Simple Nativity Shadow Puppets to retell The Christmas Story

How to Make Shadow Puppets

You can get printable shadow puppets and cut them out yourself or you can order a shadow puppet set from us that has already been cut, and we will ship it to you.

If you want to cut the shadow puppets yourself, there are several ways you could go about it. Read a detailed post with a video about it here.

In short, you can cut the shadow puppet patterns using traditional tools (scissors and a hobby knife) or using silhouette cutting machines (Silhouette or Cricut). The first takes longer, but doesn’t require any special tools at all. The second is very easy and fast, but requires an investment in a specialized machine. Our designs for shadow puppets are saved in PNG format, so that they can be used for either method.


One Comment

  1. Karyn says:

    November 29, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    Thanks so much for the chance to guest post here! Love your site! 🙂


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What Happened?

Were you able to change the size and shape of your puppet’s shadow? First you had to make the shadow by placing the puppet directly in front of the flashlight. You probably did not see a shadow when you placed the circle off to the side instead of directly in front of the flashlight. This happens because light travels in straight lines. In order to block the light, the circle needs to be in front of the flashlight. This created a shadow on the wall that was the same shape as the circle.

You probably noticed that the cardstock circle made the darkest shadow. This happens because cardstock blocks all the light that shines on it. The frosted plastic lets some light through, so it did not make a very good shadow. The clear plastic lets almost all the light through, so it barely casts any shadow at all.

You should have noticed that you could make the puppet’s shadow bigger by moving it closer to the flashlight, and smaller by moving it farther away from the flashlight. When you move the puppet closer to the flashlight, you block more of the light, resulting in a bigger shadow. When you change the angle of the flashlight, you can change the shape of the shadow and even make it distorted and stretched out. A steeper angle will result in a longer shadow.

Related Resources


Open-Ended Shadow Puppets

Open-ended shadow puppets are not based on any particular story or fairy-tale, but instead include a set of familiar characters that will prompt children to make their own stories. They are the most likely to encourage creative storytelling.


  • Be careful if using candles, lamps are recommended.

    Thanks! Helpful 29 Not Helpful 12

  • Be careful when cutting out the cardboard-box and paper.

    Thanks! Helpful 14 Not Helpful 24


Reader Success Stories

  • Lily White

Jun 27, 2020

    Lily White Jun 27, 2020

    “I had a competition where I had to make a puppet show and I thought of shadow puppets. But I did not know how to make them! I tried googling them, but this was the only tutorial which was easy, thank you! ” …” more

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