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Paper Puppets

Source: Martha Stewart Living Television


During the 18th century, puppet shows featuring the traditional jumping jack, a hybrid of the marionette and paper doll, were a popular form of entertainment among French royalty and high society. Here, we explain how to create your own puppet characters.

Create your puppet show around a particular setting, such as the ocean or forest; children will enjoy thinking up stories, songs, and characters for performances. Of course, adults should supervise children when making this project.

Learn how to make a Pupper Theatre to go with your Paper Puppets.


  • Scissors

  • Pencil

  • Decorative paper (optional)

  • Construction paper

  • Hole punch

  • Paper fasteners

  • Mini hole punch or pin

  • Thread

  • 1/8-inch-diameter wood dowels

  • Craft glue


  1. Using our puppet templates (or you can create your own) cut out dog, frog, shark, rabbit, fish, or bird shapes, and trace the designs onto construction paper. If using decorative paper, trace designs onto decorative paper, and glue to construction paper for backing.

  2. Draw shapes for eyes, ears, noses, or beaks. Cut out the paper shapes.

  3. To assemble the puppets, punch a hole at each point where the limbs attach (indicated on our templates by the large black dots), using a standard hole punch. Attach the limbs to the puppets with paper fasteners so that they can move freely.

  4. Punch a hole where the strings will be attached (indicated on our templates by the small black dots), using a mini hole punch or a pin. Cut a 36-inch length of thread to correspond with each hole, and pull each piece of thread through its corresponding hole. Tie a knot at the threads' ends to secure, and position the knots so that they catch on the backsides of the limbs.

  5. Cut one 18-inch dowel for each puppet. Using craft glue, such as Sobo, attach the dowels onto the back of the puppets so that they will hang down into the theatre.

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