1. Print the template (set the scale of the printer to 100%), and cut out the puppet shapes.
If you want to cut out facial features or other details, go to Step 2.
If you want to keep your shadow puppets simple and emphasize their outlines, skip to Step 4.
2. If you want to cut out facial features or other details, here are two ways of doing so:
To make symmetrical cut-outs using a pair of scissors: Follow the instructions in this step.
To cut out details with a cutter knife: Skip to Step 3.
To make symmetrical cut-outs, first fold the shadow puppet in half with its white side out, as shown in the first photo. Then, mark the details that you want to cut out along the folded edge. But remember to draw only HALF of their shapes (half of a mouth, half of a nose, etc.).
With a pair of scissors, cut them out.
If you make holes with a hole punch while the puppet is folded in half, you can make circles that are symmetrical, too. That is what I did for the ghost’s eyes.
The third photo shows the result when you unfold the puppet!
(Note: If you get a white line in the middle along the fold like I did, don’t worry. Simply trace over the line with a black marker!)
3. With a cutter knife, you can cut out any shape anywhere inside your shadow puppet. You can also use a hole punch to make perfect circular cut-outs.
First, draw the details you wish to cut out on the white side of the shadow puppet.
Then, cut them out with a cutter knife. (Remember to work on a surface which you don’t mind damaging, like a scrap of cardboard.)
4. Lastly, attach a skewer, straw or stick to the back of each shadow puppet.
Place one end of the stick on top of the white side of the puppet in its center. (If you are using a skewer, place its pointy end on top of the puppet.)
Then, tape that end of the stick onto the puppet, making sure to cover over the tip and pressing the tape tightly around the stick.
(Note: The tape that I used is blue to make it easier for you to see in the photo. But you don’t need to use any special tape for this purpose. Normal transparent adhesive tape or masking tape works well.)
Your shadow puppets are now ready for some horror action!
To make a theater for your shadow puppet shows, you will basically need a white sheet, a source of light and a place to hang the sheet. For details on how to prepare a DIY shadow puppet theater, here is a great link. (That same page also talks about the history of shadow puppets, as well as how to experiment with lights and shadows to create great puppet shows.) Here’s also another link that explains how to make a small DIY shadow puppet theater out of a cardboard box.
By the way, if you liked the above shadow puppet stop motion video, you may be interested in my post on Stop Motion Videos Made Easy! They are very easy to make and a lot of fun.