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Figure Sticks or "sliders"

Disclaimer: We will provide tips and links to supplies for our visitors to explore, but we have no control over their safety, manufacture or use. We are not responsible for your decisions of what is best to use in your situation!

Originally, figure sticks were made of tin, with small bases folded of sheet tin, and with little upright clips soldered to hold the base of the figure. A long handle was attached, so the length would allow the figure to enter from one side of the stage and exit to the other side, being operated from only one side of the theater. Free standing set pieces used similar bases. 

Many variations have been used! Some theaters even have slotted floors to move figures from below! Some paper theaters simply use a cardboard strip laid flat, with the figures glued to the strip with flanges to front and rear of the feet or base. Creativity is expected in this craft. 

The objective is to be able to move the figures with the least amount of eye distraction from the stick. However, the sticks usually are visible! Some performers have developed more complex sticks that can rotate a figure, so that the figure has a front and back side, for a “left” and “right” movement. This allows the figure to enter the stage, turn and exit without backing up across the stage. Mirrored figures are included on some figure sheets for this purpose, and should be glued back to back.

Check the ideas shown in the photos section at the toy theater group at You do need to join this group to view their photos and other information, but the brief work in joining will be worth the information available!

Model theater is still a craft with a personal touch, and not a commercially driven field, so ingenuity is required.



If you have a model theater tip or trick you would like to share here, please email it to us, and let us know that it is alright to share it, and if you want your name, and/or email included.