Giant Puppets are a great way for students to learn how to work together! This can be a 1 or 2 week project, depending on the materials, level of complexity, age and skill-level, and whether you’d like to include an element of performance. Usually, this type of puppet-making is done by a team of students working together. Groups work together to create the head, hands/paws (if any), and body. The puppet head can be mounted on a tall pole, carried by hand or tied to a backpack-frame; or carried as a “dragon”-caterpillar line with 2 or more students as the body. This project is best for grades 3 and up.
Types of Giant Puppets are as follows:
Flat Cardboard Puppets: These simple puppets have a striking impact, and can be very useful as props or backdrops in telling a story visually, especially for larger audiences.
A variation of this is the “box-head” Giant puppet, that is made out of cardboard, but also 3D. See the yellow dragon photo, above.
Stuffed-Bag-Base Giant Puppet heads:
A form is created out of plastic bags stuffed with newspaper or other materials. This form is covered in layers of Paper-mache, which is later removed from the armature. This process is fun and fast, cleaner and cheaper than using a clay-based form. A disadvantage is it’s more difficult to get complex shapes.
Clay-Base Giant Puppet heads:
This process is very messy, more expensive, and time-consuming than a stuffed-bag-base, but the results are worth it, if what you’re looking for is realism or greater control over the finished look of the puppet. The method is the same as for the stuffed-bag, except that a layer of clay is added before the paper-mache process begins. This clay can be molded and shaped into the exact desired form. The layers of paper-mache capture that shape, and is removed from the base after it’s dry. The giant “mask” is then painted and mounted to a pole, or otherwise assembled into a body.