How to Make Civil War Puppets

by Alice Godfrey

The American Civil War of 1861-1865 was a divisive time for the United States, with soldiers from the North and South fighting each other ferociously. You can make simple hand puppets to represent a soldier from the North and from the South using ordinary household items. Some supplies from a craft store will be needed, but no special tools.

Items you will need

  • 2 brown lunch bags, 6-by-11-by-3 inches
  • Black marker, thick tip
  • 4 craft eyes, jiggling
  • White glue
  • Brown marker, thin tip
  • Black marker, thin tip
  • Red marker, thin tip
  • Blue marker, thick tip
  • Gray marker, thick tip
  • Straight edge
  • 4 craft sticks
  • 2 cotton swabs


Step 1

Hold one of the two lunch bags with the open end facing down. Fold the top left and top right corner of the bag down. Smooth the edges with your finger. Fold the top of the bag toward the middle of the bag. Smooth the crease down.

Step 2

Place the bag on a work surface with the folded-down section facing up. Using the thick-tip black marker, draw a dot at the middle of the folded-down section of the bag to represent a nose.

Step 3

Apply white glue to the back of the two jiggling eyes. Place an eye on either side of the "nose" you have drawn. Press the eyes against the bag and hold them there for a minute before letting go. Draw a horizontal line above each "eye" with the thin-tip brown marker to make the eyebrows.

Step 4

Draw a mouth beneath the nose on the bag with the thin-tip black marker. Draw a colored-in circle against each of the folded ends of the bag, to represent cheeks, with the thin-tip red marker. Make another puppet from the second lunch bag in the same manner.

Step 5

Write "U.S. Cavalry" (without the quotes) across the top of one of the bags above the "eyebrows." Write "C.S.A." (without the quotes) across the top of the other bag above the "eyebrows." Draw a rectangle around the words on each bag using the thin-tip brown marker and a straight edge, to represent the solder's hat.

Step 6

Color in the front of the lunch bag that has "U.S. Cavalry" on it with the thick-tip blue marker to represent the Northern soldier. Repeat this procedure with the other lunch bag, only using the thick-tip gray marker to represent the Southern soldier.

Step 7

Apply white glue to an end of each of the two craft sticks. Place the glued ends of the sticks, which will be the arms, against the left and right sides of your puppet, six inches up from the bottom. Let the glue dry for an hour.

Step 8

Apply white glue to the blunt end of a cotton swab that will be a "rifle." Place the glued end of the swab against the end of one of the two "arms" of your blue-colored puppet. Repeat this procedure with another cotton swab and the gray-colored puppet. Let the glue dry for an hour.

Step 9

Place one of your hands inside the open end of one of your Civil War solder puppets, and other the other hand inside the other puppet. Face the two at each other to begin your "Civil War."

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are showing these puppets to children, you should explain that war is bad and it's better for soldiers not to fight each other.

About the Author

Alice Godfrey is a marketing analyst with more than 15 years of experience in her field. She holds a Ph.D. in social and personality psychology. Past positions include market research analyst at various advertising agencies and corporations. Her articles on a wide variety of issues relating to entertainment have appeared in numerous trade publications.