Creating Marionettes & Other Figures From Cardboard Rolls

A Cardboard Theatre

You don't need much to become a puppeteer. What's more, everything you do need is almost certainly lying about your house. Simply think of a figure, person, animal or other fantasy creature and set about creating a body using a cardboard roll. Paint and decorate the roll as required and attach hands and feet using bottle caps or foam rubber. Use threads, string or strips of paper to attach the hands and feet to the body.

If you want your figure to move, you'll need to attach strings to the hands, feet and perhaps also the head. Make a cross using two sticks or poles and tie and knot the strings to these sticks or poles. You can now move each hand or foot separately with the sticks/poles and you're ready to go.

If you don't find lots of spare bits and pieces at home, then get creative. Eyes, for example, can be made from most materials and then glued on. The more original your creation the better. And the more figures you design, the more elaborate your puppet show will be.

You will need:

  • Cardboard rolls (e.g. kitchen rolls, toilet rolls, rolls from tinfoil)
  • Paint (watercolours, finger paint, poster paint)
  • Marker pens or felt-tip pens
  • Adhesive tape + cling film
  • Wool or string
  • Material for eyes and pipe cleaners
  • Bottle caps or milk carton lids
  • Corks + foam rubber
  • Cotton wool
  • Coloured paper or card
  • Scissors
  • Poles or sticks to control your puppet