Cardboard Marionette

This construction technique uses scrap pieces of cardboard, folded into open segments and linked together with paper clips. 

You will need:

  • Scrap cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun
  • Paper clips
WARNING! BURN HAZARD! Hot glue is very sticky and it's easy to accidentally burn your fingertips. Be careful when using it.

Cardboard Limbs


Cut a rectangle of cardboard approximately 2"x3" and fold into thirds. The leg segments you may want to size slightly larger.

Glue small squares of cardboard to the ends of the folded rectangle.

Make 8 of these segments (2 for each arm and 2 for each leg).

Link Segments


Use something sharp to poke a hole in the end of each segment.

Insert a paperclip into this hole in the cardboard.

Push paper clips most of the way in and use dabs of hot glue to hold paper clips in place. 

Allow a few minutes to cool before moving the linked segments around.



Cut a larger rectangle of cardboard and fold two flaps along slightly angled lines. 

Glue cardboard strips along the top and bottom to hold the folded flaps in place. 

Connect the arm linkages to the torso using the same paperclip technique as before.



As with the arms, build two leg linkages, connecting each with paper clips and gluing the paper clips in place with hot glue.

Hands and Feet


Connect the legs to the torso using paper clips.

Glue some cardboard hands and feet onto the model.

The Head


Make a head out of a folded strip of cardboard.

Insert a paper clip into the bottom of the head and top of the torso to link them together.

A small hole poked in the top of the head will allow for a string to be threaded through which will be used to support the marionette.

Add Strings


Use thin wire or string to connect limbs to servo extensions

Your marionette should now be ready to dance!

This guide was first published on Feb 27, 2019. It was last updated on May 20, 2024.

This page (The Build) was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

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