January 25, 2016

How to Make Classic Hand Shadows.

No one knows when it started, but there’s no doubt that’s it’s in front of a fire, with a looming rock face overhead millenniums ago.

Known as the art of Shadowgraphy, shadow hand puppets are usually done around a boy scout camp fire, by torchlight or even by the light of the bedside table  after a bedtime story. This is one type of entertainment that can be enjoyed universally because there is no language barriers and just pure fun.

An impromptu puppet show can be held using your hands, mimicking two characters. The possibilities are endless, imagination goes a long way here.

Make sure you use the best tactical flashlight available, the light source should be bright and small. The best shadows are made when the light source comes from the smallest possible point. A candle can also be used, or a torch with the lens and reflector removed. An LED torch is a more modern alternative.

Before you embark on your shadow show, make sure you have the perfect surface for your reflections.  A nice section of wall, pale curtain or even a screen will be just right, not forgetting the canvas of a tent if you are out camping.

Sit between the light source and the blank screen either on the left or right. The further the hands are from the light source the smaller the shadow will be. While the closer the hands are to the screen the more defined the shadow will be. The optimal distance for the hands is four feet from the light and six feet from the screen. Always focus on the shadow itself and not on your hands.

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Now, there are no set rules when it comes to hand shadows. After all, what limit is there to one’s imagination? Often the imagination of a child is what will bring about the best of hand shadows. Children used to delight themselves with classic hand shadows such as, the ostrich, a dog, and birds flying. However, nowadays, the children are a lot more difficult to please. They are technology junkies and are used to getting instant gratification at the click of a computer mouse, PlayStation controller even the X-box. It is up to you just how you are going to get them involved, taking them outdoors camping and banning all technology will go a long way in getting their attention. You can purchase literature that will help you to make more sophisticated shapes and with today’s technology, there are also apps that you can download on your computer that will allow you to get better acquainted with the art of classic hand shadows, it might not be a bad idea to read up on it before taking part as your hand shadows might astound your fellow participants.

The best opportunity for making classic hand shadows is, of course, in the outdoors when camping as this is a more traditional setting. In many camp grounds all over the world, parents and their children are making classic hand shadows as part of a game— a bonding experience away from technology and the digital age. What is often more fun, is making it into a competition for the kids to take part in and to keep their interest. Let them each take turns making a classic hand shadow, and reward the best one, but be sure to keep it fair and fun and let each child have a chance to win the competition, the last thing you need is fighting and rivalry on a peaceful holiday.

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In conclusion, making classic hand shadows, however old fashioned, can be a real experience and can bring families closer together. It is considered fun to come together as a family and play this traditional game, but remember the essentials, the best tactical flashlight available, a nice clean surface to show your hand shadows on, and of course a wonderful imagination. Of course it isn’t a must to be in a camping environment to make classic hand shadows, you can do it just about anywhere, but the real aim is to bring a family together in an age old, traditional way.

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