While the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry is closed to visitors, we still want to bring you exciting puppetry-related events online!
We will offer short, puppet-building and craft workshops via Facebook Live every Wednesday and Friday at 2 p.m. EST!
Wednesday, 6/10: “Jellyfish Puppet Workshop” with UConn Puppet Arts senior Elise Vanase
Make an ethereal jellyfish with life-like movements out of just a paper bowl and a plastic bag! Recommended for ages 5+.
Materials needed: paper bowl, scissors, plastic bags, paint or markers, yarn, tape or hot glue
Friday, 6/12: “Make a Puppet of Your Pet!” with UConn Puppet Arts senior Elise Vanase
Do you love your pets as much as we do? Come make a rod puppet of one of them! Recommended for ages 7+.
Materials needed: newspaper, masking tape, paint, yarn or string, 3 one-foot-long sticks (chopsticks, skewers, unused pencils, or even straws will all work!)
Wednesday, 3/25: “Paper Puppets” led by Ballard Institute graduate assistant and UConn Puppet Arts student Felicia Cooper
Using paper, tape, and scissors, create fun and funky characters! Recommended ages: 4+
Materials needed: paper, tape, scissors, markers, crayons, pencils
Friday, 3/27: “Fun Toy Theater Workshop!” with Ballard Institute Director John Bell
Make and perform a miniature 2-D puppet spectacle about anything your heart desires, using household materials and re-purposed images. See Great Small Works’ “Short, Entertaining History of Toy Theater” here: https://vimeo.com/41259631. Recommended ages: 7+
-a cardboard box (any size will do; small is good)
-cardboard (cereal box cardboard is best)
-images from magazines, newspapers, or the internet
-gluestick or white glue
-coathanger wire, barbecue skewers, pencils, or other like objects
-if you want to get fancy: hot glue gun, pliers, string or fishline
Wednesday, 4/1: Simple Dinosaur Marionette Workshop led by UConn Puppet Arts graduate student Abby Bosley
Make a simple dinosaur or dragon string puppet using things you have laying around your home. Recommended ages: 7+ (adult help may be required as there may be poking sharp things into paper or plastic cups)
-2 toilet paper rolls (or a paper towel roll cut in half) or 2 paper cups (plastic also works)
-string, yarn, or ribbon
-popsicle sticks, straws, sticks, or pencils
-something for feet like bottle caps from soda bottles, washers, buttons, beads
-anything else to decorate your puppet (pipe cleaners, beads, tissue paper, fabric, etc)
-hot glue is optional
Friday, 4/3: Hand Shadows Workshop led by UConn Puppet Arts student Tracy Becker
Have you ever made hand shadows on a wall? Learn how to create hand shadow shows with shadow people, animals, and more! Recommended ages 5+
Materials needed (besides your hands!):
-light source (flashlight, phone light, or lamp will all work, as long as the light is projected somewhere)
-wall or floor space to project shadows
-paper and scissors is helpful for some puppets, but not required
Wednesday, 4/15: “Rod Puppet Workshop” with Abby Bosley
-cardboard and felt
-construction paper or markers
-items to use for eyes (buttons, plastic Easter eggs, ping pong balls, or egg carton)
-any decorations you’d like to add: feathers, pompoms, and beads
-optional: you can use bits of fluff and cut up rags to make puffy
Wednesday, 4/22: “Mask Making Techniques” with Abby Bosley
Learn to make two different types of masks: one using folded paper or cardboard and one that is made up of just a single cereal box and glue! Recommended ages 5+
-Cereal box (or any box)
-Hot glue, but any glue will work
-String or elastic
-Anything else to decorate (paint, markers, etc)
-Optional Materials: X-Acto blade or box cutter
Learn how to make your very own stop-motion movie at home!
Recommended ages 5+
-Phone or tablet
-Objects for stop motion (This can be anything! Toys, clay, paper, or any type of puppet will all work)
-Optional additional materials: cardboard, a tripod, lamps or flashlights, or any other decorations you might want to use
-Stop Motion Studio Free Version: https://www.cateater.com/
-StikBot Studio 2.0: https://stikbot.toys/app/
Wednesday, 4/29, Friday, 5/1, Wednesday, 5/6: “STEAM Workshops!” with Felicia Cooper
4/29: Session 1: design with recycled materials and work from two dimensions to three to make a prototype puppet! We’ll talk about dimensions and the planning process. For this one, you’ll need tape, recycled materials, cardboard, newspaper, paper, pencil, and a ruler.
5/1: Session 2: Learn about simple machines and how they’re used in puppetry! We’ll engage in an iterative process and think through problem-solving together. You’ll need a spoon, a cup, recycled materials, and a curious mind.
5/6 : Session 3: We’ll apply what we’ve learned in sessions one and two to create a puppet that waves hello! In this session, we’ll discuss methods of attachment, design feedback, and weight transfer. You’ll need recycled materials, newspaper, tape, a dowel or stick, and scissors.
Friday, 5/8: “Ask A Puppeteer!” with Abby Bosley and Tracy Becker
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a professional puppeteer? Now is your chance to ask soon-to-be UConn Puppet Arts graduates Tracy Becker and Abby Bosley any puppetry-related questions you might have! We encourage you to send questions in advance via email (email@example.com) or Facebook! Tracy and Abby will also be showing off puppets they have made and explaining some of their favorite materials to use.
Wednesday, 5/13: “Paper Fortune Teller Puppets” with Elise Vanase
Do you remember making paper fortune tellers in school? Come see how this classic game can be turned into a puppet!
Materials needed: paper (preferably thicker); paint or markers; scissors; hot glue (best option, but glue stick or tape will also work)
Recommended for ages 7 and up.
Friday, 5/15: “Picasso-Inspired Abstract Masks” with Elise Vanase
Embrace the world of abstract in puppetry! Inspired by the iconic painted faces of Picasso, we will create funky handheld masks out of geometrical shapes. Anything goes in creating these—you can’t mess it up!
Materials needed: cereal box/thin cardboard; paint; paint brushes; hot glue (best) or glue sticks; scissors
Recommended for ages 7 and up.
Wednesday, 5/20 and Friday, 5/22: “Two-Part Ping-Pong Ball Hand Puppet Workshop” with Elise Vanase
Hand puppetry doesn’t have to be complicated! In the first part of this series, learn how to make an effective hand puppet using just a ping-pong ball (or other available object) on your finger. We will also explore methods of personalizing this puppet! Hold on to what you created because in the second session of this series, we will explore performance techniques for these puppets using fun exercises!
Materials needed: ping-pong ball (if you don’t have a ping-pong ball, you can sculpt a head using newspaper and masking tape!); X-Acto knife; things to decorate (such as permanent markers, paint, googly eyes, paper, yarn, etc.)
Recommended for ages 5+ (with adult supervision when using the X-Acto knife).
Wednesday, 5/27: “Colorful Coffee Filter Dancers” with Elise Vanase
Make a basic stop-motion figure out of coffee filters and pipe cleaners! Recommended ages: 5+
Materials needed: pipe cleaners, scissors, coffee filters, elastic bands, tray/plate for coloring, markers, water, a stop-motion app (such as Stop Motion Studio https://www.cateater.com/, it has a free, basic version or paid plans)
Friday, 5/29: “Make a Milk Jug Head!” with Elise Vanase
Learn how to make a large puppet head with just a milk jug, paint, and a dash of creativity! Recommended ages: 5+
Materials needed: empty milk jug, paint, paint brushes, paper/plastic bag shreds (for hair), stick/dowel/rod
Wednesday, 6/3: “Wrist Puppet Workshop” with UConn Puppet Arts senior Elise Vanase
Come turn your hand into a walking puppet with just a few simple materials! Recommended age: 4+.
Materials needed: old sock, scissors, hot glue or tape, cereal box cardboard, markers, yarn (optional), pipe cleaners (optional)