Skeleton Marionette Carving Online Workshop


Skeleton Marionette Carving online

The skeleton marionette that can fly apart used techniques created by early Czech puppeteers and is one of the most popular of the "trick marionettes."

We send you wooden puppet parts based on your design and you make a skeleton with us. Includes 12 live lectures plus individual consultations.

5-28 January, 2021

Video from PIP Skeleton Marionette Workshop, March 2013:

Description of workshop

The workshop focuses on the specific technology of the traditional Skeleton marionettte that is strung so its bones can fly apart and come back together. It is divided into three parts:

Part 1: Design. Before the workshop starts, students will participate in an online lecture in November on this very special design taught by Mirek Trejtnar. Then they will create a design for their unique skeleton marionette and consult with Mirek about it.

Part 2: Wooden parts pre-cut on band saw and with joints will be prepared in Prague based on students' designs and sent to them by UPC. All puppet parts and controller will be in this package.

Part 3: Making the puppet: Following live presentations on Zoom with Mirek, students will meet three times a week and get detailed instructions on the aspects of making the marionette: the technology of this marionette, how to carve hands, head, legs, and body, how to assemble the puppet, stringing, how to make the controller and attach strings. There will be regular individual consultations throught the workshop.

Students will need a basic set of 5 - 7 chisels for this workshop + sharpening stones which will cost from $150-$200. We will give guidance on how to purchase them.



Students will meet Tuesday, Thursday and Sundays from January 5 - 28. Classes will be recorded and students will have access to the videos.

We will hold the class at 7-8:30 p.m. Prague time (1-2-30 p.m. EST)

Part 1- Skeleton Design

In November, a lecture will take place on design - date and time will be decided by the group. The following days, all students will have individual online consultations.

Students will then submit their final design.


Part 2- Preparing wood

Puppets in Prague cuts wood based on design and ships puppet parts and controller to students before the workshop begins.


Part 3- Making the puppet

The classes will start on Tuesday, January 5 and meet on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays until Thursday January 28. Students must expect to spend at least 4-6 hours between classes working on carving.

We offer individual consultations every day before lectures.


Who is the course designed for?

We recommend this course for students with some experience with carving, tools and building. Students must be comfortable working on their own.


There will be consultations before and after lectures.


Workshop fee

Puppets parts, Contoller: 4,500 Czech Crowns (approx 165 Euro / $175)**

Tuition: 9,000 Czech Crowns (approx 336 EUR / $400) - includes 12 lectures, individual consultations throughout process, manual, videos

Postage, UPS: 2500 Czech Crowns (approx 93 EUR/ $110) *

TOTAL: 16,000 Czech crowns (approx 600 EUR / $700- find current exchange rates here).

Additional costs:

Price does NOT include chisels

Students also must have a basic set of chisels and sharpening tools, which will cost about $180 for top quality Swiss chisels. It is possible to get cheaper tools, but we do not recommend it. We will help students order tools from suppliers.


The workshop is taught in English.



Miroslav Trejtnar

Leader of workshop.

Miroslav Trejtnar graduated with high honours from the puppet design department of the Prague Academy of Performing Arts. He has trained with Institut UNIMA in Charleville - Mezieres in France. In 1989 he started the KID Company, designing and producing wooden puppets, toys and sculptures. 

Mirek has taught hundreds of students at Puppets in Prague workshops. He has also taught for the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, St. Martin’s College of Design in London, New York University in Prague, Chapito Circus Academy in Lisbon, Portugal, and in Macao and Hong Kong.


Leah Gaffen

History, Organization

Leah Gaffen is an American who has lived in the Czech Republic for fifteen years.  She founded the Puppets in Prague workshops with Mirek Trejtnar, and has worked with him as a producer for the course since then.  She also runs Story Theatre, an award-winning children's theatre company based in Prague.


Šarka Zikova


Šarka is professional ilustrator, painter and puppet designer . She worked on big number of animated films as designer.

Photo gallery

Skeleton Puppets made in previous workshops

photo by Aurelia Kalovcova

Historical Skeleton puppets