You need three things to do shadow puppetry:

1. The Puppet – or something to cast the shadow: This can be a simple black silhouette or very colourful and intricate. You could also use an interesting shaped object like a doll, a sieve, or a twig. Or you could use yourself! A group of people working together could make some strange and wonderful creatures in shadow…

2. The Screen (or something to ‘catch’ the shadow on): This could be a sheet made of fabric or paper. Your screen can be hung up or simply held by two people.

The screen can be large and fixed to a large frame, to lighting stands, or an easel. You could make a very small screen and attach it to the front of a cardboard box. It could be floating free to create ripple effects or held by hand and moved about the space to ‘catch’ the shadows.

If the light is in the right place, you could even use a plain wall or the floor as your screen.

3. The Light: You can use regular lamps or torches (if your room is dark enough!) Or, if you have one, an over-head projector. Because you have the flat, glass surface which things can be placed on to create backgrounds, and you have the vertical space for your puppets to move in and cast shadows from the light, using an over-head projector is a great way to combine your shadow puppets with simple shadow scenery and settings.

And don’t forget the biggest light of all… the sun! On the right day you can create a wonderful outdoor shadow show using the bright light of the sun to cast your shadows. Why not go on a shadow hunt to collect ideas for your own show.

Zannie Fraser, Luminous Tales

Why not have a go yourself?

Take a look at these Trick Puppets made by Zannie

For more free resources look here.

For more videos on DIY puppetry look here.

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