Making: Talking Puppets
Miss7 and I have been in absolute puppet mode since last weekend, limited only by the number of styrofoam spheres we had in our crafty stash!!!
With the most basic of materials and scraps Molly absolutely LOVED dreaming up characters for ‘her show’, and she’s not finished yet – there’s talk of a robot, alien, mad scientist and a smurf….. sky’s the limit!!
The sliding pole action of the puppet mechanism (see below) enables the mouth to open up and down – and the top of the head can also swivel side to side when the puppet wants to say “Na Ah, no way huzzay” :)
How to Make Talking Puppets
Materials you need:
Wiring conduit (from electrical stores or B&Q and similar large hardware outlets), you need two different diameters, one to slide up and down inside the other
Hot Glue Gun
And to decorate:
pipe cleaners, fabric scraps, googly eyes, permanent markers – it all depends on what character you are making
Lets get crafting
First you need to cut the styrofoam spheres in two.
Then cut the conduit as follows, per puppet: the thinner inner conduit should be approx 38mm in length, the wider outer sliding conduit should be approx 25mm in length.
Twist and push the outer/wider conduit into one of the hemispheres (the puppet’s lower jaw), pushing very slowly and carefully when you break through the surface as you want the hole to be as neat as possible.
Twist the thinner conduit piece into the centre of other hemisphere (the puppet’s head). This one does NOT break through the surface – squeeze some hot glue into the hole to keep the conduit in place and avoid any puppet malfunctions during the show :)
Now the basic mechanics/structure of your puppet is made and ready for adding the character….. the fun part
Decorating Your Puppets – let’s meet the cast
Remember what follows now are examples of what’s possible….. let your imagination take it from here :)
Meet the Crazy Clown
A mess free option – no paint and therefore no drying time, always a bonus!!
The clowns hair is made with pipe cleaners curled around a pencil, just struck into the styrofoam
Glue on some googly eyes
With the permanent markers draw on the eyebrows, lips, freckles etc
For the ‘clothes’ just cut a square of fabric, approx 35mm, and snip a hole in the centre – just wide enough for the conduit to fit through.
Then scraps of felt were hot glued on for the ears and the panting tongue.
I butchered an old shirt for the collar and a scrap of denim for the clothes, with felt spots hot glued into place.
She is made from an unpainted sphere, googly eyes, marker painted lips.
Molly decided she needed square pipe cleaner glasses, so she could watch the telly :)
We disguised the glue join at the base of her chin by hot gluing a longer scrap of fabric on as a scarf, and some pockets with marker stitching added the finishing touch.
The only main difference between Nelly and the others above is her luscious locks.
I achieved this by layering long scraps of fabric fringe one behind the other, held in place with some paper clips straightened out and then bent into an U shape.
This is what the fabric fringe looked like before I pinned it onto the styro ball…
This gorgeous fringe is waste from Foxford Woollen Mills manufacturing process, it probably started it’s life as a rug!! – this and other scraps of fabric were sourced in the Connaught Resource Centre in Castlebar – this incredible non-profit making recycling organisation collects waste from industries in the area, like Foxford – and make it available to community groups, schools and crèches for art and craft purposes.