Kids First Saturdays: Shadow Play

Getting tired of streaming television? Stage your own adventures with a shadow puppet theatre!


Puppeteers performing ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜™๐˜ข๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ฌ๐˜ช๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ, Ratchaburi Temple, Bangkok, Thailand, 2019. Photo: John McMahon

Lotte Reiniger, ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ˆ๐˜ฅ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜—๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ค๐˜ฆ ๐˜ˆ๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ, video still, 1926, 1h 21m

Step 1: Gather Materials

All you need to build a basic shadow puppet theatre is:

  • 1 x Cardboard Box
  • 1 x Parchment Paper
  • Construction Paper
  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Light

Step 2: Prepare Your Stage

Cut out an opening in your cardboard box and tape a piece of parchment paper over it. If you don’t have parchment paper, any kind of translucent paper will do (even a piece of tissue paper will work if it’s large enough). If you’re feeling extra creative, go ahead and dress up your stage! Try out popsicle sticks for the facade, fabric for curtains, and beads for other ornaments ๐Ÿ’… ๐Ÿ’ซ

Step 3: Create your characters

Using either a piece of construction paper or the cardboard you’ve removed from the box, design and cut out your actors. Tape popsicle sticks or BBQ skewers on the back so that you can stand them up behind your stage.

Step 4: Ready, Set, Action!

In a dark room, back-light your theatre with lamp or flashlight and let your imagination fly!

Step 4: Share your work

If you share your work online, be sure to tag @polygongallery. We would love to see your amazing creations!