Make a Paper Skeleton Puppet for Halloween and Dia De Los Muertos

image of 2 small paper skeletons, one wearing a paper crown and holding a guitar and scarf

This fun paper skeleton puppet for Halloween or El Dia De Los Muertos can be made quickly with a few extra supplies. Instead of sewing the pieces together, as instructed below, you can get some tiny brad paper fasteners and a tiny hole punch.


image of materials needed to make a paper skelton including a paper template, twine, scissors, glue stick, and awl
  • Printout of the paper skeleton artwork. If you’d like a printable that includes instructions, download here.
  • Cardstock at least as thick as a file folder. If you are comfortable cutting thicker cardboard, it makes a better puppet.
  • Thin twine or embroidery thread
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Awl or tiny holepunch


  1. Rough-cut around the pieces and glue them to the cardboard. Let dry.image of paper pieces glued on a file folder to make a paper skeleton
  2. Punch holes on all the black dots with the awl, and on the Xs on the arms and legs. Cut out the inside of the flower necklace. The hat has a hole in the center and cut a slit below the front fringe to insert the top of the head.image of how to make a paper skeleton and where to punch holes in the paper pieces
  3. Sew the paper skeleton together or use tiny brads. Thread the needle and start through the back of the shoulder, through the front of the arm, then tie on the back. Trim the ends.image of how to make a paper skeleton puppet showing the back of the puppet and where to sew small pieces of thread at the skeleton joints
  4. If you want a moveable puppet, attach strings to the X marks. On the back tie a string that goes between the two X marks on the arms. Tie another string between the two Xs on the top of the legs. Tie a string from the center of the arm string to the center of the leg string and leave a long tail. Tie a hanger through the hole above the head.
  5. Add the mask and hat. Thread the hanger string through the holes and then slip the head into the slit in the hat.
  6. The guitar and scarf can be tied on or use removable double stick tape.

Cleo Papanikolas is a painter, author, and educator. Her daily practice classes on Creativebug are Painting Repeat Patterns By Hand: A Daily Practice and Learn to Paint with Gouache: A Daily Practice in Questions and Answers . You can find more of her printable crafts on her website, and while you are there, take a look at her Patreon scarf club.