Paper bag puppets are so wonderfully simple that you could have one finished in a matter of minutes. Using self-adhesive stickers and bright colouring pens will bring quick yet satisfying results.
If you have more time to spend on your paper bag puppets they could become quite extravagent works of art. You could use painting techniques or origami embelishments to bring them to life, or even create a family of paper puppets who perform exclusively from their own cardboard box theatre!
On this page I have included some general tips and ideas to help get you started with your own designs. I have also added a few step-by-step projects, just in case you would rather attempt something that has been tried and tested!
I introduced paper bag crafts to my kids very simply to begin with, as I wanted to let them make a start without being influenced by my suggestions. I just plonked some bags, our tub of pens and some sticky shapes in the middle of the table and let them loose!
With complete freedom to let his imagination run riot my youngest son made a gorgeous "snake-alien" with googley eyes and craft foam hair. I am quite sure that if I had showed him "one I'd done earlier" he would never have invented such a thing as a snake-alien in the first place!
My oldest son wanted to make a devil, so I made him some arms, horns and a fork from craft foam and then let him get on with it.
He was so proud of his puppet that it accompanied him to school the next day; he particularly wanted to show Mrs Parsons because apparently she is "crafty, like you Mummy"....not sure if that was a compliment for either of us!
For older children who have particular ideas on the type of character they want to make, encourage them to plan how their paper bag puppets will look before they start. Suggest that they find pictures on the internet for research, so that they can choose paint colours and find collage materials that will look just right for their own puppet.
Also help them to decide on the personality that they want their puppet to have. Deciding if they want their character to be friendly, scary or cute will help kids to plan what features their puppet will need. This will also make sure that even in a group setting (like a craft club at school for example), where the children make crafts based around a common theme, each of the paper bag puppets created will have its own individual style.
Some ideas to get you started:
If you would like to create this cute paper bag alien, collect together the materials listed below and then follow my instruction. Feel free to adapt my ideas if you want to use different colours or textures; paper crafts for kids are always best when the children use their own imaginations!
rectangular paper bag
sponge for painting with
3 bendy straws
in yellow, green and pink
sheets of yellow, green and pink
circles in assorted colours and sizes