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Make Creepy Cardboard Puppets

Creep out your friends and create a holiday tradition with scrap cardboard and glue.

Today we’re making a cardboard puppet of Tim for a Secret Santa party.

Find a large cardboard box. You can look in the shipping department where you work, or stop by a supermarket and have them check the back. Find something that doesn’t have meat juice on it.

Next, create an image in Photoshop that will fit inside the dimensions of the biggest flattest side of the box. Try to make the smallest end under 24″, most quick printers should be able to print that width and as long as you need it on their big roll of cheap paper.


Cut out the elements and leave plenty of white space around them. This will allow the glue to go all the way to the edge to reduce peeling.


Do one piece at a time, and spread that glue around. I used wood glue because it’s all I had and it said it worked on paper. Regular school glue will work fine too. Hot glue might be dangerous based on the paper thickness.


Place the glued elements on the cardboard and lightly work out the air pockets from the center. Some glue will seep out and that’s fine, you’re cutting that off later.


Find another sheet of cardboard and weigh down the elements with some heavy books to facilitate drying. Those thick books you couldn’t sell from your Survey of Art classes will work really well.


Carefully cut out all the pieces and use a cutting board to protect that table your mom gave you when you moved out of her basement. Use a sharp blade. Dull blades do more damage if you cut your fingers off. Also don’t cut your fingers off.

If your puppet has hands, you’ll need to glue scrap cardboard to the backs so you can wave them around awkwardly later. Clamps are suggested for such a small glue area.


For advanced puppetry, glue or tape a broken rubber band to the back of the mouth hole so the teeth dangle and can be puppeteered independently from the head.

That’s it!

Practice an awkward inbred cartoon voice on the drive to the party and whip this thing out once everyone’s on their second drink.


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