WPS Garden of Lights Craft: Veggie Tails Paper Pull Puppet

While winter isn’t the best time for growing plants, many Wisconsinites keep a vegetable garden in the warmer months. In fact, it’s estimated that around 35% of households in the United States grow food in their own backyard garden.2

It can be so frustrating to see evidence of critters munching on your precious plants. You’re the one putting in all the hard work, so why should they get the harvest? While many people dislike animals snagging a snack from their garden, it’s important to remember that animals, both domesticated and wild, are an important part of ecosystems. Some might even give your plants a helping hand in return!

PC: Chris Pamperin

Rabbit dung, for example, can be a great free fertilizer to help your garden grow big and strong. It may be a little gross, but as long as you give your produce a good washing, you’re good to go.1

Caterpillars may munch on the leaves of your vegetables, but later in life as butterflies, many of them will serve as important pollinators.1

How you manage your garden is up to you, but make sure you always research a species before you take any measures to keep them out. They may be beneficial to your garden, and it may be an opportunity to support a species in trouble. To learn more, be sure to visit WPS Garden of Lights and check out the “Veggie Tails” display. A garden scene made up of 10,000 dazzling lights, it’s a must see!

Now that you know a little more about household gardens’ interactions with wildlife, let’s get into the craft.

Craft Instructions

The steps are largely the same for both versions of the puppet. To complete the craft, you’ll need cardstock, scissors, coloring tools, metal craft brads, and thick string.

1. Print the attached files on two separate pages (cardstock works best).

2. Color in and cut out the pieces for the puppet.

3. Hole punch the large circles on each piece.

4. Use a smaller hole punch or other implement to create smaller holes above the large ones as indicated in the printout.

5. Align the large holes in the torso with those in the limbs. Use craft brads to attach them. They should be securely fastened but still easy to rotate.

6. Thread string in between the small holes in the arms. Tie to each side. Repeat with the legs.

Note: If you’re assembling the robin, you’ll only need to do this step with the wings.

7. Tie a longer piece of string to the arm string and the leg string. Leave some allowance on the end of the string, so you can pull it to move the puppet.

Note: For the robin, you’ll only need to tie the longer string to the wing string.

8. You’ve completed your puppet!


“Animals In the Garden.” ABC Project, Berry College, sites.berry.edu/abc/animals-in-the-garden/#:~:text=Domesticated%20animals%20such%20as%20rabbits,all%20health%20of%20your%20garden. Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Bir, Courtney, et al. “Personal Gardens: Who Is Growing Their Own in the U.S.?” Purdue University, Dec. 2018, www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/EC/EC-814-W.pdf.

“Santa Paper Puppet.” Red Ted Art, 18 Oct. 2023, www.redtedart.com/santa-paper-puppet/.

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