FLAT ANIMATION PUPPETS – Texture, Shape, Colour

Students use modeling clay pressed onto Bristol board or cardstock to create a small figure with moveable parts suitable for stop-motion animation.

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 1 to Grade 10


Language Arts
Visual Arts
Media Literacy
Director's Cut



Crayola Modeling Clay - Multiple Colours Crayola Glue Sticks Crayola Scissors Bristol Board or Cardstock Paper - 13.9 cm x 21.6 cm (5.5" x 8.5") Pencils

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FLAT ANIMATION PUPPETS – Texture, Shape, Colour - Step One

Step One

  1. Start by making a rough sketch of your character.
  2. Draw a good copy of your character on a piece of Bristol board.
  3. Make the drawing from 10 cm (4") to 15 cm (6") tall.
FLAT ANIMATION PUPPETS – Texture, Shape, Colour - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Decide which parts you want to have move, for example, the head and arms.
  2. Cut out the body so the moveable parts are separate pieces. 
  3. Glue small extensions of Bristol board long enough to tuck under the main body to the ends of the moveable pieces. 
FLAT ANIMATION PUPPETS – Texture, Shape, Colour - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Press a thin layer of modeling clay onto the surface of the Bristol board.
  2. Blend two colours or more together to get new colours.
  3. Use a pencil or toothpick to create texture.
  4. Cover the entire surface of the Bristol board, including the extensions with modeling clay.
FLAT ANIMATION PUPPETS – Texture, Shape, Colour - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Use the downshoot camera angle to film your character in a story you have written. 
  2. Make the background for your story using a lesson plan available on this website, for example,
    Media Underwater Scene
    Media Landscape Scene
    Media Suburban Scene
    City Setting
    Setting the Scene


Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a small paper character with moveable parts;
  • use modeling clay to add colour and texture to their character;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity;
  • use the downshoot camera angle to film their character in a story they have written; 
  • express and support their opinions about the artworks.


Have students:

  • work in teams to create a How To Make a Modeling Clay Flat Animation Puppet demonstration video;
  • share their videos with another class.


  1. Pre-cut the Bristol board or cardstock paper - 13.9 cm x 21.6 cm (5.5" x 8.5").
  2. Download and display the Colour, Texture and Shape posters available on this website.
  3. Make a sample.
  4. Download or bookmark several Paper Cut-Out Animation videos from the Internet.
  5. Review the characteristics of an effective story.
    - hook at beginning
    - main character who must achieve a goal
    - problem to be solved
    - satisfying solution
  6. Provide time for students to write a short story about a topic that interests them.


  1. View one or two of the videos and talk about what makes them interesting, and in particular the look of the characters in the story.
  2. Ask students what they know about how the videos were made, and explain what stop-motion animation is.
    - a type of film making where the characters and sets are slowly moved and photographed so that when they are viewed in sequence it gives the illusion of movement
  3. Explain that they are going to learn how to make a 2-dimensional, Bristol board and modeling clay figure that can be used in a stop-motion animation using the downshoot camera angle.
    - the camera is pointed down towards the table 
  4. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Create a small paper character with moveable parts.
  2. Use modeling clay to add colour and texture to your character.
  3. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  4. Use the downshoot camera angle to film your character in a story you have written. 
  5. Express and support your opinions about the artworks.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - created a character out of Bristol board that has moveable parts 
    - used a thin layer of modeling clay to apply different colours to the Bristol board
    - created texture
    - added details that make the figure interesting
    - kept the finished character in good condition
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work. 
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Place students into small groups. 
  2. Ask them to: 
    - Compare their work and describe to each other what they did to get certain effects.
    - Discuss the personalities of each character and what they see that makes them think that.
    - Talk about was difficult and what was easy for them.
  3. Share ideas with the whole class. 
  4. Ask them to tell how they felt about doing this activity.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their artworks – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, holds puppet to the side, 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 - FlatPuppet_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads - FlatPuppetPrimary_self-assessment.pdf or FlatPuppet_self-assessment.pdf)