BIG MOUTH PUPPET – Colour, Texture, Detail

Students use paper towel rolls, paint and construction paper to create a big mouth puppet using decorative details, colour and texture to express the character’s personality. 

Required Time

120 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 2 to Grade 6


Language Arts
Visual Arts


character colour detail form gesture role


Crayola Project Paint Crayola Construction Paper - 120 Count Crayola Scissors Crayola No-Run School Glue Crayola Paint Brushes - 4 Count Masking Tape Paper Towel Rolls - 1 ½ per student Pipe Cleaners Googly Eyes Dowels - 30.5 cm (12") - 1 per student Hot Glue Guns Hot Glue Sticks Decorative Items Water Containers Paper Towels

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BIG MOUTH PUPPET – Colour, Texture, Detail - Step One

Step One

  1. Use one and a half paper towel tubes.
    - Make sure you cut one roll in half and do not use a toilet tissue roll which is not the right size.
BIG MOUTH PUPPET – Colour, Texture, Detail - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Cut the full paper towel roll from one end to the other lengthwise.
BIG MOUTH PUPPET – Colour, Texture, Detail - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Put hot glue along half the length of the dowel.
  2. Fasten the dowel to the inside edge of the long paper towel roll.
  3. Leave the unglued half of the dowel hanging out of the bottom of the roll for a handle.
BIG MOUTH PUPPET – Colour, Texture, Detail - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Gently squeeze the long roll together so it will fit inside the short roll.
  2. Hold this measurement and remove the short roll.
  3. Tape the long roll back together making sure it stays slightly thinner than the short roll.
  4. Test to be sure the short roll will move up and down the long roll easily, but not fall off if you hold it upright.
BIG MOUTH PUPPET – Colour, Texture, Detail - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Draw a long mouth on the long roll.
  2. Insert the long roll into the short roll.
  3. Mark the width of the mouth on the short roll and then remove it. 
  4. Cut out a semi-circle for the bottom of the mouth on the short roll.
BIG MOUTH PUPPET – Colour, Texture, Detail - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Paint the inside of the mouth black.
  2. Measure 5 cm down from the mouth end of the short roll.
  3. Paint this part the same colour as the long roll so it will match the face.
  4. Paint the rest of the short roll the colour you want the shirt to be. 
BIG MOUTH PUPPET – Colour, Texture, Detail - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Cut a strip of construction paper about 6 cm x 30 cm for the arms.
  2. Fold the strip of paper in half long end to long end. 
  3. Open the paper up and spread a line of glue along the fold
  4. Place a pipe cleaner along the glue line.
  5. Add more glue and fold the paper in half to stick it all together. 
BIG MOUTH PUPPET – Colour, Texture, Detail - Step Eight

Step Eight

  1. Fold the paper in half short end to short end. 
  2. Cut on an angle from the short end towards the centre fold. 
  3. Open up the paper and glue it to the short roll to make the arms.
BIG MOUTH PUPPET – Colour, Texture, Detail - Step Nine

Step Nine

  1. Use paper sculpture techniques and a variety of materials to complete the puppet.
  2. Insert the long roll into the small roll.
  3. Practice holding the dowel and moving the small roll up and down to open and close the mouth.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • use the elements and principles of design to create a puppet with a distinct personality;
  • use the element of role to establish and introduce a character;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity;
  • respond to the work of their peers; 
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the works.


  1. Place students into small groups.
  2. Have them work with their puppet characters to develop a story worth telling. (This could be connected to a theme you are studying.)
  3. Remind them to establish a clear setting, develop relationships among the characters and to create a story that shows the characters encountering some kind of problem and figuring out how to resolve it.
  4. Have students write and refine the script, and decide on how best to present it – props, backdrops, sound effects etc.
  5. Allow students plenty of time to practise and rehearse their stories.
  6. Consider taping the audio portion of the play and simply moving the puppets to the sound track.
  7. Finally, present the plays to your own class and/or others.
  8. Video the performances throughout so students may view their works in progress.
  9. Be sure to include lots of peer assessment throughout the process so students can learn from each other.


  1. Prior to this lesson you may want to have students explore paper sculpture techniques using the Exploring Paper lesson plan available on this website.
  2. Create a sample big mouth puppet to show students.
  3. Place desks in groups of about 6.
  4. Arrange construction paper separated by colour, decorative items, paper towel rolls and dowels on a central table.
  5. Place glue, masking tape, and scissors in a small basket – one for each group.
  6. Place paint kits in a central location – one for each group.
  7. Place the hot glue guns and glue sticks in a separate location. 


  1. Ask students to think about someone they know who really stands out in their mind. It could be an actual person, or a character from a movie or TV show.
    - Close your eyes and imagine you are with that person right now.
    - What characteristics do you notice?
    - What is interesting about this character?
  2. Allow students to share a few things that interest them about their characters.
  3. Make a list of characteristics such as gestures, clothes, hairstyles, facial expressions, etc.
  4.  Introduce the challenge


The Challenge

  1. Create a puppet with enough details that the viewer will have some ideas about its personality just by looking at it.
  2. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  3. Respond to the work of others.
  4. Support your ideas with evidence found in the artworks.

The Process

  1. Explain to students that they are going to create a big mouth puppet. The puppet must have enough details that the viewer will have some ideas about its personality just by looking at it. For example,
    - When you look at my puppet what do you think? What kind of a personality does he have? What do you see that makes you say that?
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - carefully constructed my puppet so the mouth moves easily and does not fall off
    - used colour and texture to show the puppet's personality 
    - added details to give clues about my puppet's personality
    - kept the puppet in good condition
  3. Ask one student from each group to pick up one full paper towel roll and one half roll for each person at their table.
  4. Ask one student from each group to pick up a scissors basket for their table.
  5. Ask one student from each group to pick up a paint kit for their table.
  6. Walk the students through the process of cutting the long paper towel roll and gluing the dowel to it using the hot glue gun.
    - Have students come to the hot glue gun table when their roll is cut.
  7. Once that part is ready guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  8. Observe students as they work. 
  9. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Place students into pairs.
  2. Ask them to take on the role of their puppet. Ask them to take turns introducing themselves in role and learning as much as they can about each other. Remind them that they should be working the puppet while they do this as if the puppet is doing the talking.
  3. Then ask students to remain in role and introduce their partner’s puppet to the rest of the class, providing 3 details about the puppet as part of the introduction. For example, “I’d like to introduce Jamal. He is 13 years old, loves to bug the referee at soccer games and thinks he might become a singer on Canadian Idol.”
  4. Discuss:
    How did the information about the puppet fit with the way it looked?
    How did the action of the puppet(s) contribute to the effectiveness of the introduction?
    How did the puppet’s voice affect the introduction?
    How well could you hear what was being said?
  5. Ask students to place their puppets on their tables.
  6. Provide sticky notes at each table.
  7. Ask students to view the puppets and select three to comment on. They should write their own name on the sticky note as well as a specific comment that says something they like or find interesting about the puppet. They then place the sticky note beside the puppet. Remind them that they have to provide details about what they like, e.g.,
    You can’t just say, “I really like your puppet. You have to say what you like about the puppet; for example, I really like the way you used the colour purple for the face of your puppet. It makes him seem extra funny and is more interesting than a real skin colour.”


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their puppets – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to details on the puppet, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - Puppet_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads - Puppet_self-assessment.pdf)
  6. Assess the sticky note comments.