The Shadow Dragon Hand Puppet

This fierce mythical monster is made from flat cardboard parts joined with paper fasteners. In the case of this shadow puppet, there are four control rods, two on the legs, one each on head and tail. The puppet could be simplified, with a single fixed rod to hold the dragon's body against the screen, a rod on head and tail, and the legs dangling free. The dragon (or any other puppet) can be made to puff smoke with the addition of a fine rubber tube running up a fixed rod to the body and along behind the puppet to the mouth or nostrils. For a regular hand puppet, run the tubing up under the skirt to the head.

Shadow Dragon Hand Puppet

Smoke can be puffed into the tube by mouth, or, if both the puppeteer's hands are occupied, with a foot bellows. Through similar use of tubing, puppets and props can be made to spout water and even confetti, as with the compressed air toy cannon opposite. One last special trick: shadow waves can be made of silhouette cutouts that can be shifted back and forth one behind the other to simulate the rhythm of the seas. These can simply be two cutouts held by hand, or can be mounted on swivels as shown. With some experimentation, they can even be animated mechanically and driven by a small electric motor.