Simple Hand Puppet

You will need:

  • Paper tube (from a toilet paper or paper towel roll)
  • Newspaper or recycled paper
  • Masking tape
  • Scissors
  • Papier mache paste (click here to watch a how-to video about Papier Mache Paste. You will need help from an adult or permission to use the stove.)
  • More newspaper, recycled paper, or brown grocery bag for papier macheing (click here to watch a how-to video about Papier Mache)


    1. 1. Cut a piece of the paper tube, about two or three inches long.
    2. 2. Cut the piece of paper tube lengthwise (so that it can unroll), then wrap it around your pointer and middle fingers, then tape it shut again so that it is tight around your two fingers. This will be the “neck” of your hand puppet.
    3. 3. Take a piece of newspaper and crumple/shape it into a “head” shape for your puppet. It can be big, small, round, square – whatever you would like!  Add pieces of masking tape so that it can hold its shape.
    4. 4. Tape your “head” to the “neck”. This might take a few pieces of masking tape.
    5. 5. Now add your features! Take smaller bits of paper to roll into a mouth, squish into eyes, or shape into a nose.  You can add horns, ears, warts…whatever details your puppet needs.  Tape these features onto your puppet‘s “head”.  When you are finished, you will have a tape-y, paper-y puppet.
    6. 6. Papier mache over your whole puppet (see Papier Mache How-to video). Add one or two layers of papier mache.  Let it dry for a few hours or overnight.
    7. 7. Finish off your puppet by painting it or coloring the head with markers! You can also add a sock “body” by cutting off the toe of an old sock and gluing, taping, or stapling the sock to the “neck” of your puppet. Cut a hole on each side of the sock for your fingers to fit through (have an adult help you), these will be your puppet‘s “arms”.
    8. 8. Go off and develop your own puppet show!

Watch this how-to video to get started

Search Mia’s collection to find more artworks to inspire you

Artwork here

Gelede mask with puppet, c. 2000 Yoruba. Wood, pigments, plastic, cotton cloth. Gift of John and Christine Kitchner in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2015.5.

Puppeteer Holding Puppet on Go Board, around 1900. After Katsushika Hokusai. Woodblock print (surimono); ink and color on paper. Gift of Louis W. Hill Jr, P.78.63.32.