If the thought of using puppets brings similar kinds of apprehension, relax. Those things do not need to happen.
Let’s begin by considering the following guidelines for successfully using puppets to communicate with your students.
First, keep simple! No need for stages, props and scenery. Select an easy to make puppet. Perhaps you’ll choose a simple rod puppet to use in the same way you show a picture. If the thought of being the voice for a puppet makes you feel uncomfortable, let your puppet use hand gestures and nod or shake his head vigorously to convey his thoughts. Perhaps, your puppet is too shy to speak. Students and audience will be eager to assist this shy puppet in helping you understand what he wants. As you feel increasingly comfortable with the puppet, have it speak a few words. Don’t worry about creating another voice for the puppet; just use your normal voice. After you have gained some experience, pitch your voice high or low to match the puppet character. Use the puppet for several sessions. Get comfortable with one puppet before you go on to other types of puppets.
Give your puppet an identifiable personality. He can be shy, outgoing, happy, sad, regal and dignified, pompous, the country type, a grouch, etc. Or, the puppet can have a few favourite words that he usually says. Students and audience will soon know what to expect when they see the puppet and will look forward to his part of the session.
After a while you may be ready to use two puppets at one time. Or, let a student manipulate one puppet while you manipulate the other for an impromptu dialogue.
MATCHING THE PUPPET TO THE ACTIVITY
The effectiveness of using a puppet is increased when the puppet is appropriate to the activity in which it’s used.
To choose a puppet for an activity;
- What is the purpose of the story or activity? Will the puppet enhance the story or clarify a hard to understand concept? Puppets must not overshadow the story or concept so that students remember only the puppet.
- What is the mood of the activity or story? Is it a quiet, thoughtful activity or a loud, noisy one? Be careful not to select a boisterous, obnoxious character for a quiet, serious subject. Puppets must fit the mood of the activity, otherwise they detract from what you want to accomplish.
- Will the character in the story or activity pray or accept Jesus Christ as Saviour? Many people find attributing spiritual characteristics to animal puppets in appropriate. It is better to select a human puppets to express the realities of the Lord Jesus.
- What puppet action is involved in the story or activity? If the activity is one in which the puppet has lots of dialogue, then select a puppet with mouth that moves. If the puppet needs to pick up or carry an object, then use a hand puppet. A string puppet is appropriate when the actions involve walking.
- Where will the puppet be used? In a small room or in a large auditorium? Puppets need to be easily seen by the audience. Finger Cap puppets are excellent for use in a small room. However, in a large auditorium use puppets large enough to be seen and recognized from a distance.
- What is the age of the audience for which the puppet will be used? In a puppet play for young children, use finger or hand puppets. A puppet with a large mouth may be frightening.
- Who will be manipulating the puppets? Adults, elementary-age students or teenagers? Keep in mind the physical maturity of the students as you select puppets.
Begin your use of puppets by selecting an activity from the following suggestions. Don’t worry about the professional quality of your performance! However, your imagination and enthusiasm are essential.
Younger primaries will enjoy having a puppet greet them at the door. Have the puppet make personal comments such as “Jeff, we missed you last Sunday,”. The puppet can also sing a welcome song as students enter the room.
The puppet can ask the new student his name, address, the school he attends, etc. Often newcomers find it easier to talk to the puppet than the adult behind the puppet! The puppet can briefly explain the session schedule to the visitor. Use the puppet to introduce the new student to other group members. If visitors are welcomed when all students come together, the puppet can introduce other members of the staff. Or, give the visitor and a class member each a puppet. The class member’s puppet can interview the visitor, asking his name, what he likes to do, etc. The visitor uses his puppet to answer questions.
Most people (children and adults) are notoriously casual listeners! Because puppets are great attention getters, they provide an effective tool to communicate information that might otherwise be ignored. The format for making announcements might be a conversation between leader/teacher and the puppet. Either the puppet or the adult could be ignorant of the information. The information may need to be repeated several times before the puppet or adult understands. By this time, the students will be trying to help give the right information. Another time the puppet reads the announcement and another puppet interrupts and asks questions. A puppet can also Pantomime the subject of the announcement while the students try to guess the activity the puppet is acting out.
Students often accept directions faster from a puppet than from an adult. Use a puppet gain the immediate attention of the group. Then let the puppet give clear, concise directions. For example at the conclusion of a large group time, a puppet can dismiss each Bible study class or individual students. The puppet can give assignments to the class or announce the change from one segment of schedule to another. When students are ready to select Bible learning activities, let the puppet explain the choices.
Puppets can quickly catch students’ interest in music activities. For example, use puppets to illustrate the words of a song. For example, use puppets to illustrate the words of a song. For younger children, use “ things God Made” Rod puppets as the group sings a song. Let students each hold a rod puppet. When you sing the word that the puppet illustrates, the student holds up his puppet illustrates the following songs in this way.
Older elementary age students will enjoy having the teacher use a puppet to teach a new song. For example, the teacher use a puppet to teach attempts to teach the song to the puppet, but the puppet has trouble learning the song. After observing the action several times, the students should be able to sing the words to the song. Or, the teacher sings part of the song and omits words that the puppet attempts to remember. Usually, the students will try to help the puppet. Or, the puppet can sing the song and omit words for the students to sing. A puppet can also be used to lead singing. A rod puppet such as Sock Rod Puppet is ideal for this activity. After students have observed this use of puppet several times, let a student manipulate the puppet and lead a song.
After you have used puppets for several activities suggested in the previous section of this book, consider a puppet play. Keep your first play simple! As you proficiency increases, you will want to add scenery, props, music and sound effects to your production. However, for this initial sffort use simple one-piece rod or shadow puppets.
Plan to use this same script again to present a more elaborate play with stage, scenery, props and each puppet character speaking his own part. Use hand puppets such as Basic Felt Hand Puppet or Felt Hand Puppet with a Styrofoam or papier mache head. Hand puppets will be able to perform the action indicated in the script by italics.
After you feel at ease using hand puppets, try these scripts with other puppets such as advanced rod or string puppets.
Regardless of the type of puppet you use, when the script calls for a crowd scene, use a Crowd Figure Puppet.
HOW TO MAKE PUPPETS / PUPPET STAGES / SCENERY
Basic Tools and Supplies
Scissors Coping Hand saw Serrated Knife
Paper Punch Crewel Needles Reg. Needles
Felt pens Plastic Cirlce Templet Compass
Stapler and staples Pencils Blade
Knife Ruler Yard stick
Straight pins Clothespins Rubber band
Brushes Glue Tape
Construction paper Tracing paper Newspaper
Wax paper Cardboard Yarn
Ice cream sticks Wire Styrofoam
Felts Sequins Beads
Button Socks Gloves
Nylons Lace Feathers
Fist Instant Puppet
Draw facial features on the side of the hand, eyes on the pointing finger and lips on the thumb.
Pencil Instant Puppet
Spread glue on point of pencil and insert into ball. Draw facial features o n ball with felt pen or crayon. Or, put glue on straight pins and insert into ball for eyes and mouth. Glue yarn to ball for hair.
Magazine Picture Instant Puppet
Glue pictures to lightweight cardboard and cut out Glue mounted pictures to ice-cream stick or tongue depressor.
Construction Paper Puppets
Finger Cap Construction Paper Puppet
Trace puppet pattern onto construction paper. Cut out. With crayons or felt pens draw facial features. Form a circle with tabs, glue or staple ends together. Place completed puppet on finger.
“This is Me!”Construction paper Puppet
Draw, and then cut a figure from construction paper. Add yarn for hair, fabric for clothing details and buttons for eyes. Use manicure scissors to cut two finger holes. Insert fingers into holes for puppet’s legs.
Folded Construction Paper Puppet
Fold 3 × 8 inch (7.5×20 cm) strip of construction paper into four equal sections. For handles, glue one 1/2×3-inch (1.25×7.5 cm) strip of construction paper to fold No. 2; glue remaining strip to fold No.3. Draw either animals or people. Use small pieces of construction paper to make facial features and clothing details. Glue features to puppet.
To make curly hair, tightly wrap 1/4×3-ich (.7×7.5 cm) strips of construction paper around a pencil. Or, make straight hair by fringing a strip of paper.
Make arms and legs by accordion folding 1×12-inch (2.5×30 cm) strips of paper. Draw and cut out hands and feet from construction paper, tape to strips. Then tape accordion folded strips to puppets.
Girl/Boy Construction Paper puppet
Trace puppet paper puppet onto construction paper, cut out. Fold mouth and body into four sections as indicated on pattern. With crayons or felt pens, add facial features. Add yarn for hair. Attach with tape arms and legs. Tape handles to puppet. Manipulate.
Bird Construction Paper Puppet
Use pattern and make as directed for Girl/Boy Construction Paper Puppet.
Glue wooden bead to top of clothespin. Slip clothespin over the edge of a drinking glass while glue dries. Then glue chenille wires to side of clothespin for arms. Use felt pen or paints to draw facial and clothing details. Add yarn for hair. To make stand, fold a 1×3-inch (2.5×7.5 cm) strip of lightweight cardboard.
Biblical Clothespin Puppet No. 1
Twist chenille wire around head of clothespin for arms. Put cotton ball on head of clothespin. Cover cotton and top of clothespin with a 3×3-inch (7.5×7.5 cm) piece of fabric. To hold cotton and fabric in place, wrap a rubber band around neck several times. Or tie with string. Use felt pen to draw facial features. Use pattern to cut costume from felt. Slip costume over puppet’s head; tie a piece of fabric around neck (if needed) before putting costume on puppet.
Optional- sides of costume may be sewn together with needle and thread.
Biblical Clothespin Puppet No. 2
Twist chenille wire around neck of clothespin to form arms. Use felt pen to make facial features.
To make wig and/or beard, tie 10 to 14 strands of yarn in center. Glue to puppet. Arrange yarn and trim.
Make costumes by using patterns to cut garments outlines from appropriate costume or fabric. Cut hands from felt and glue to edge of sleeves. Glue sleeves around chenille wire arms. Glue undergarments around figure. To hold garment in place while glue dries, insert straight pins through garment and into clothespin. Glue outer cloak to figure. Use pieces of trim, fabric or felt to make additional clothing details. The costume will help puppet to stand.
Singing/Talking Clothespin Puppet
Round the ends of construction paper to make oval shape. Fold paper to make mouth. Draw facial details. Apply glue to back of face along fold. Insert folded paper into clothespin. Allow glue to dry.
Wooden Spoon Puppets
Wooden Spoon and Construction Paper Puppet
Cut features from construction paper and glue to spoon. Draw additional details with felt pen or crayons.
Painted Wooden Spoon Puppet
Paint face on the back of spoon.
Wooden Spoon Puppet with Arms
With felt pen or crayons draw facial features on spoon. For hair glue yarn or feathers to spoon. Spread glue around handle neck, twist chenille wire in glued area for arms. Bend wire to form hands.
Wooden Spoon Puppet with Costume
With felt pen or crayons, draw facial features on spoon. Add yarn or feather for hair. Grip the spoon a. drape the handkerchief or fabric over the extended thumb and finger in front of your hand. Place rubber band around thumb, behind spoon and then aroundfirst finger.
Ice Cream Spoon Puppets
Draw facial features with felt pen or crayon. Or, cut features from construction paper and glue to spoon. Add yarn for hair. Use cotton for beard. Wrap a chenille wire around spoon for arms.
Paper Plate Puppets
Paper Plate Rod Puppet
Cut facial features from construction paper. Glue to back of the paper plate. Draw other features with felt pens or crayons. Tape ice cream stick or tongue depressor to back of puppet.
Paper Plate Puppet
Staple or glue together the fronts of two paper plates. Leave an opening at the bottom large enough for hand. Draw facial features from construction paper and glue to plate. Use yarn for hair. To manipulate puppet, insert hand in the opening.
Rod Tube Puppet
Trace arms pattern onto felt; cut out. Glue to sides of tube. Glue one piece of dowelling to each hand.
Singing Tube Puppet
On the inner tube, glue and tape dowel to the inside on the bottom edge. Use paper punch to punch three dots for eyes and nose. Glue to the inner tube. From the construction paper cut two mouth pieces and necktie. Glue smaller mouth piece to outer tube; glue larger piece to inner tube. Glue tie to outet tube, glue larger piece to inner tube. Glue tie to outer tube. Glue larger piece to inner tube. Cut hair from black paper and glue to top of inner tube.
Large Cereal Box Puppet
Cut flaps from box top. Wrap construction paper around box Crease paper on corners of box. Vut corners on top edge of construction paper. Fold on creases. Glue paper to box, Glue buttons to box for eyes. Cut a hole for nose large enoughto fit finger. Cut other features from construction paper and glue to box. Or, draw features on box with felt pens or crayons.
Milk Carton Puppet
Staple top of carton closed cover carton with construction paper or self-adhesive vinyl. With a pencil draw a line 2 inches from top edge around carton on three sides. Bend carton back on uncut side to form the hinge for puppet’s mouth Reinforce hinge with a piece of masking tape. Tape washer to inside of top section of carton.
Trace mouth lining pattern onto light weight cardboard, cut out. Fold lining on broken lines. Cease tabs on broken lines. Spread glue on the underside of lining tabs and insert into the carton for mouth. Tape edges to hold lining in place while glues dries. To open and close mouth
Worm Sock Puppets
Glue eyes and fringe ball for nose on sock. Insert hand into sock and form shape for puppet’s face.
Instant Sock Puppet
Turn sock wrong side out. Tie a large knot in sock. Turn sock right side out. The toe section and knot becomes the puppet’s head. Place a rubber band loosely around puppets neck. Draw facial features with felt pen. Cut a finger hole on each side of sock. If holes ravel, spread glue around edges; let glue dry.
Bird Sock Puppet
Make mouth according to director for Method 3. Trace two ill patterns onto lightweight cardboard, cut out. Crease bill pieces in half as indicated on pattern. Place a piece of wax paper inside both mouth sections of sock. Glue a bill piece to top and bottom of mouth section. Remove wax paper. Use felt pen to draw nostrils on bill. Cut eyes from felt and glue to puppet.
Paper Bag Puppets
Stuffed Paper Bag Puppet
Tear newspaper into 2-inch (5cm) strips. Stuff one half of bag with newspaper strips. Keep stuffed part of bag as wrinkle free as possible. Spread glue around top edge of tube. Insert tube up into bag. Tie a piece of string around bag and tube.
Cut facial features from construction paper and glue to puppet. See “animal features” for patterns.
Frog Paper Bag Puppet
Fold paper plate in half and glue to under flap of paper bag. Let glue dry. Trace eyes and legs patterns onto green construction paper, cut out. Fold eyes on broken lines as indicated on pattern. Color center of eyes with black pen. Glue eyes to top edge of paper bag. Glue upper legs to inside fold of paper bag. To form feet and knees on lower legs, fold or broken lines as indicated on pattern. Glue lower legs to inside of bag along lower edge.
Boy/Girl Paper Bag Puppet
Trace head, arms and legs patterns onto construction paper, cut out. With felt pens or crayons, draw facial features on head piece. Glue head to flap of paper bag. To form feet and knees fold legs on broken lines indicated on pattern. Glue arms to sides of bag and legs to lower edge. Draw clothing details on bag.
To make boys and girls on different races, used appropriate colored construction paper for head, arms and legs, draw appropriate facial features, hair and clothing details.
Biblical Man/Woman Paper Bag Puppet
Trace head and feet patterns onto construction paper, cut out. Use arm pattern from Boy/Girl Paper Bag Puppet to cut arms from construction paper. With felt pens or crayons, draw facial features on head piece. Glue head to flap on paper bag. Glue arms to sides of bag. To form feet, fold on broken lines indicated on pattern. Glue feet to lower edge. Draw clothing details on bag.
To make a variety of biblical characters, draw different clothing details, attach cotton or yarn beards or mustaches, etc.
Use knife to cut flaps off box. Cut an opening in bottom of box, leaving a 2-inch (5cm) frame on each side.
On the inside of box, cover opening with fabric. Staple in place. Fabric must be kept taut. Place screen on table. The screen needs to be weighted or clamped to table so it will not tip over. Place several heavy books or a brick for weight in the box. Or, clamp box to table with C clamps.
Place bright light behind screen so it will shine on screen, but not show the shadow of puppeteers.
Enlarge s figure pattern and trace onto black construction paper. Cut out figure. The figure may be left in one piece or made with movable parts. To make an articulated (moving) figure, cut out separate pieces to make figures. On each piece include area indicated by broken lines. Punch holes where indicated on pattern. Fasten figure pieces together with paper fasteners so pieces move freely.
To attach rod,(plastic straw), tape a piece of masking tape to each side of rod and to figure. This procedure allows rod to fold flat for storage. A rod needs to be attached to each part which puppeteer wants to control. Feet are left free to dangle. Use rods to hold figure close to screen.
To make figures other than those suggested in this book, experiment drawing figures freehand. Draw figure first on newspaper, then transfer figure to a more permanent material. It is important that each shadow puppet have a clear profile. Figures do not have to be accurately drawn, nor be in correct proportion to each other. Rather than drawing features, use figures from coloring and story books for patterns. Or, look through your Sunday school curriculum visuals for appropriate figures. Use them for patterns; or attach a rod and use them as figures.
Shadow puppets can be made from materials and in colors other than black construction paper. Colored lightweight cardboard, aluminium foil, tracing paper or parchment paper may be used successfully. When using lightweight paper, strengthen the paper to withstand use. First, draw pattern onto the paper. Then use felt pens to add color. Place paper between two pieces of clear, self-adhesive vinyl. Color will show on the screen.
Basic Felt Hand Puppet
Trace puppet pattern onto 8×10-inch (20 x 25 cm) piece of felt, cut out. On the outside, sew sides of puppet together. Cut facial features from felt and glue to puppet. Either animal or people puppets can be made from this pattern.
Felt Hand Puppet with Stuffed Head
Use pattern for Basic Felt Hand Puppet to trace body onto felt; cut out. Sew sides together. Cut the two head pieces from contrasting felt; sew together, leaving small opening. Stuff lightly with cotton. Sew up opening; then sew head to body piece. Cut facial features, hair and clothing details from felt and glue to puppet.
VARIATION- Changeable Heads
Rather than sewing head to body piece, sew a piece of Velcro to front of body piece and a piece of Velcro to the back of head piece, sew a piece of Velcro to front of body piece and a piece of Velcro to the back of head piece. The same body can be used for several puppets by just changing the heads.
Moving Mouth Hand Puppet
Trace two body piece patterns onto 12 X 22-inch930x44 cm) felt, extending pattern as suggested, cut out. Cut one felt mouth. Place folded mouth piece on top of felt body, aligning edges. On body pieces together, stopping at ‘X’ marks. Open mouth section of body pieces and pin mouth piece to the inside.
Close mouth section and sew sides of body pieces together on sewing machine. Stop at ‘X’marks and backstitch several times. Open mouth section and sew around mouth, stopping at fold of mouth each time and backstitch, fold body piece out of the way and continue sewing around mouth.
Cut facial features from scraps of felt. Place a piece of wax paper inside head of puppet; glue features to head.
Wigs can be made from yarn and glued to puppet. Make eyes from fringe balls or from two egg sections cut from an egg carton. To make caterpillar, use 2-inch (5cm) pieces of chenille wire for legs.
Profile Moving Mouth Hand Puppet
Trace two body and arm patterns onto 14 x 16-inch (35×40 cm) piece of felt, cut out. Sew darts together on each body piece. Place right side of body pieces together, matching mouth sections and darts; sew. Turn body piece right side out. Press.
Cut a mouth outline from pink felt and from cardboard. Fold cardboard mouth in half. Mark the top center and bottom center as indicated on pattern. Open mouth section of body piece as wide as possible. Open cardboard mouth flat and insert inside of mouth of body piece. Match the center marks with seams at top and bottom of mouth. Spread glue around the cardboard mouth. Carefully full pull approximately ¼ (7cm) to ½ (1.25 cm) inch of felt from mouth section of body pieces over cardboard mouth, press into glue. Let glue dry.
To attach pink felt mouth to cardboard mouth, spread glue over entire cardboard mouth and the felt edge from body piece. Glue arms to each side of puppet.
Cut facial features from felt and glue to head of puppet. Or use fringe balls for eyes and nose. Use yarn for hair.
Hand Puppet with Separate Head
Trace two body patterns onto felt, cut out. Saw sides together. Clip curves. Turn body piece right side out and press stitching.
Use scissors to make a hole in Styrofoam ball large enough for index finger. Place hand in completed felt body. Push Styrofoam head onto felt covered index finger.
Hand Puppet with Separate Head and Hands
Trace two body/costume patterns onto fabric, cut out. Sew together on the wrong side. Press seams. Turn right side out.
To make hands, trace with a pencil the pattern onto a doubted piece of felt. Do not cut out. Use sewing machine to sew on pencil line. Cut out. Stuff hands lightly with cotton balls.
Trace two wrist piece patterns onto lightweight cardboard; cut out. Bend cardboard into shape. A slip cardboard on your fingers (one for your second finger and one for your thumb). Adjust for size. Then fasten edges with masking tape. Insert cardboard wrist into felt hands. Lift up edge of felt and spread with glue. Press felt to cardboard wrist. Place a piece of masking tape over felt hand edges. Insert completed hand and wrist into the arm of fabric body. Turn under raw edges of armhole and hand sew armhole to felt hand.
Make a felt-covered Styrofoam ball head according to directions in “Puppet Heads” section. Trace neck pattern onto lightweight cardboard, cut out. Slip onto your index finger. Adjust for size. Then fasten with masking tape. Use neck pattern to cut a piece from felt. Glue felt to cardboard neck. Spread glue around the top edge of cardboard/felt neck. Insert neck into hole in head; let glue dry. Turn under the raw edges of neck opening with needle and thread, secure gather with a knot. Hand sews gathered edge to felt on cardboard neck. Insert hand into puppet.
Cut paper into narrow strips. These strips can be curled or braided. To curl paper, wrap strips tightly around a pencil. Or, hold part of paper strip between closed blades of scissors and thumb. Pull scissors gently but firmly along to end of strip. To make a large curl, wrap paper strips around a broom handle.
To attach curls to head, cover top of head with a piece of paper the same color as curls, then glue curls onto paper so head is covered.
To make bangs, fringe a piece of paper and glue to head. Trim to the desired length.
A wig can also be made simply by fringing paper, then gluing to puppet.
For braided paper wig, cut three long, narrow strips of paper. Tape, glue or staple the three strips together at the top. Then braid as for hair. Tie with a piece of ribbon or yarn.
Wigs can be made from various weights of yarn. Each weight creates a slightly different effect. For example, large bulky yarn can be used “as is” or brushed out to create a large and full wig. Smaller size yarn gives a dainty effect. Yarn with wool content can be curled by dampening yarn, then wrapping it round a pencil or piece of dowel. Secure ends with masking tape and let dry. When dry, carefully remove from pencil or dowel. For large curls, wrap dampened yarn around a broom handle or a large piece of dowel.
If the wig will be a different color from the puppet’s head, cover head with a piece of felt the same color as wig. Then the puppet’s head will not show through the yarn. Also, less yarn is needed.
Yarn wigs can be made several ways:
Place a strand of yarn across head of puppet to measure for length of wig. Add several inches to allow for trimming, if necessary.
Measure and cut approximately 30 to 50 strands of yarn, to the appropriate length. Tie yarn in the middle of the lengths. Try wig on head of puppet. Spread yarn so wig covers sides and back of head. When satisfied with the effect, remove and spread glue on head. Place wig on head again and spread yarn evenly around head. Use straight pins to hold in place while glue dries. To make bangs, glue shorter pieces of yarn to front of head. Trim yarn to the appropriate length.
Wrap yarn around a 4×6-inch (10×15 cm) piece of cardboard. For longer hair, lengthen cardboard piece to more than 6 inches (15 cm). Cut one end of yarn and remove from cardboard. Lay yarn evenly over a strip of 1x-6-inch (2.5 x 15 cm) piece of fabric or felt. Sew the middle of yarn to fabric or felt strip. Glue strip to the head of puppet. Trim yarn. Some yarn strands may have to be glued to head to hold them in place. Use straight pin to hold yarn while glue dries.
Bangs or wig for a partially bald man can be made similarly. However, instead of sewing yarn in the middle of strip, sew yarn to the edge of strip.
Rather than gluing wigs directly to puppet’s head, wig can be first sewn ort glued to a foundation. To make the foundation, cut off the toe of a sock. Sew the yarn wig to sock. Place toe of sock over puppet’s head. Tack or glue foundation in place on puppet’s head.
To give height to hair style or make a bun on top of head, place a wad of cotton on top of puppet’s head. Arrange yarn over the cotton so cotton is not visible. Glue yarn in place.
An instant costume for a hand puppet with a separate head can be made from a man’s handkerchief, a head scarf or a piece of lightweight fabric and a large rubber band. Place handkerchief over extended fingers. Wrap rubber band around thumb and behind index finger and around second finger, place puppet head on index finger.
Another instant costume can be made from a glove. Cut off two fingers from glove. Tuck in what remains of cut fingers and sew closed. Trim can be added to costume for a girl or buttons for a boy.
A basic costume pattern can be used to make a variety of different costumes simply by using different fabric and by adding buttons or trim.
The same skirt pattern can be used for a girl or mother’s costume.
A simple vest and a few trimmings result in two totally different outfits.
When several puppets are needed for various plays, use the same puppets with different costumes. For example, a puppet can be Mary in one play and an n angel in a next day by simply changing the costume.
To make costuming easier, place puppet on a puppet stand.
To make your own pattern, place a piece of newspaper against puppet to determine overall pattern shape. Repeat this process several times, trimming paper until effect is achieved. If you cut away more of the pattern than you intended, simply tape on the necessary paper. Repeatedly place paper pattern against puppet as you work. Be sure to leave ¼-inch (7cm) seam allowance.
Lightweight, flowing fabric works best for costumes. Avoid heavy fabric or large, bold prints. Also the costume must not bind or impede the movement of the puppet.
The parts and pieces of many costumes can be glued pinned, or even stapled together, making sewing unnecessary. Some costumes can be glued or sewed directly to body of puppet.
Glue decorative trim to a puppets body; attach a headpiece to puppet’s head to make a biblical woman.
To make a robe and outer garment for a biblical man, use pattern to cut from fabric, sew sides together. Place robe on puppet. Attach head piece to puppet’s head.
When using the same puppet for different characters, make separate costumes. For those removable costumes, use hooks and eyes or Velcro in place of button or buttonholes.
Many outer garments and hats can be made out of a half circle of fabric. For example, to make a headpiece, place a half circle of fabric on the head of a puppet and secure to head with straight pin. Place a crown on puppet’s head for a queen. To make a hood or cape, fasten under chin. Or, tie a piece of yarn around neck.
Cut armholes in half circle for coat. Tack down edges around neck. To make a cape, cut a neck shape. Use similar process for a short cape or collar.
Headbands and Crowns
Use construction paper, lightweight cardboard, gold foil paper, pieces of costume jewelry, decorative braid or trim to make bands and crowns. First, measure around puppet’s head and add 2 inches (5 cm). Cut band or crown from one of the above materials. Overlap edges and staple together. To make crowns, glue foil to cardboard. Cut crown shape. Glue braid, trim or jewelry for decorations.
Hats can be made from felt, sturdy fabric or lightweight cardboard. Always cut a pattern from newspaper before cutting shape from fabric. Measure the diameter of the puppet’s head, then cut pattern. Several kinds of hats can be made from geometric shapes. For example, a half circle can be made into a girl’s bonnet. Glue a piece of ribbon across half circle.
A quarter circle can make a pointed hat. Sew edges together, turn up lower edges and add a tassel for a clown hat.
Cut hat from velvet, add fur around edges and a ball of fur to the tip for a Santa’s hat. Or, cut hat from a jersey fabric to make a night cap.
To make a woodman’s hat, cut a quarter circle from green felt. Fold in half. Fold up lower edges. Sew center back edges together to the folded up edges. Add feather or other decorations.
Cut off the point of the cone shape to make other kinds of hats. Trace around top part of hat and cut out a circle. Add 1/2 –inch (1.25 cm) margin to circle. Cut slits around margin. Fold slits downward. Spread glue on slits and place in top edge of hat. Add decorations.
Hats can also be made by turning over hat and cutting off pointed end. Add brim and decorations.
A full circle can be used to make several kinds of hats. Make a grandmother’s cap by sewing a gathering stitch around the edge of circle about 1 inch (2.5 cm) from edge, depending on the size of circle. Pull up thread to fit puppet’s head.
To make a man’s brimmed hat, cut large circle for hat brim. Measure around puppet’s head. Use this measurement to cut a circle from center of brim. Save cut out center of brim for top of hat. Decide how tall you want the crown on your finished hat and add about 2 inches (5 cm). The width of the crown will be the measurement around puppet’s head plus inches (5cm). Cut crown piece from material. Roll crown into a tube shape, overlapping edges; staple edges. Cut 1-inch (2.5 cm) slits around the top and bottom edges. Fold up slits on bottom edge. Spread glue on bottom slits. Pull brim over the tube and press brim into the glue on bottom slits. Fold top slits downward. Use circle cut from center of brim to glue to top of hat.
By varying the size of brim, the height of the hat, the placement of the top part of the hat and decoration, several kinds of hats can be made using the same directions.
A sock hat can be made by cutting off the ankle section from a sock. Gather the raw edges together with a running stitch. Pull thread up tight and tie a knot. Make a yarn tassel and sew to gathers on top of hat. Turn up the ribbed section of sock.
Bend chenille wire, lightweight wire or jumbo paper clips into the shape of eyeglasses. Colored cellophane may be glued to lens frame.
Parts of discarded jewelry can be used for puppet’s necklace, earrings and/or pin.
Simple Rod Puppet
Glue figure to lightweight cardboard (for reinforcement); cut out. Glue or tape an ice-cream stick or tongue depressor to back of figure.
Crowd Figure Rod Puppet
Trace figure onto white paper. Use felt pens or crayons to draw facial and clothing details. Glue figure to cardboard; cut out. Tape or glue a stick or tongue depressor to back or figure.
Use Crowd Figure in Puppet plays when several figures need to be on the stage at one time.
Musical Notes Rod Puppets
Trace pattern onto lightweight cardboard; cut out. Glue or tape ice-cream stick or tongue depressor to the back of each figure.
Musical Instruments Rod Puppets
Trace patterns onto cardboard; cut out. With felt pens or crayons draw in details. Glue or tape an ice-cream stick or tongue depressor to the back of each figure.
“Things God Made “Rod Puppets
Trace patterns onto construction paper; cut out. Or, cut figures from felt and glue to poster board. Cut out poster board. Glue touch-and-feel items to figures. For example, glue cotton to cloud, foil to moon and feathers to birds.
“How I Feel” Rod Puppet
Child draws with felt pens or crayons a face on cardboard to portray his feelings- sad, glad, etc. Cut face out and glue or tape to tongue depressor. Hair can be cut from yarn and glued to puppet.
Girl Cardboard Rod Puppet
Trace puppet patterns onto poster board or lightweight cardboard; cut out. Punch holes where indicated on pattern. To fasten puppet pieces together, insert paper fasteners in holes. With felt pens or crayons draw facial features. Make a wig from yarn and glue to puppet. Use fabric or felt and other trim to make clothing details; glue to puppet.
Tape dowel to back of puppet. Punch a hole near the top edge of both cardboard strips. Attach strips to hands with paper fasteners.
Boy Cardboard Rod Puppet
Trace puppet patterns onto poster board or lightweight cardboard; cut out. Punch holes where indicated on patterns. To fasten puppet pieces together, insert paper fasteners into each hole. Cut two strips of ½ x 13-inch (1.25×32.5 cm) poster board or lightweight cardboard. Punch a hole near the top of each strip, and another hole about 6 ½ inches (16.25 cm) from the first hole. Attach top hole on strip to fastener on arm. Attach knee fastener to the second hole on strip. Repeat for other arm and leg. Tape dowel to back of puppet. With felt pens or crayons draw facial features. Glue on yarn for hair. Cut clothing details from fabric and glue to puppet, add buttons to shirt.
Manipulate puppet. When puppet’s arms are raised his leg also raises.
Sock Rod Puppet
Cut off the toe of one sock. Pull toe piece over Styrofoam ball. Spread glue on one end of ¼-inch (7 cm) dowel and push into ball. Tie string around sock and dowel to form neck. Cut facial details from felt and glue to head. Sequins may be used for eyes. Glue on yarn for hair.
Cut heel from both socks. Insert a cotton ball into each heel section. Spread glue on the end of the both 1/8-inch (.3 cm) dowels and insert into heel sections. Tie string around sock and dowel to form hands and arms.
Fold fabric in half. Sew sides together, leaving a slit on each side. Also, leave a hole for neck and arms.
To manipulate puppet, hold two rods (dowels) in one hand and the third rod in the other hand.
Mop Rod Puppet
Use the point of scissors to make a hole completely through styrofoam ball. Insert mop handle into hole and carefully push ball to the top of mop. The ball becomes the head of puppet; yarn of the mop will be the puppet’s hair.
Cut a 2×6-inch (5×15 cm) strip of felt. Spread glue around handle under ball. Wrap felt strip around glued area; glue down end of strip. This felt strip will keep ball from slipping and provide a surface on which to sew costume. Tie up part on yarn for hair. Cut facial features from felt and glue to ball. Use pattern to cut four hand pieces from felt. Glue two hand pieces together, leaving bottom open as indicated on pattern. Repeat process for remaining pair of felt hands. Spread glue on tip of one dowel and insert between felt hands. Repeat similarly for the other hand.
To make costume, fold fabric in half. Sew sides together, leaving holes for hands and slits on each side. Cut a small hole for neck on folded edge. Insert mop handle into neck hole. Bring fabric up around felt strip on handle. Sew neck of costume to felt strip. Insert dowels (with hands) into armholes. Sew felt hands to fabric costume.
To manipulate puppet, hold mop handle and one dowel in one hand. With your other hand move remaining dowel.
Plastic Bottle Rod Puppet
Use dowel to make hole (for neck) in Styrofoam ball. Remove dowel and cover ball according to one of the methods suggested in “Puppet Heads” section. Do not cover hole made for neck.
Thoroughly wash and dry detergent bottle. The bottle forms the body of puppet. Use the point of scissors to make a hole in the bottom of bottle large enough for the dowel to fit and move easily.
Spread glue on one end of dowel and insert into hole in completed head. Place other end of dowel in the neck of bottle and out the hole in bottom of bottle .
To hold dowel in place, spread glue around dowel approximately 1/8 -inch (3 cm) from bottom of bottle. Wrap ½ x 6-inch (1.25×15 cm) strip of felt in glued area. Spread glue on felt as you wrap so felt stays in place.
To make arms, generously glue a 1 ½ x 8-inch (3.75×20 cm) strip of felt to each side of bottle. Let glue dry thoroughly. Use pattern to cut hands from 4-inch (10 cm) square of felt. Glue hands to arms, let glue dry.
The bottle may be used as the costume by adding trim, small pieces of felt or lace and/or buttons. Or dress puppet in a separate costume. See “Costumes” for construction ideas.
To make rods for hands, cut two 12-inch (30 cm) pieces of wire from coat hanger. Use pliers to bend a loop on both ends of wire. Sew loop to each felt hand.
Manipulate arms by moving wire rods. Head may be turned from side by turning dowel.
String Puppets (Marionettes)
String Puppet Controls
All string puppets (marionettes) need a control to hold the strings. Here are three types of controls.
Use 12-inch (30 cm) ruler or a 12-inch (30 cm) length of ¼ -inch (.7 cm) doweling.
For a simple, lightweight puppet, make this control from two tongue depressors or ice-cream sticks. Glue one on top of the other to form an airplane shape.
For a heavier puppet, make controls from two pieces of wood, each 6 inches (15 cm) long and 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide and approximately ¼ inch (.7 cm) thick. Use a coping saw to make grooves will help to hold the strings in place. Glue the pieces together.
Use three pieces of wood, each 6 inches (15 cm) long and 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide and approximately ¼ inch (.7 cm) thick; also one spring-type clothespin. Use coping saw to make grooves on the three pieces of wood with four grooves on the top of the piece with one groove. This arrangement forms an airplane control. Glue clothespin onto control. Clip the piece of wood with two grooves into clothespin.
Animal String Puppet
Using animal patterns from “Shadow Puppets” cut animal outlines from lightweight cardboard . Punch holes in cardboard. T o attach legs, put one front leg on front side of body; insert paper fasteners through hole in leg and body, then through other front leg. Repeat for bag legs. Attach fasteners so legs move freely. Use felt pens or crayons to draw features on animals. Tape two pieces of string (the length of string will depend on the height of the puppeteer and if puppet is to be worked on table or floor) to back of animal, tie other end of string to ruler or dowel.
Camel- to make a tail, use a 1-inch (2.5 cm) piece of string. Fringe one end of string and tape other end to the end of camel.
Caterpillar String Puppet
To make antenna, twist chenille wire around first fringe ball. Cut facial features from felt. Use a toothpick to spread glue on felt pieces; glue pieces to ball (with antennae). Tie on end of 12-inch (30 cm) length of string around first ball, tie other end to dowel. Repeat procedure with fifth, eighth and end ball.
To make caterpillar inch along, dip the two dowels in different directors at the same time.
Boy/Girl String Puppet
Outline puppet pattern pieces on poster board. Cut out pieces; punch holes where indicated on pattern. Tie puppet pieces together with 5-inch (12.5 cm) lengths of string. Leave enough space between pieces so they will move easily. With felt pen draw facial and clothing details. Or, cut clothing details from fabric. Glue fabric and buttons to puppet. Make wig from yarn and glue to puppet.
Lay puppet on a flat surface with arms at sides. Beginning with the head, securely tie one end of string to hole; tie the other end of string to ruler or piece of wood. Continue similarly for hands, then feet. Hold up puppet and make any necessary adjustments in strings.
Move puppet by holding ruler in one hand and using other hand to manipulate strings.
Newspaper and Bottle String Puppet
Cut newspaper into eight 4×23-inch (10×57.5 cm) strips, six pages thick. Roll newspaper into tight rolls and fasten with masking tape. Prepare four rolls for arms and four rolls for legs.
Thoroughly wash and dry detergent bottle. The bottle forms the body of the marionette. Glue a piece of bias tape on each shoulder. Place a piece of masking tape over bias tape to hold at bottom of bottle.
To make arms, fasten two newspaper rolls together with bias tape strips and masking tape. Leave approximately ½ inch (1.25 cm) between rolls.
Trace hand patterns onto cardboard and felt; cut out. Cut two felt pieces for each hand.
Glue a felt hand to each side of cardboard hand; let glue dry. Wrap tab on hand piece around newspaper roll arm. Secure with masking tape. Cover bottom roll of newspaper arm and the tab from cardboard hand with a 3×3-inch (7.5×7.5 cm) piece of felt; glue in place. Let glue dry. Repeat for other arm. Tape arms to bias tape strips at shoulders of puppet.
To make legs, tape a piece of bias tape on each side of two newspaper rolls.
Trace hand patterns onto cardboard hand; let glue dry. Wrap tab on hand piece around newspaper roll arm. Secure with masking tape. Cover bottom roll of newspaper arm and the tab from cardboard hand with a 3×3-inch(7.5×7.5 cm) piece of felt; glue in the place. Let glue dry. Repeat for other arm. Tape arms to bias tape strips at shoulders of puppet.
To make legs, tape a piece of bias tape on each side of two newspaper rolls. Repeat for other leg. For feet, use knife to cut egg-shaped Styrofoam in half. The rounded part will be the top of foot. Use knife to make a hole in top of foot large enough for newspaper leg. Spread glue in hole and place leg in hole; let glue dry. To give weight to feet, glue a metal washer to bottom of each foot. Trace around bottom of Styrofoam feet. Attach legs to bias tape strips at bottom of bottle.
To make head push a 4-inch (10 cm) Styrofoam ball onto the neck of bottle to make a hole in ball; remove ball. Tie a 25-inch (62.5 cm) piece of button/carpet thread to hairpin or paper clip. Spread glue on other end of pin or clip and insert into the top center of ball. Make sure thread on head is left hanging free and is not cut off or covered with felt or papier-mache while making head. Spread glue around neck of bottle. Place completed head on bottle.
Glue and tape a 36-inch (90 cm) piece of button/carpet thread to the bottom edge of the top section of each leg.
Trace costume pattern onto 18×36-inch (45×90 cm) piece of fabric, cut out. Sew sides together. Place costume on puppet.
Use 8×14-ich(20×35 cm) piece of fabric for head scarf. Note where the head string is located. Thread head string in needle and pull thread through head scarf so the thread is on the outside. Remove needle.
The same procedure must be done for leg strings. Lay puppet on a flat surface. Make sure costume is straight and smooth. Thread needle with leg string and run up through costume so the strings are on the outside.
Thread needle with a 36-inch (90 cm) piece of button/carpet thread and insert needle through hand near thumb. Remove needle and tie a knot in string near hand. Repeat for other hand.
Make a two-piece wooden control as directed in “String Puppet Controls”.
To string puppet, lay puppet on a flat surface. Pull head string up to groove on controls. Tie a knot loosely. Repeat for hand and leg strings. Have someone hold puppet while you check the position of strings. If the puppet does not hang properly, untie knot and make adjustments. When satisfied with the strings, tie knots tightly; place a piece of tape over knots to hold strings in place.
To achieve a walking action in puppet, slowly rock controls from side to side.
Silly Bird String Puppet
To make neck of bird, tie a 10-inch (25 cm) piece of yarn to a paper clip. Insert paper clip into 5-inch (12.5 cm) Styrofoam egg. Tie the other end of yarn to another paper clip. Insert paper clip into the 3-inch (7.5 cm) ball.
To make legs, tie a knot in the center two pieces of 10-inch (25 cm) yarn (knots from bird’s knees). Tie a paper clip to both ends of yarn. Insert one end to body of bird for legs.
To make feet, cut- 2-ich(5 cm) styrofoam egg in half with separated knife. The cut surfaces are the bottom of feet. Glue a metal washer to the bottom of each foot for weight. Use pattern to cut yellow felt feet; glue to bottom of foot. Insert paper clip from legs into top of each foot.
Use pattern to cut beak from orange felt. Fold beak in half. Spread glue on fold and press to head. For nostrils, spread glue on straight pins and insert in beak near fold. Cut eyes from felt and glue to head. To give the head weight, insert a metal washer in bottom of ball.
Make a three-piece wooden control as directed in “String Puppet Controls” section.
To string puppet, tie a 35-inch(87.5 cm) piece of carpet/button thread to a paper clip. Insert paper clip in the top center of bird’s body.
Tie another 35-inch(87.5 cm) piece of thread to another clip and insert in the top center of head. Tie two more pieces of thread to two paper clips and insert a clip in each foot.
Tie strings to controls.
When you are satisfied with position of all strings, remove paper clips, one by one, and spread glue on them and return to holes.
Feathers may be added to head and for tail and wings.
To make a walking action, gently rock controls from side to side. Hold head section separately and move to give the effect that bird is looking around.