar to a decent printer. Like a printer, there is the ongoing cost of expendables – you need to buy replacement mats and blades occasionally. 

Moon Festival: Shadow Puppets

Celebrate the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival by staging a shadow puppet show based on the Chinese Moon legend that explains the origins and traditions of the festival.

Remember to come out from behind the stage and take your bow! – The youth are holding their shadow puppets

Puppets, from left to right: Boar, Eagle, Alligator, Bat, Crane.

(Note: There were several others children and puppets in our performance too.)

For Further Exploration

  • Make more shadow puppets! Cut out different shapes or other figures from the cardstock and see how their shadows look. Can you make a puppet with moving parts?
  • What happens to your shadow if you use multiple light sources? Test it by using two or three light sources at the same time. Place them all at different positions and observe how your shadow(s) change.
  • Can you find a way to make colored shadows? Look at this “Colored Shadows” activity to find out how it works.


  1. Switch on the flashlight and point it at the wall. What do you see on the wall once you switch on the light? How does the appearance of the wall change when you switch the light on?

  2. Hold the cardstock circle up halfway between the flashlight and the wall, just outside the light shining on the wall.

    What do you see on the wall? Does the circle cast a shadow? Why or why not?

  3. Next, hold the circle directly in front of the flashlight, halfway to the wall.

    What do you see on the wall this time? What shape does the shadow have?

  4. Cut two more 2-inch circles from the frosted and clear plastic sheets. One at a time, hold each of the circles halfway between the flashlight and the wall.

    Which material makes the darkest shadow: the frosted plastic, the clear plastic, or the cardstock circle? Can you explain your observations?

  5. Cut a figure or puppet out of the cardstock.

  6. Tape a wooden skewer or popsicle stick to the cardstock puppet.

  7. Cast a shadow of the puppet onto the wall. How does the shadow look? How big is it and what shape does it have?

  8. Decorate your cardstock puppet with stickers or markers. Cast a shadow of the puppet again as you did before.

    Do the decorations change the appearance of the shadow? Why or why not?

  9. Try changing the distance between the flashlight and your puppet. Hold the puppet halfway between the flashlight and the wall, then move the flashlight back and forth (farther from and closer to the puppet).

    What happens to the puppet’s shadow as you move the flashlight?

  10. Try changing the distance between the puppet and the wall. Put the flashlight back in its original position, then move the puppet back and forth (closer to and farther from the wall).

    How does the shadow change as you move the puppet?

  11. Hold the puppet halfway between the flashlight and the wall. Try moving the flashlight around and shining it at the puppet from different angles.

    What happens to the puppet’s shadow when you change the angle of the flashlight? How does the shadow change?

  12. Now that you know how you can change the shape or size of your puppet’s shadow, try making long, short, small, and big shadows. What do you have to do to achieve these different shadows?

  13. Turn your knowledge about light and shadow into a shadow play. Make more shadow puppets and tell a story with them! You can also create scenes on the wall by making trees, buildings, or other figures from the cardstock.


RoadMonkey on August 25, 2019:

Great idea for fun and education for children.

Christal on July 11, 2018:

What is the secret code

Inventors of Tomorrow series on January 10, 2017:

Thank you for this post! Lots of great ideas. We used this as an arts extension to pair with all our day's experiments for a STEM enrichment class on light and shadows:

fcinternetmarketing on July 19, 2013:

Fantastic lens.

anonymous on March 06, 2013:

hahaha. love this! so fun.

tfsherman lm on March 03, 2013:

What a beautiful lens and a great resource for me! Thanks, I really needed this info and am very happy to find you. I'm adding you to my cat storytime lens a la Boris and the Wrong Shadow.

Rose Jones on September 03, 2012:

Doesn't get much better than this when it comes to Squidoo lenses: personal story, step by step instruction, great concept. Facebook liked and pinned to my board :Fun for Kids and Adults who Think like Kids – and blessings of course. Great mothering, homeschooling or not.

sheezie77 on June 28, 2012:

Fantastic lens, nicely done! Squidlike

anonymous on June 23, 2012:

WANTED: Someone to represent SHADOW PUPPETRY on our new social network for puppeteers and puppet makers.

jimmyworldstar on February 06, 2012:

This is a great idea, I thought shadow puppets were a lost art, of course this one is with cutouts and not hand signals.

KarenCookieJar on November 23, 2011:

These look fantastic!

anonymous on October 14, 2011:

Just stopping by to let you know that I have featured your project on Fun Family Crafts! You can see it here

If you have other kid friendly crafts, I'd love it if you would submit them 🙂 If you would like to display a featured button on your site, you can grab one from the right side bar of your post above.

Sanam on October 04, 2011:

What a cute lens

Loraine Brummer from Hartington, Nebraska on August 07, 2011:

Very nice lens and cute project. I may have to try something like it in one of my art classes this year. thanks

eclecticeducati1 on July 31, 2011:

How cute! Blessed by a Squid Angel.

TeacherRenee on July 17, 2011:

You really go beyond the expected with this lens — fantastic!

JoshK47 on June 22, 2011:

I've always loved making hand shadow puppets – this looks like a lot of fun, as well!

moonlitta on June 14, 2011:

Another wonderfully creative idea, thank you Jimmie:) Sending also love to your daughter who I got used to seeing on your pages…:)Angel blessed!

SandyPeaks on June 10, 2011:

This brings back a few memories! Nice to know somebody still makes these!

Stacy Birch on May 12, 2011:

This is a truly cute lens, good work.

Mary from Chicago area on May 11, 2011:

This looks so fun! My kids would probably like to create a Simpsons puppet theatre as this point 😉 Your daughter's so cute. Nice work.

Shelly Sellers from Midwest U.S.A. on May 09, 2011:

Great instructions and the photos are terrific!

Philippians468 on April 14, 2011:

i love the idea of using scrap materials to make a 'stage' for the puppets! lovely lens! cheers

Diana Grant from United Kingdom on February 14, 2011:

I think children would love to do this, and you have explained it all very clearly.Here's a Cupid Kiss from a Squid Angel for Valentine's Day

Mona from Iowa on January 04, 2011:

I love this It looks like a lot of fun now I need is some kids. 🙂 Really charming.

Liz Mackay from United Kingdom on December 09, 2010:

Delightful. Blessed by a squid angel.

Sheilamarie from British Columbia on November 18, 2010:

I love this lens! I've loved puppets for most of my life and have created many with my own kids and in the classroom. What is especially nice about your lens is the way you've included pictures of your daughter doing the activities.

Great job!

emmaklarkins on October 19, 2010:

Great idea, and amazing pictures! Blessed by a Squidoo Angel!

PatrioticTees on October 13, 2010:

So cute, great idea for a lens. I will try this one out!

Indigo Janson from UK on September 14, 2010:

Fantastic! Such a fun idea. I can see kids being amused for hours with these.

TriviaChamp on September 13, 2010:

What an awesome activity for the kids. I'm looking forward to getting them started. Kudos on a great lens.

anonymous on August 10, 2010:

My son's Speech therapist made one to use in his practice to help draw language from the kids, we made one for our sons as soon as we came home! Love it!!!!! I am also going to use it in a college class I'm taking where we need to develop a classroom curriculum for little kids. Thanks

anonymous on March 18, 2010:

my kids are going to love it!!!

justholidays on January 13, 2010:

This is a very smart craft to make and in case I get back to work in schools, I will pick the idea and apply with the kids as after school interesting activity!

Squidangel blessings to Shadow Puppet Theater!

Dianne Loomos on December 04, 2009:

Shadow puppets look like great fun!

andreaberrios lm on September 30, 2009:

Thank you so much for this! My kids are going to love this! Great job here! 5*

momto4 lm on September 24, 2009:

What a great idea for and inexpensive way to entertain kids. My kids are 6, 4, 3, and 1 so they are just old enough (except the 1yr old) to enjoy this. Especially my six year old. He loves making things! Great lens!

anonymous on June 21, 2009:

Fantastic. We used this one to incorporate into our Jack and the Beanstalk tales. Great idea.

anonymous on June 08, 2009:

i think this is coo, and im like 12 i love this idea thanx!!!

anonymous on May 22, 2009:

Very creative. Many thanks for the great idea. My daughter loved it!

religions7 on April 06, 2009:

Great lens as always – glad to say I can finally return the favor: blessed by a squidangel 🙂

gods_grace_notes on March 22, 2009:

What a fun project! You always do such a great job with showing us how to create all of these great ideas. Yet another great lens, Jimmie!


: )

clouda9 lm on March 15, 2009:

What a wonderful share! So creative and encourages children to use their imagination. Will remember this one when I have little grandkiddies to entertain 🙂

Debbie from England on February 21, 2009:

Sprite, well done on keeping Mum busy for a while! It looks like you had a really good time with this 🙂

Evelyn Saenz from Royalton on February 21, 2009:

We have always used an old sheet but I love the idea of using a cereal box for the Shadow Box Puppet Theatre. Thank you so much for sharing and for joining the Unit Studies: Fun, Creative Hands-On Leaning Group.

anonymous on February 21, 2009:

Wonderful! I just know my kids will love this:)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Go up