How to make a dancing dragon marionette

Break out the craft supplies and make this awesome fire-breathing dragon marionette with your kids. Then, it's time for a puppet show!

Make this recycled craft with your kids, then put on a puppet show with your new scaly friend.

green tissue paper squares glued on to toilet paper roll
Photo: Roberto Caruso

1. Apply Mod Podge to one full toilet paper roll (this will be your dragon’s body) and one roll that’s been halved crosswise. Stick on green tissue paper squares—it’s OK if the tissue overlaps. Tuck the tissue paper ends into the ends of the rolls. Once both rolls are covered with paper, seal it by applying another layer of Mod Podge. Let dry.

toilet paper roll covered with green tissue paper
Photo: Roberto Caruso

2. To create your dragon’s spikes, cut triangles out of green foam. They can be as tall as you’d like. Use hot glue to fasten the foam pieces in a line spanning about three-quarters of the length of the dragon’s body. Note: If you use white glue, you’ll have to hold each spike in place for a few minutes to make sure it sticks.

hand tracing on green construction paper
Photo: Roberto Caruso

3. Now it’s time to make the wings. Using our template, trace a pair of wings onto green foam. Cut out the wings and hot-glue them to the back of the dragon’s body on either side of the spikes.

stringing green beads on twine attached to puppet body
Photo: Roberto Caruso

4. Punch four holes in the belly of the body for legs: two at the front and two at the back. Cut four equal-size pieces of string. Pull each string through a hole, tying a knot inside the tube to secure. Bead each string, knotting at the bottom. Glue googly eyes to pompoms and stick to the top of the halved roll (the head). Glue two pompoms at the front of the head for nostrils.

cutting out orange and yellow tissue paper
Photo: Roberto Caruso

5. To create fire, take narrow strips of orange and yellow tissue paper and cut triangles out of one side. Glue the strips together and adhere inside the dragon’s head. To attach the head and body, make a hole at the top of the body and the bottom of the head, then feed a long piece of string through a straw. Thread the ends of the string through the holes and knot to secure.

popsicle sticks and strings
Photo: Roberto Caruso

6. To make the dragon a marionette, glue two large wooden craft sticks together to form a cross. Cut two long pieces of string, one a few inches shorter than the other. Glue the strings to each end of one of the wooden sticks, then cover with tape to reinforce. Punch a hole at the back of the head and the back of the body. Tie the strings through the holes, threading the shorter one through the head. Now you have a dancing dragon!

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