Create Shadow Play figures using a vinyl cutter

Yesterday I did a workshop together with colleagues from the HAN Teacher Trainer Academy where teachers and student teachers worked on creating a shadow play. The goal of the workshop was to get them to think about how they can use this form of story telling together with their own students. In this post I want to focus on a small part of the workshop: the creation of the figures for the shadow play.

The figures  are cut out of sturdy enough cardboard. Before, it was done by hand (with a sharp knife). Yesterday we introduced an additional option: using the vinyl cutter.

It didn’t mean they had to design everything digitally, the designing was done on a piece of paper using a black marker. We then took a picture of that drawing and converted it into a vector shape that could be cut out on the vinyl cutter.

In the above video I explain how it is done. My apologies for the lack of speed, only after recording I realized that you can probably hear I recorded it really early in the morning. Instead of vinyl cutter I use “laser cutter” a number of times, and although you could use a laser cutter for cardboard, that was not the case yesterday. Anyways, I hope it shows the process.

It is important to remember that the use of the vinyl cutter is only a (small) part of the whole process, and it also is not mandatory, the group that created the results below shows that even without you can get nice results.

If you do use the vinyl cutter in the design process you’ll probably change the process a bit. Since producing the cuts is much easier / quicker on the vinyl cutter (compare to cutting by hand), you could start prototyping your story earlier. The “cost” of making a change to an already produced shadow figure is less high.

All in all, the combination of drawing, digitizing, cutting is a nice addition to the already interesting workshop and was appreciated by the participants.

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Create Shadow Play figures using a vinyl cutter