Halloween Pop-Up Cone Puppet Tutorial

After finishing up my witch doll cone puppet over the weekend, the girls were eager to make their own.

Guess what we did yesterday after school?

Here is what you'll need for this simple, fun, seasonal project:
- Paper mache cones - I found the ones we used in the Christmas section at Michael's. If you can't find the paper mache kind (don't forget to check online!), you can make your own out of poster-board.
- Wooden dowel sticks
- Styrofoam balls or wooden balls - These are for the heads. You can also make a Waldorf or cloth doll head (like I used for my puppet), or even just some stuffing, depending on the type of puppet you're making.
- White/black/green socks or tights (or orange if you're making a pumpkin!) - This is a great project for those lone socks you may have laying around. Or for tights that have a hole or snag. Just make sure the socks are large enough. Adult socks work best. FYI, we used child-sized white tights for the ghost(s) below.
- Various craft supplies/Halloween decorations - You name it...paint, pom-pom trims, ribbons, stickers, felt, glitter, etc.

Here is some of what we had on hand (minus the socks/tights and paints).

And here is what we did...
1. Saw off the end of the cone(s) to make a snug opening for the dowel and decorate! My girls wanted to paint their cones. You/your child could also use paper, fabric**, felt...whatever you'd like!

2. Glue dowel stick into Styrofoam head. If you and your child are using a wooden head, paint it first (I'll explain why below***). In the picture below, my daughter is using the dowel to hold the wooden head...nothing has been glued yet.

For the ghost and cat:
3. Cover the head with the sock (we used old white tights for the ghost(s) and a stray black sock for the cat) and tie/secure around neck.

For the witch***:
3. Insert wooden dowel into black sock and then glue to the wooden head. Make sure the hole drilled into the wooden head is large enough for the sock and dowel.

Once the glue has set, for all three puppets:
4. Fit the sock around the top of the cone, deciding on the approximate height of the puppet when fully extended. Cut the sock so that 3/4 - 1 inch remains below the top of the cone.

5. Glue the bottom edge of the sock to the upper outside ridge of the cone.

6. Glue a trim around the upper edge of the cone to partially hide the edge of the sock.

7. Keep on decorating!

8. Add faces and features! Eyes. Ears. Hair. A witch's hat. My girls helped each other with this part. Mainly, my oldest daughter helped the other two.

And there you go!

**Earlier in the day, I made this ghost pop-up cone puppet with my youngest daughter (she's 2 1/2). I wasn't sure how engaged she'd be with this project. So initially, I used fabric backed with Heat-and-Bond Lite and we glued that to the cone (over the tights) and then added the trim. My oldest later finished the ghost's face.

Simple enough!

But, it turns out, my youngest was really into painting with her sisters and wanted to do another puppet. Pink and purple paint, of course.

And she's pretty happy with the result.


  1. This looks like so much fun! I have never heard of puppets that pop out of cones! I'll definitely do this with my children. Thanks!

  2. I really like these. The cat is my favorite. I remember seeing a craft project for making a cone puppet that was so cute, but at the time I wasn't sure what I could use for the cone. I ended up abandoning the idea. I'm so glad you let me know about these paper mache cones, although it sounds like I had better act fast if they're a seasonal item.

  3. @Grace - It is a fun easy project. I'm sure your kids will enjoy it!

    @ Shari - I also found the cones online! Even on etsy. But check out Michael's first, for sure. :)

  4. I cant wait to try this one day. Thanks So much for sharing.

  5. Argh! These are beautiful!!! What a great tutorial, with lovely photos too! How clever are you?! xx

  6. I'm so super excited about finding your blog! I love this tutorial, your gorgeous photo's and all the colour & joy in your posts. I see too that we have the same Mary Francis book!! Wow. Do pop over and say hi sometime, I'd love to keep in touch xo

  7. Oh, fun! I had a toy like this when I was a kid, but I have never made one.

  8. Eek! Those are so cute. I would love to make an owl one.

  9. Found you via Crafty Crow! I love these! My daughter would love making these with me! Thanks so much for sharing!!! :)

  10. Thanks everyone! They are fun and so easy to make. I made an Easter Bunny pop-up puppet once when I was a kid that peeked out of the ground. My aunt had us use soup cans, covered with a white sock (the sock went all the way over the outside of the can and tucked in at the bottom. The can was then covered with green felt and trim/Easter eggs, etc. I believe we used a cardboard circle covered in felt to cover the bottom of the can (with a hold for the stick). I remember that project with my aunt so well...

  11. Love this. Just featured it in fact.


    Make sure to grab our button!

  12. I have a scarecrow ceramic cone pop up puppet I would like to know more about it

  13. Like if it's worth anything. And how old it is

  14. Like if it's worth anything. And how old it is

  15. I have a scarecrow ceramic cone pop up puppet I would like to know more about it