Today I’m excited to share some moving stick puppets. This is a fun STEAM craft idea which features characters based on the newly-released book My Color is Rainbow written by Agnes Hsu of Hello Wonderful and illustrated Yulia Gwilym.
note: we were gifted a copy of My Color is Rainbow for the purposes of this review
I’ve always had a thing for unicorns and rainbows, so I was delighted to be offered the chance to review the book My Color is Rainbow. The story follows the main character Little white arch, who has trouble making up his mind what colour he wants to be. He experiments with all the colours of the rainbow on gorgeously illustrated pages, finally deciding that he shall be Rainbow. Along the way he is always accompanied by a vibrant, frolicking unicorn.
The underlying message of the book is that it’s OK to be yourself whoever that may be, which is something that all people can relate to. Even though my girls are aged 7 and 8 now they still enjoyed this story (I don’t think you’re ever too old for picture books), but it would be perfect for the pre-school age group as well as younger children just learning about colours.
I decided to create stick puppets based on the two characters, and they are extra special because they can move and change along with the story. If you pull the string on the unicorn puppet his legs ‘gallop’ by moving up and down. The rainbow puppet is double-sided; on one side he’s Little white arch, then flip him over to reveal a Rainbow arch. So fun!
How to make the unicorn and rainbow stick puppets:
You will need:
• Scrap cardboard
• Lead pencil
• Acrylic or poster paint
• Felt scraps in black cut to the shape of the unicorns mane and tail
• A black permanent marker (a sharpie or similar)
• Bamboo skewers (the thin kind)
• Something pointy to poke holes with (like the pointy end of a compass or similar)
Making the cardboard shapes:
- Copy a rough outline of each character from the book onto your piece of scrap cardboard.
- For the unicorn character sketch out one leg separate to the body and cut it out. Trace around this piece to create a second leg exactly the same size.
- For the rainbow character sketch one rainbow, cut it out then trace around it to make a second rainbow exactly the same size. Once you’ve cut your shapes out paint and decorate them to look like the characters in the story.
Constructing the unicorn stick puppet:
- Assemble the pieces you will need to create your unicorn stick puppet.
- Use the pointy end of a compass to create holes to attach the unicorn’s legs to it’s body. You’ll need two holes in the body and one hole in each leg. The holes in the legs should be close to the top but leave a bit of room to attach string above the holes. This is essential for the motion part. Cut a small notch close to the top of each leg above the hole to tie string to later.
- Use a darning needle to thread string through the body and legs. Tie a knot tightly at the front and back of each leg to hold the leg in place – it should be able to swing loosely. I needed a triple/quadruple knot in each place to keep the string from sliding through the hole.
- Poke a thin bamboo skewer into the side of the recycled cardboard to use as a stick. You shouldn’t need glue to hold it in place.
- Tie a second small piece of string to the top of one leg, sliding it into the notch you cut earlier to keep it in place. Tie the other end to the top of the other leg. Tie a third piece of string to the centre of the two pieces adjoining the legs. This piece needs to be long, when you pull on in it it should cause the legs to swing in an upward motion.
- Glue on your felt mane and tail.
Constructing the Rainbow stick puppet:
- Assemble the pieces you’ll need to create the rainbow stick puppet.
- Poke the bamboo skewer directly into the side of one of the rainbows. Glue the other rainbow to it back to back.
Now they’re all ready to use in play or as props for reading the story. They make a great DIY toy which my kids loved!
Now I have gone all fancy and created an animated gif so you can see it in action…
You might also like:
• Cardboard tube unicorns (from the ebook Happy Handmade)
• Rainbow Magic fairy spoon dolls
• Cardboard tube sheep from the book Where is the Green Sheep?
• Craft stick fairy castle with mini craft stick fairies
We also have a Book Crafts board on Pinterest, totally dedicated to story book crafts!