Two-faced Puppets

Get two for your little one’s imagination with these easy, recycled puppets. Rescued cartons turn into fantastic friends with the power of your preschooler’s divergent thinking and dramatic play.


Be sure to clean recycled cartons thoroughly with hot, soapy water and give them enough time to dry completely. And remember, the more materials you have to use, the messier this activity will be. Prepare your child, your area and yourself. Our FAQ page has more cover-up tips if you need them.

MATERIALS - click to buy
  1. 1 Quart (946 mL) paper carton, recycled from cream, juice or milk carton like this one found on Amazon - one per child. Any kind of paper carton will do, as long as it’s a size that is child-friendly. If it’s too big then it will be difficult for them to hold and to have fun with. For example, we find that gallon or half-gallon cartons are too large for preschool play. 
  2. Letter-size construction paper in assorted colors like this example. It's the perfect size for wrapping a quart-sized carton.
  3. Big, washable markers or large-sized, preschool-friendly crayons like these. Got questions about art materials for young children? Check out our Materials guide.
  4. Scissors - For adult’s only!
  5. Disappearing glue sticks for light-gluing tasks such as paper
  6. Optional - For more puppet details, grab your goodies like spare buttons, colorful yarn, multi-hued felt squares, self-adhesive wiggle eyes, sparkly sequins or fun feathers …
  7. Optional - Fast-drying glue, such as Aleene’s found here to glue heavier items like buttons and felt.
  1. Wash your cartons with hot, soapy water. Rinse and let dry.
  2. Skilly Spark: Let’s take a good look at this carton. How do you think we can make an interesting puppet out of it? Chat about what kind of playmate they want to make, a person, a story character, an animal, or even an imaginary creature. Guess what? You can use both of its sides & make two puppets! One puppet or two? Take a moment to talk with your child about what they choose and why.
  3. Adults, close the spout and cut a hole in the  bottom of the carton large enough for your child’s four fingers. They will put four fingers inside and their thumb on the outside to animate their creation.
  4. Give your child the carton and glue. Now let them go to it, covering the carton with glue on all of its sides.
  5. Then, wrap the carton with construction paper. Line up the paper’s shortest side to the top, covering all the carton’s four sides lengthwise. You can also cover the spout if you'd like. Older children, ages 4 years and up can help do this. If the paper is too big, Adults, please cut off any excess. Press the paper to the carton to be sure it’s stuck on thoroughly!
  6. Let’s give this shape character! On one side of the carton, your child can use markers, crayons, buttons, and creative bits you have on hand to add any facial details they’d like. More details, like fur or clothing can be drawn or glued all around the sides. Scraps of felt can become a tail, clothing or even a nose. 
  7. To make appendages like feet, arms or tails, cut pieces of construction paper into feet shapes and glue them on. Older children can cut or tear these shapes. You may need to cut them for younger children, under 4 years old. 
  8. Something still missing? Add yarn for hair, feathers for a special hat or wings, or any other funky additions your child sees fit.
  9. Let’s do two for one. If your child’s interest persists, use the side opposite of your puppet’s face to make another puppet friend! Who could it be?
  10. To play with the puppet, simply put four fingers in the carton's bottom, keeping thumb out to hold and move it. If your little one has chosen to make a two-faced puppet, swing it around and express that personality!


Keep the fun going
  • Have a puppet playgroup! Invite your friends to make their own carton creatures and see what adventures you find together.
  • Lay your carton on its side and see what other personalities emerge!