CLASSES & WORKHOPS @
What would you like to create today?
The Puppetry Institute offers a variety of different classes & workshops -
for ages 8 to 80+, tailored for every skill set.
Our programs are for those who live a hectic lifestyle. You can book a full class or just pay for your supplies and come in when you want. We call them "Workhops" as you just hop on in when you have the time! Sort of a “pay as you go” plan. Just book the time you’d like to come in during regular business hours prior to each class.
Package sessions are good for 90 days.
Contact us for further details.
Workshop Class Index
Ages 7 and under
For educators, home school groups, or special needs providers, who can’t make it into see us, we can come to you! Whether you’d like to do an entire workshop or a 1 hour puppetry project, we have got you covered!
Contact us at for info on how we can be of service to your group.
Please remember that for every 3 workshops purchased we try to give back to the community and offer a program scholarship to kids and teens in the Santa Cruz. By purchasing classes you learn a new skill and help pass it on to the next generation of artists.
Most of all you’re helping to make the world a cooler place one puppet at a time….
Our programs are more then a basic art class!
As a part of The Puppetry Institute, we incorporate Common Core standards in English Literacy and Math by pushing students to think and participate creatively and critically with their own creations. Students utilize mathematics to construct operational puppets, sets, and costumes, relying heavily upon geometry, algebra, and architecture, and the practical application thereof for each respective project.
Innovative applications and repetition of core mathematical concepts help students practice their math skills in both an academic setting, as well as in designing and constructing their puppets/projects.
English Literacy Common Core standards come in after the physical portion of the project is complete, where we ask students to develop personalities for their creations. Study is required for background information and stories, should students base their puppets in works of mythology, literature, media, etc. Each student will then be pushed to refer to their collective knowledge as each project culminates in a performance.
These final exams allow students to share what they have created. Structured as an improvisational performance, students are pushed to think critically and on their feet as they answer questions in character, absorbing the information given to them by their scene partner, and responding accordingly. Overall, students participating in classes at The Puppetry Institute follow the standards of Common Core according to their grade and/or skill level by participating creatively, constructively, and critically in the development of their personal projects.
Browse to see pricing, project time, and recommended ages for each project type!
Contact us for a quote if you need help!
Under Age 8
Family Engagement Program (4+, with parent/s)
Create memories together with your family - as well as three simple puppet designs! This class is intended for children aged 4-7 and their families, to encourage a life-long love for creativity! Keep the puppets, and the knowledge to continue creating and performing at home!
Cost $60 includes supplies and 1.5 hrs instruction
Flip Books, Rollers & Taumatropio (ages 6+)
In this introduction to Animation, students will learn how to construct 3 different styles of early animations and optical illusions.
Cost $30 includes supplies and 2 hrs instruction.
Make-A-Muppet (ages 6+)
In Santa Cruz for the day? Stop by and create a new friend, in only 90 minutes! Take one of our beautiful hand-made blank muppets, add your own creative flair, then get a crash course in performance. What do you get? A colorful character that is positively uniquely you - inside and out!
Cost $70 include supplies and 1.5 hrs instruction.
MUPPET STYLE PUPPETS: (ages 8+)
Learn how to create a professional Hand and Rod puppet from foam, fleece and recycled items. Learn professional construction techniques as well as character design and performance to create a puppet that would be at home in any TV show. Skills learned: soft sculpture/costume design/flocking techniques, pattern making/storytelling/character development/hand sewing, culminating with a performance. Class cost for humanoid puppet, $400. $440 for creature puppet. Includes all supplies + 20 hrs of instruction. scholarships available.
STOP MOTION PUPPETRY (ages 8+)
Learn the basics in the exciting genre of Stop Motion Puppetry! In this class students will create a 1-3 minute film using techniques employed in such movies as “Nightmare before Christmas”. Writing, character development, puppet design, set construction, and film techniques, are just some of the skills learned in this course. Cost: $400, includes supplies, a DVD of finished project, and 20 hrs instruction and LAB time.
Beginning Stop Motion (ages 8+)
Using items such as sand, paper, and Legos kids can create a 45 second to 1 minute video using all techniques used in our more advanced classes. This class is only available TUES-WED-FRI-SAT from 11am-6pm.
Cost $300 includes supplies, a DVD of finished project, and 10 hours of instruction split over 3 consecutive days...
SHADOW PUPPETRY 101 (ages 8+)
Learn the art of creating stories from light and shadow! This is one of the original forms of puppetry and dates back as far as recorded time. We will cover building a portable stage, basic shadow puppets, and storytelling, culminating with a performance. Class cost $250 includes supplies and 10 hrs instruction.
Zoetropes & Phenakistoscopes (ages 10+)
A zoetrope is one of several pre-film animation devices that produce the illusion of motion by displaying a sequence of drawings or photographs showing progressive phases of that motion. These two animation examples date back as early as far as 5000 years. Students will given a choice to create their own wheels while learning the basic rules of animation.
Cost $40 includes 2.5 hrs instruction...
Green Screen Camp (ages 10+)
In this class students will learn the magic of filming with a green screen, a technique used in special effects films from Star Wars to Avatar! Videos and stills are shot against the green screen which can be removed, allowing you to place yourself in a variety of environments, from the surface of an alien planet, to the darkest jungle! We'll provide puppets, props, costumes, and video cameras! You provide the imagination for a 5 to 10 minute film, which you'll edit, add FX, and make a DVD to share with family and friends!
Cost $500 includes supplies and 20 hrs of instruction.
Table Top Puppets
Workshop participants will be constructing simple table top puppets! Students will learn easy construction techniques as well as instruction on how to bring them to life with the flick of a finger. As well as skills in design, character/story development, sculpting, and costuming. Cost: $360 Includes supplies and 12 hrs instruction
Learn how to design your own original Fantasy cosplay outfit and accessories employing techniques used in major Hollywood and theater fabrication shops. We'll be using a variety of fabrics, re purposed clothing, L-200 foam, “Worbla” and found items. A basic knowledge of sewing/crafting helps, but not essential. Skills learned: Costume/fashion design, distressing/aging techniques/flocking/hair punching/ life casting/mold making. Cost $500 for supplies and 20 hrs on instruction.
FACE PAINTING 101
Learn the basics of the art form that will get you invited to all the best parties and events! Professional Makeup artist Star Hagen-Esquerra will show you the basic techniques and tricks of the trade. Students will learn 3 basic designs and take turns practicing what they've learned on family members and each other. Weekends 3 to 5 PM Class limited to 10 students Supply cost: $100 includes professional face painting kit Instructors fee $100 Limited to 10 students... Scholarships available. 2 hr class weekends only...
CREATURE SHOP 101
Exercise your inner monster in this fun and informative class! Students will design & fabricate their own creature puppet! This class teaches skills in advanced creature shop techniques used in a lot of the large effects houses. Sculpting, mold making, casting, airbrushing, painting techniques, mechanics, and movement scholarships available. Time 20 hrs instruction Supply cost $200 & up depending on size...
LATEX MASK MAKING:
Learn how to sculpt, mold, and cast your own latex mask. Learn the same techniques that the contestants use on the hit show Face Off! Even if you've never touched a piece of clay before with our techniques we can teach you how to make an amazing creature mask. Skills learned: life-casting/mold making/latex casting/clay sculpture/ painting/airbrush techniques/ hair punching. Supply Cost: $300 due 2 weeks before start date. Scholarships available
30 hrs of classes
Every creature and every fantasy character from film, CGI animation, and video games starts off as a Maquette! These are sculptures that give developers a three dimensional look at the character from every angle. Maquettes are made from oil based clay which never hardens and can be painted with acrylics. In this class students will be able to develop a bust or 12 inch figure of a character of their design. Class $ 380 includes supplies & 14 hrs instruction
CHARACTER/ CREATURE SCULPTURES 101
This workshop teaches you basic blocking/sculpture techniques. You'll create a life size head of your own design from reusable oil based clay. Supply cost: $125 scholarships available... 10 hours of classes
This is a advanced class and recommended to students who have taken our latex mask/Character Sculpture cast. This course will cover full facial life-casting, sculpture, 2-3 piece mold making, and silicone prosthetics. This is a six week class twice a week for 3 hrs. a day. Cost $500 supplies included + plus up to 30 hrs instruction. fees due 2 weeks before class begins.
Create a miniature fantasy world using Fimo, found items, and a variety of different mixed media inside inside a shadow box! This 1 day 3 hour class is a great way to spend the day exercising your creative muscle. Supply cost $60 Instruction fee $80. 6 hrs instruction
COSPLAY PROP CLASS
This course teaches fundamentals in prop making for cosplay. Chose from 2 different foam weapons, wings or smoking wizards staff. Using professional fabrication techniques and materials you will design and construct accessories that will be the hit of any con! Cost $300 includes supplies and 6 hrs of instruction
In this workshop 15-30 students will be broken up into teams of five. Each team will learn to work together to construct a giant puppet(up to 12 feet high) for bragging rights and star billing at a performance for the winning puppet. This is a lot of fun for families, social groups, and business teams! Learn giant puppet design, character development, storytelling, and most importantly how to work together as a team. If you're a family team all ages are welcome, everyone else ages 16 and up. Supply cost $125 per team 12 HRS scholarships available.
PUPPETRY FOR TEACHERS AND THERAPISTS
From arithmetic to zoology there is really nothing you can't teach as well as engage students then a puppet in the classroom. Puppetry can also be extremely helpful when used in therapy. You will learn how to design, construct, and find your puppets voice while finding a way to integrate your character into your teaching/session plans. This is a 3 day seminar open to teachers/therapists.
Supply cost $120 Instruction time 20 hrs limited to 8 members
See up-to-date pictures of students completed projects on our social media pages!