Make these simple clothespin puppets with kids, using our free printable designs as the starting point! A fun STEAM project, with the puppets working around the mechanism of a clothespin.
With several sets of elaborate shadow puppets in my craft baggage, I always wanted to give a go to something quite different and make a simple puppet from some commonplace object. My goal was to prove – to myself if no one else – that making a theatrical performance with kids can be very easy. For that reason, I have been eyeing socks and gloves for ages. But in the end, it was a clothespin that prompted us to creation this time.
Clothespins are fun! Commonly available, made of wood and featuring a mechanism that can fascinate children just by itself. Incidentally, absolutely perfect as a base for a paper puppet that opens and closes its mouth. In my opinion, the project is a fun combination of art and engineering. Older kids can easily create their own puppets, while younger ones can try our printable design.
I made a dragon and a unicorn for my kids. There is a coloured version as well as the one for colouring, both available as free printable for a quick crafting and theatrical experience.
While I thought it was an interesting engineering project, my son and my husband (!) had a blast making an improvised performance with the beasts. They’re reading The Hobbit right now, so the dragon was naturally named Smaug. I couldn’t hold in a laugh, listening to my son trying to speak in a tiny voice for the unicorn and in a big gruff voice for the dragon. Why, the same attempts on my husband’s part put me in hysterics as well – you can hear him in the video tutorial below.
How to Make Clothespin Puppets
Print the heads. They’re made in two parts: the lower jaw that gets glued on the lower part of the clothespin and the rest of the head that goes on the upper part and overlaps the jaw a little. On the photos, I use the glue gun. It sets quickly and there is a possibility for making the head part sit a little higher, thus making sure that it wouldn’t interfere with the jaw. All the same, usual white glue would be a safer alternative for smaller kids – it worked fine when I tried it. Just make sure that the paper parts stay in place for the first minute and let it sit until dry afterwards. The advantage of using white glue would be that you could adjust the position of the jaws to your satisfaction.
Watch the Video of Making Clothespin Puppets
If you want to make your own puppets, colour or print ours, get the template by putting your email below!