Element 3: Construction of “shadow puppets” and other devices for the shadow theatre and music


Shadow play

Build a device for shadow play and make “shadow puppets”

Design: Emmanuelle Zanfonato and ESAT Évasion

Duration : 30 min per figurine

Age: from age 7

Key words creativity and entrepreneurship: Transformation in production, Persistence, Tolerate failure, Sensibility for problems diversity, Production and overtaking the risks



The shadows can be made

Either by manipulating figurines, cut shapes, different materials (string, wire, liquid, …) directly positioned on the overhead projector’s illumination screen;


either by manipulating puppets with shadows or by being shadows in the space between the cloth screen and the overhead projector.


The game can be interactive between shadow manipulators on the overhead projector and body shadows.

The light of the overhead projector is sufficient in both cases, it is not necessary to use a projector. However, it is also possible to use pocket lamps if it is desired to produce more localized and moving lighting effects.


Manufacture and introduction of dragonflies

05 Projet Libellule 3

Snips and pliers
Tarlatane (stiff cotton fabric with a visible weft)
Rigid and flexible wire
Sewing needles and thread

The river

How to make a shadow / fish?

Wires, pliers, tarlatan, tape

Shadow /fish manipulated near the screen

06 Poissons ombres manipulés près de l'écran

The river seen from the sky


Several metres of transparent acetate sheets, taped crinkled florist plastic film, paper tape. Acetate sheets blackened with ink, cut and scraped as wished

Preparation for scratching

Transparent acetate sheets, Chinese ink, brush, hair dryer

07 Préparation pour grattage

Fish scraped and cut

Inked acetate sheets, nail scissors, metal rod

08 Grattage et découpage

Fish manipulated in the river via the overhead projector

09 Poissons manipulés dans la rivière sur rétroprojecteur

Scraped frogs

10 Grenouilles grattées


Gels for overhead projectors, cut and hung on wires

Colour variation and verbal expression

Different colours indicate changes of musical mode.

Mobile to manipulate the shadows and musical improvisation guided by an English horn






12 Mobile à manipuler en ombre et improvisation musicale

13 Matériel – confettis de gélatines – feutres

Confetti gels cut in the shape of flower petals, felt for plastic surfaces






The wave

2 sheets of acetate, clear dishwashing liquid, coloured ink, brush

Preparing the wave

14 Préparation vague

An undulating wave on a musical piece for flute and guitar


The pupils are able to:

  • build their own figurines;
  • manipulate;
  • play with shadows.


1 overhead

Depending on the size of the screen: 1 screen of stretched fabric or paper hanging on a bar resting on 2 feet of projectors, but also, for a smaller screen, on one or more clothes carriers.