DIY: From Gift Box to Puppet Stage (Plus Scenery and Puppets!)

Re-purpose your used gift boxes to make your own show with just scissors and tape! Use construction paper, magazines, old cards, and mailers to add scenery and puppets, then put on a show!  When you’re done, everything fits inside your box stage for easy storage. 


  • 1 gift box (top and bottom)
  • Masking Tape
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Construction paper/old magazines or mailers
  • Markers/crayons
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Small cup to trace.




  1. Separate the top and bottom of your gift box.
  2. Hold the top of the box so that it is wider than it is tall (horizontal). Fold it in 1/2, then cut on the folded line as shown in video
  3. Put the 2 pieces of the top back on the bottom box
  4. Tape edges, creating a hinge (as shown)
  5. Lift your box so the the bottom faces the audience (it will stand up on its edge)


Make Curtains and Scenery:

  1. Use construction paper, old magazines, mailers, cards, etc. to design your scenery.
  2. Trace your box onto a piece of construction paper or magazine clipping, then trim off excess.
  3. For curtains, cut paper in 1/2 then decorate
  4. For Scenery keep the piece whole.
  5. Add a pipe cleaner to the back of each piece of paper, taping it into a loop as shown.
  6. Bend pipe cleaner to become a hook, then hang on your stage

Make Puppets:

  • Draw characters on paper. Tip: Use both ends of a small cup to trace circles of different sizes. Turn cup sideways to create characters with a long snout.
  • Create multi-media collage characters, combining images from magazines, mailers or cards with drawn pieces.
  • Add a pipe cleaner to the back of your puppet, taping it in place. 
  • Add a small loop to the top of the pipe cleaner to make it easier to grip when performing

Put on a show and have fun! 



Want more Puppet Fun? 

Join MicheLee Puppets’ Puppet Club. It’s FREE! CLICK HERE to sign up and receive monthly emails with helpful tips and activities for your growing family!

Click Here to subscribe to our YouTube Channel

We have everything from DIY puppet making, to how to perform, to fun, educational videos that help your child! 

DIY: Make a Colorful Shadow Puppet

Follow along to this video with the written instructions below.



  1. Print Shadow Puppet Pattern onto black cardstock (the print lines will show for cutting). 
  2. Cut out your shadow puppet pieces and use the hole punch to punch holes where indicated on the pattern.

CONNECTING THE BODY: Lay your cut pieces out, and use the paper fasteners to attach the pieces together. Follow these steps for maximum performance:

    1. Make sure that the thumb of the forearm is facing up. Place bicep on top. Use paper fastener to fasten together at the elbow.
    2. Make sure that the toes, rounded part of the body, and the hand are pointed in the same direction. 
    3. Lay the body on top of the legs (straight side down) and use the paper fastener to fasten in place. NOTE: make sure that your connection is loose so that the legs have the ability to swing.
    4. Lay the body on top of the arm. Connect at the upper part of the bicep and use the paper fastener to fasten in place. Make sure the connection is loose enough for the arm to move smoothly.

ADDING PERFORMANCE RODS: Attach 2 pieces of tape (approx 2″ each) to the pointy end of your skewer. Follow these steps to attach them to your puppet.

    1.  Create a “Y” with masking tape. Add one piece of tape to the pointy end of your skewer. Half of the tape should stick above the end of the skewer.
    2. Add a second piece of tape the same way (sticky side facing the sticky side of the other piece of tape that has already been applied). Make sure that the parts of the tape that extend past the skewer curl back so that they do not touch.
    3. Turn your skewer upside down so that the tape is facing the hand of your puppet. Hold the skewer perpendicular to your puppet with one piece of tape above the other. Press onto puppet’s hand. Trim any excess tape.
    4. Repeat the steps above to create a second rod that attaches to the body of the puppet.

CREATE A CUSTOM HEAD: Draw your own creation by following these steps.

    1. Use a pencil to draw THE PROFILE of your own custom character on white paper. This means the side of the face (character will only have 1 eye).  TIP: To encourage children to draw a head that is large enough to go with its body, you may choose to:
      1. Trace the inside circle of your masking tape onto the paper as a frame
      2. Trace around your fingers and hand to make shapes. 
      3. Cut the white paper into 4″x4″ squares and instruct your child to draw a face that touches each edge of the paper.
    2.  Place your white paper drawing inside of the plastic sleeve. Use a black permanent marker to trace all main facial features and edges of puppet face onto the plastic. Add a rectangular piece as the neck of the puppet. Allow 1-2 minutes for the marker to dry.
    3. Cut out puppet head from plastic (make sure to include additional room for the neck by cutting the rectangular piece with the head).
    4. Flip over your your plastic head to the opposite side, so that the black marker won’t smear when you color your face. Use permanent marker to color in the details of your face. Remember, coloring over wet permanent marker may smear or erase the marker, so use one color at a time and allow 1-2 minutes to dry. 

ATTACH YOUR HEAD TO YOUR BODY: Choose one of TWO ways to attach your puppet’s head to its body:

    1. Attach your head to the body of your puppet (less movement, easier to control)
      1. Use double stick tape to attach the neck of your puppet to the puppet’s body. The head will move only when you move the rod attached to the body.
    2. Attach your head to the bicep of the puppet (more movement, more challenging to control).
      1. Before attaching the bicep to the body, use double stick tape to attach the neck to the upper bicep
      2. Line up the hole punch with the puppet hole in the bicep and punch through the plastic
      3. Attach the  bicep to the body using a paper fastener

TIP: Once you have taped the rods to the puppet, it will face in one direction. You can remove the rods and place on the other side of the puppet to change its direction, or make a second puppet that has rods on the opposite side.



There are many ways to perform shadow puppets. Grab a flashlight and have some fun! 

  1. Pinch the rods in the tips of your fingers.
  2. Twist one rod at a time to see how your puppet moves
  3. Rest the feet of your puppet on a flat surface and lift it up and down slightly to make the puppet jump. Add forward movement to this “jump” to make your puppet walk. 
  4. Move your wrist back and forth to reach the arm forward and backward. If the head is attached it will move as well.

PROJECT ONTO A BLANK WALL or USE A SCREEN- Hang a sheet in a doorway; cut a square out of a cardboard box and tape a large piece of white paper to cover it; even use a window shade to make night time puppet shows for your neighbors. However you make your screen, you will want to project a light from behind it to entertain the guests in front. The tighter the screen, the more crisp your shadows will be.


Want more Puppet Fun? 

Join MicheLee Puppets’ Puppet Club. It’s FREE! CLICK HERE to sign up and receive monthly emails with helpful tips and activities for your growing family!

Click Here to subscribe to our YouTube Channel

We have everything from DIY puppet making, to how to perform, to fun, educational videos that help your child! 

DIY: Make a Glove Hand Puppet

Make a custom glove puppet with just a few simple materials. Follow along to our DIY video with the written instructions below.




  1. Cut on the dotted “Cut Line” of your Glove Puppet Printable Template to create a paper strip.
  2. Hold your strip horizontally, and add masking tape to one end of the strip. 
  3. Wrap the strip around your 3 fingers (index, middle and ring fingers) to create a paper ring. Then secure in place with the tape. It should be loose enough to slip off of your hand easily, but tight enough to stay in place.
  4. Your fingers should stick out slightly above the paper ring. If not, remove the paper ring from your hand and trim off the top edge until they do.
  5. Slide your paper ring off of your hand and staple the paper together. You may want to cover the staple with masking tape. Then place the ring to the side.
  6. Decorate one of our blank face patterns from the Glove Puppet Printable Template with Markers or crayons, OR design a face of your own on a piece of cardstock that is approx. 5″x 5″.
  7. Cut out your puppet’s  face. 
  8. Create a “tape donut” by turning a strip of masking tape into a loop so that it is sticky on both sides.
  9. Place your tape donut onto the center of the front of the paper ring.  TIP: make the front of the paper ring where the paper meets. This way your face will hide the line.
  10. Affix your puppet face to the paper ring by pressing onto the tape.
  11. Put your glove onto your hand and slide the paper ring back onto your hand. You may choose cut the tips of the fingers off of the glove before placing it onto your hand to make it easier to grip items.


Use the video and written instructions below to learn how to perform your puppet!

  1. Point your index, middle and ring finger straight up and use the pinky and thumb as the hands of the puppet.
  2. Put your elbow on the table and lift it up and down to make your puppet walk. 
  3. Move the fingers inside of your ring slightly, to make your puppet appear to talk.
  4. Practice bending your wrist to let your puppet pick up items such as a pencil, bubbles, or other things that the character might need.
  5. Have Fun! Use your puppet to tell a familiar story or sing along to a favorite song.


Want more Puppet Fun? 

Join MicheLee Puppets’ Puppet Club. It’s FREE!

CLICK HERE to sign up and receive monthly emails with helpful tips and activities for your growing family!

Click Here to subscribe to our YouTube Channel

We have everything from DIY puppet making, to how to perform, to fun, educational videos that help your child! 

DIY: Make a Fish Rod Puppet


Follow along to this video with the written instructions below.


  • Fish and Lacing Patterns (click here)
  • Foamcore 8.5 x 11 piece
  • Foam Paint Brush
  • Scissors
  • Xacto knife/blade
  • Pencil
  • Marker
  • White Glue and Water
  • Masking Tape
  • Tissue and foil paper
  • 2 Skewers
  • Hole Punch
  • 30″ Ribbon or Fabric Strip



1. Print Fish Pattern and Lacing Pattern onto white cardstock paper

2. Use scissors to cut Fish Head and Fish Tail from the pattern. Use a hole punch to punch holes where indicated

3. You may either:

  • Decorate the pattern itself (skip to #6)
  • For a sturdier fish, trace your patterns onto foam core (#4 and 5)

4. Trace your pattern onto foam core. Use the Xacto blade, slicing layer by layer to cut out the head and tail. This will give you a clean line (sawing with the knife will create jagged edges). 

5. Use the the skewer tip to poke holes through the foam core where indicated. Then use the pencil tip to make those holes larger, twisting slightly as you go. 

6.Lay the head and tail of the puppet where indicated on the Lacing Pattern. Follow the numbers and arrows to lace the ribbon through the holes, then tape in place. Use a pencil or skewer to help move the ribbon through the holes, or tape the edge of the ribbon tightly like a shoelace. (Great practice for fine motor skills and hand/eye coordination). 

7. Place the masking tape vertically to attach one skewer  to the fish head and one to the fish tail (for a more secure fit, first place double stick tape underneath each skewer). 



DECORATE: Paint, Color, or Collage!

A COLLAGE is a combination of materials that make one piece of art. Here’s how to get started:

1. Thin the white glue by mixing in a little bit of water.

2. Use a foam brush to cover the surface of your fish (do one side at a time.)

3. Tear colorful tissue paper, construction paper, newspaper, etc. Layer paper on your fish, brushing on glue as you go. When all of the pieces have been added, spread a top layer of glue on all surfaces to seal the pieces together. This will also create a light glaze to make your fish shiny.

4.When the glue dries, add accent details by drawing with markers, gluing pictures, shiny paper and googly eyes.


Hold a puppet rod in the fingertips of each hand. Twist your fingers to move the tail and head. Move your hands in opposite directions to make the puppet look up and down. Swim your puppet in different directions and different speeds, eat underwater plants, and get creative!

Want more Puppet Fun? 

Join MicheLee Puppets’ Puppet Club. It’s FREE! CLICK HERE to sign up and receive monthly emails with helpful tips and activities for your growing family!

Click Here to subscribe to our YouTube Channel

We have everything from DIY puppet making, to how to perform, to fun, educational videos that help your child! 




DIY: Egg to Caterpillar Rod Puppet



A few simple steps bring this rod puppet to life! Go from Egg to Larva (even Pupa) with this fun, fuzzy puppet-making activity. The perfect, hands-on way to teach the life cycle of a butterfly!

Want to complete the cycle? Make a colorful “Stained Glass” Shadow Puppet Butterfly here:


Follow along to our “DIY From Egg to Caterpillar” Video with these written instructions below:


  • 2 Skewers
  • 1 Plastic Egg (that separates top and bottom)
  • Scissors
  • Sand Paper
  • Maribou Feather boa
  • Drill
  • Hot Glue Gun (keep a small cup of water close by to dip fingers in, in case of drips. It will eliminate burns)



  1. Cut a 5-7 inch piece of feather boa 
  2. Sand the skewers until the tips are flattened. 
  3. Drill 2 holes in each egg piece, just large enough to insert the end of a skewer. The skewer tip should just slightly poke out of the egg. 
  4. Glue the skewers in place on both egg pieces
  5. Glue each end of the boa to an egg pice, hiding the skewer in the eggs. 
  6. Hold the ends of the skewers (1 in each hand) and Perform! Tap each skewer on the table to make your puppet dance, slide your hands far away and close together to make your caterpillar “inch.”



Click Here to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more DIY fun!


DIY: Make a “Stained Glass” Butterfly Shadow Puppet

Enjoy this fun and simple way to teach symmetry. 

Design your own butterfly shadow/rod puppet then grab a flashlight and have some fun!

Click HERE to subscribe to our Youtube channel for the latest puppet fun!



  • White Paper
  • Craft Foam
  • Scissors
  • Permanent Markers
  • Pencil
  • Double-stick and Clear tape
  • Plastic Sleeve or Transparency Paper
  • 12-18 inch wooden dowel



  • Symmetry- same on both sides, divided by axis of symmetry
  • Opaque- not able to be seen through, light does not pass through
  • Transparent – see through, light passes through
  • Pollinator – an animal that causes plants to make fruit or seeds 


  1. Fold the craft foam in half. The fold will be the line/axis of symmetry.
  2. On the open end of the craft foam (opposite side of the fold) draw a”3″  with a permanent marker.
  3. With the foam still folded, cut along the line of the “3”
  4. Fold the foam in half at the center of the “3”. Draw a 1/2 circle from one end of the fold to the other. 
  5. Cut out the half circle, then unfold the whole piece of foam to reveal a butterfly shape with open windows on the wings. 
  6. Use a pencil to trace the wing windows onto a white piece of paper, then draw shapes and decorations for the butterfly wings.
  7. Either place the white paper inside of the plastic sleeve, or tape transparency paper on top of the white paper for tracing.
  8. Use a permanent black marker to trace the wing window designs onto the plastic. Be sure to trace the wing shape as well. (Tip, remind small children to only color on the plastic, then put the cap back on the marker).
  9. Cut out the plastic wing windows. Be careful to cut outside of the line to leave at least a 1/4 inch to tape to the butterfly. 
  10. Use double stick tape to tape the plastic windows to the butterfly. 
  11. Use permanent markers to color in your plastic wing windows. (TIP: Place your butterfly over a blank piece of white paper so that you can see the colors. Flip your butterfly over to color on the opposite side of the black marker, so that it doesn’t smear.) 
  12. Place double stick tape in a line on the foam butterfly, along the axis of symmetry, then place the dowel on it. Dowel tip should stick out about 1 inch above the foam. Cover top of dowel with clear tape to cover any sticky spots and to seal dowel to butterfly.


  • FLIGHT- Lay the butterfly flat. Lift the butterfly by the dowel (rod), holding it in one hand. With your pointer finger on top of the rod, shake your hand slightly but quickly, bending at the wrist.  Be gentle. Butterflies are delicate creatures.
  • LIGHT- Find different light sources (flashlight, the sun, lamp light) and different surfaces (white wall, the ground, a sheet, the ceiling).  Create shadows by placing the butterfly between the light source and the surface.
  • Notice the difference between OPAQUE images, (such as the rod and the foam that block the light), and TRANSPARENT images (such as the interior wings that allow light to pass through). Bring your puppet closer and further from the light to see how the shadow grows and changes.


Are your a member of our Puppet Club? It’s FREE! CLICK HERE to sign up and receive monthly emails with helpful tips and activities for your growing family!

Re-use Plastic Eggs to Make Hand Puppets


Don’t fill the landfill, get creative! Re-use plastic eggs to make unique hand puppet characters. Let your imagination run wild with just a few simple steps. You can:

  • Make a family of characters such as Little Red Riding Hood, The Wolf and Granny to perform your own fractured fairy tale
  • Make an original character and write a story of your own. Give your character a name, a fun voice, and decide what makes your character happy, sad, scared, confused and angry. Develop stories from these characteristics: Example: My character’s name is Eggly. She loves to chase spiders. She is sad when she can’t find spiders. She is confused when spiders run away from her. She is angry when people mistreat spiders.

Follow along to our “DIY Puppets from Plastic Eggs” Video with these written instructions below:


  • 1 plastic egg that divides horizontally
  • Felt (slightly bigger than the egg)
  • Scissors
  • Drill or Xacto knife
  • Marker (for tracing onto felt)
  • Glue (craft glue, fabric glue or hot glue)
  • Water in a small dish (if using hot glue)
  • 1 pipe cleaner
  • Decorative materials (google eyes, fur, craft foam, pom poms, yarn, permanent markers)



  1. Separate plastic egg into 2 pieces 
  2. If your egg pieces don’t already have holes on the rounded edge, drill or use an Xacto knife to create 2 holes approx ¼ inch apart on the rounded edge of each piece. 
  3. Cut your pipe cleaner in half with scissors or wire cutters 
  4. Create a handle for you middle finger on the longer egg piece by threading the pipe cleaner through the holes, sliding it over your middle finger. Then twist the pipe cleaner inside of the piece top secure the handle, then flatten the remaining pipe cleaner ends.
  5. Repeat using the shorter egg piece and thumb.
  6. Place the eggs next to each other on the felt, flat side down. They should be touching. 
  7. Trace around the edges of both eggs with a marker onto the felt. The image should look like an “8” without the center line when completed.
  8. Cut out the felt tracing
  9. Glue the rounded part of the felt onto the inside of one of the egg pieces, hiding the pipe cleaner. Repeat with the other egg piece. This will connect the two pieces and create a hinge for the mouth to move.
  10. Decorate! Create hair with yarn or fur, add eyes and teeth. You can even draw on the eggs with a permanent marker.
  11. Perform! Put your middle finger on top and your thumb on the bottom and put on a show!

Burn Survivor Puppet Helps Heal

MicheLee Puppets began in 1985 when Tracey Conner moved to Orlando and realized that the “Kids on the Block” puppet show that she had been performing in Ohio, was needed in Central Florida.  

“Kids on the Block,” a disability awareness show, featured full-body, moveable mouth puppets. Puppeteers stood behind the characters, performing scenes and answering questions from the audience. Subjects ranged from physical disabilities, to emotional issues such as dealing with divorce.



The puppet characters had all sorts of unique qualities about them. Lynne, for instance had been burned. She wore compression sleeves and a mask to assist in the healing of her facial scars.

One day, MicheLee Puppets was contacted by a local school. Jacqueè was just starting 3rd grade at their school. She had recently been burned in a fire and they wondered if we had a show that could help introduce this concept to the other students. Tracey grabbed Lynne and off they went.

“We arrived at the school and performed the show,” remembers Tracey. “Lynne the puppet explained that she was the same on the inside, but on the outside she might look a little bit differently.  She showed the students her sleeves and her mask and told them about the skin graft surgeries that she had to have, which left scars on her body.”

The students sat quietly, mesmerized by Lynne and her story. At the end of the show the students had lots of questions.

“We placed a chair next to the stage and Jacqueè came up to sit with Lynne,” Tracey explained. “The children were very curious. Lynne answered many of their questions and then it was Jacqueè’s turn. A boy raised his hand and asked how she had been burned. Quietly, she told them that she had been playing by a campfire with her cousins when one of the boys threw a stick at her and it caught her clothes on fire. ‘I rolled on the ground, but I couldn’t put the fire out’ Jacquee said. As she spoke, a little tear rolled down her cheek…it makes me emotional just to think about it.”

The kids had more questions. Was she angry at her cousin? No, she knew it was an accident.

Finally, when all of their questions had been satisfied, the children all got up and surrounded Jacqueè with a giant group hug.

“As we were leaving, the principal stopped us,” recalls Tracey. “We learned that this was Jacqueè’s 2nd day of school. On the first 1st day no one would talk to her. Now it seemed that she was the most popular child in the school.”

MicheLee Puppets uses puppetry to bridge the gap between a child’s natural curiosity and their ability to grasp complex concepts. Our characters break down barriers, empowering children to be themselves and to have empathy for others.  We now use a variety of puppetry styles to convey important messages, but have kept our “Kids on the Block” characters for when they are needed. In fact, our newest show “Una Borinqueña en Florida” brings several of our characters out of retirement. Performed entirely in Spanish, this show helps youth heal from the trauma of relocating to Central Florida due to emergency situations.  Now a whole new generation of children are being empowered to talk about their feelings and heal together. Click Here to learn more about this new show and how to help youth in need.



More about “Kids on the Block” from its founding company:

Do you have students who could benefit from a MicheLee Puppets program? Check out our Touring Shows , Classes  and Videos! Contact for more information.

UPDATE: Make A Wish: Young Puppeteer’s Dream Comes True

In 2015 we had the honor of hosting Matty Smith and his family when the Make a Wish Foundation sent them to Orlando to fulfill Matty’s wish to be a puppeteer. Click Here to read about that joyful experience! 

We are delighted to have continued our relationship with Matty and his mom Taryn who sent a special message:

Since our first meeting we fell in love with Matty’s spirit and wanted to continue his connection to puppetry. Shortly after his visit, Producing Director, Jamie Donmoyer invited Matty and Taryn to his first National Puppetry Festival. Puppeteers from across the nation come together to watch shows, take classes, and explore the art of puppetry.  Matty got to meet Sesame Street puppeteers Carroll Spinney (Oscar/Big Bird) and Leslie Carrara-Rudolph (Abby Cadabby) as well as a number of puppeteers from some of his favorite shows. At this festival, Matty also discovered the Puppetry Store, a place where puppeteers can purchase supplies, books, and other merchandise including puppets! How his face lit up when he found characters to take home and make his own!

Through texts, emails and visits we have stayed connected to Matty and Taryn. Matty has certainly faced some challenges, but he keeps his puppets with him, entertaining not only himself, but family and hospital staff as well. He now has a collection of characters that travel with him, and he brings each to life with its own distinct personality.


Matty even inspired puppet character ‘Marcus’ from our touring show “Mission STEAMpossible”. Like Matty, Marcus has a love for arts, an adventurous spirit, and uses a wheelchair due to the effects of Osteogenesis Imperfecta.  We love to introduce this endearing character to youth across Central Florida, many of whom see themselves in Marcus.

In 2019 we are excited to continue important programs including classes where people with unique abilities can learn to express themselves through the art of puppetry and movement. These classes will be held at our studio and are open to the public. To register, contact  

It is through the generosity of donors like you that allow us to continue empowering lives through the art of puppetry. Click Here to make your tax deductible donation and positively impact the lives of youth.


Make a Pop-up Turkey

Liven up your holiday table with this fun and easy family craft! 

Make a Pop-up Turkey from MicheLee Puppets on Vimeo.

The perfect, surprise table-setting or greeting card AND it’s easy to store. PLUS it’s a great lesson in symmetry.

You will need: 

1 file folder
markers/crayons (for additional decoration)
masking tape
a glue stick or double stick tape,
construction paper (we chose yellow, orange and red)
NOTE: Recommended as a family activity. When working together this activity only takes 15-30 minutes. If you prefer to decorate further, it may extend your time.



Cut Out Your Pieces

File Folder: Trim your file folder to create straight edges. Then cut a 3″ strip off of the bottom of your file folder.
Construction Paper: Cut and fold the construction paper as shown to create turkey feather hearts and a body (be sure to cut from the fold). 
  • For larger heart shapes, fold the paper twice, for smaller shapes fold your paper 3 or 4 times.
  • You may choose to draw 1/2 of a heart on the paper, or simply cut 



1. Glue or tape your hearts to the 3″ file folder strip. Be sure to arrange so that there is a straight edge at the bottom.
2. Glue your turkey body on to the fold of your strip (as shown)
3. Cut off any excess as necessary. NOTE: It is best to decorate before attaching your turkey to your card.

Attach your Turkey

1. Open up your decorated 3″ strip and the remainder of your file folder.

2. Place the strip at an angle (as shown), matching the folds together.

3.Place 2 masking tape strips (approx. 3″ long) on the back of the decorated strip. (as shown).

4. Fold your strip so that the sticky part of the tape is facing up, then close your card and press down to stick. Adjust as necessary for the perfect pop-up.


Be Creative!

Add a name to the front or simply color a design. Then post pictures of your turkeys and tag us on Facebook and Instagram @MicheLeePuppets.

For more MicheLee Puppets Fun:

Check out our Videos 

Book a Show at your school or venue

Attend our Classes and Events