Thursday, October 20, 2011

Halloween Jumping Jacks

I've been meaning to post another "jumping jack" project for some time.  It seems to fit the Halloween theme so here we go.

 I made up 2 versions for you.

Nothing like an art project you can create and then play with.


- this cardboard, like a cereal box
- scissors, pencil
- gesso
- paint/paintbrush or pencil crayons, felts, crayons, any medium to add color
- paper fasteners
- string
- bead for the pull
- hole punch
- embroidery or crochet weight thread and needle
- ribbon for hanger
- Mod podge, optional


Using templates trace out pieces onto your cardboard and cut out.

With really young kids, (Kinders), I have taken the template and just glued it onto the cardboard.

If you want you can give your pieces a coat of primer or gesso.

When the gesso has dried add color to your "jack".  Decorate with any medium you want, you can add embellishments like googly eyes.

Now you are ready to string your "jack".  It looks more complicated than it is and once you've strung one you can do it in minutes.

The holes on the template are just guidelines.  Put the upper arm into place behind the body piece. Have it sticking straight out and using the hole punch, punch holes thru both pieces.

Now if you want a nice strong puppet you can give all the pieces a coat of Mod podge after you have punched the holes, wait until dry and then assemble.

Slip in a paper fastener.  I'm using the large ones like we have at school but you can get a whole range of sizes and colors now at the craft store.

Bend down your ends, keep it pretty loose.  Sometimes I cut the ends down with the nippers if they stick out too much.

Do all the joints in the same fashion.

Take your crochet or embroidery thread and thread your needle. Make sure the puppet is is a relaxed position, arms and legs down. Now starting with the upper arms push the needle thru the cardboard, placement is important here, it's the little circle marked on the templates.
Tie the string off and then thread to the other arm.  You don't have to make it super tight but there shouldn't be slack in the line connecting the arms.

Do the same with the legs.

Take your string and tie a knot in the middle of the thread joining the arms.

Pass the string down and under the thread joining the legs.

Holding the string down loop it around and tie a knot in the middle of the thread joining the legs.  You need to make sure there is no slack between in the string between the arms and the legs.

Test the mechanism, if it's not working unknot your string and try again!

Tie on a bead for the pull at the end of the string.

Tie a loop in a piece of ribbon and stick to the back of the head of your puppet.

Hang them up or just hold them and you're ready to make them dance.

See you soon for another great giveaway next time.


  1. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [20 Oct 09:00pm GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  2. Love that the jumping jacks were make out of an apple Jacks box! fun stuff!

  3. More brilliance from my favorite art teacher!

    What i thought of immediately when i saw these was that they would be great as yard stakes! (When it is not raining!)

    Love these. And I know the kids loved making them as well.

  4. I am curious as to what type of paint you used on the cardboard (tempera, etc); whenever I use paint on our cereal box crafts, they curl up. What am I doing wrong? Please help; we want to make this craft this weekend!

  5. Thanks everyone, serena g here we are using acrylic but at school we would use tempera Liquid or disk). The secret is that priming layer, if you first prime your cardboard with gesso or white acrylic it will take the paint much better. The cardboard might curl a bit when you first apply the primer but as it dries it flattens out again. Hope that helps and have fun with this project!

  6. These are wonderful projects.
    Very creative.

    Thanks for sharing

  7. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [31 Oct 02:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  8. Hello Gail
    Just LOVED your Halloween creations was wondering do you have a Colour
    version of Them. I'm one of those people who wishes they had the ability to
    paint and create but sadly lack all talent. Hope you make some more of these split
    pin works of art. Halloween is finally taking off in Australia now

    1. Sorry Lynda I don't have a colour version but you could take the pattern and colour it in with markers, paste onto cardboard and then seal it. I would use permanent markers if sealing like coloured sharpie.
      Thanks for the interest.