I'm getting my Masters in Library Science, and for my Early Childhood Materials class this semester, our first assignment was to introduce ourselves to the class...via puppet.
The puppet could be store-bought or homemade, old or new, as simple or as complicated as we wanted. I am, and always have been, a try-hard overachiever, so I opted to make my own puppet.
So. How do you make a puppet?
Well, I used felt, yarn, and a hot glue gun.
I based my puppet design loosely on the Potter Puppet Pals. I knew I wasn't a puppet construction expert, and I liked that the Potter Puppets simple designs didn't have arms that had to be controlled by a puppeteer. I measured my felt so that my puppet would be about the length of my forearm, and then I cut out two sides my pattern from the felt. I glued those two sides together, let the glue dry, and then flipped the puppet so that the seam and guide marks were on the inside.
After I flipped the puppet body, I made what can really only be called the "scalp." This is where I glued my puppet's hair, one or two pieces of yarn at a time. This seemed to me like the most efficient way to make her hair. Before I attached and styled the hair, I added two tiny ears to either side of the puppet's head. These were just circles cut from felt and folded in half. After the hair was glued and placed, I wrapped the light blue fabric around the puppet's body to make a dress, and I added some goldenrod felt for a stylish little neckerchief.
Next, I worked on the puppet's face. I cut oval eyes and the mouth out of black felt and added tiny white eye sparkles for a little personality. Cheeks (I'm a major blusher) were cut out of bright pink felt, and the glasses were light pink felt. I also took this time to add some extra hair for shape and fullness.
After the face was placed, I stuffed the puppet's head with Supreme Fiber Fill and added a small cardboard "stopper" to keep the fluff from falling out of the head and down through the puppet body. I cut two straight arms from the felt and glued them closed, then used a pencil to add stuffing before attaching them to the body. Finally, I cut two puppet hands from the base felt and added them to the ends of the arms.
I was thrilled with the finished product. Henry (my 4-year-old son) claimed the "Mommy puppet" as his own pretty much the instant I walked in the door - he graciously let me use her to complete my assignment before he took complete ownership.
Lessons learned from my puppet-making experiment:
- Hot glue is amazing, but a sewing machine would have done a sturdier job.
- Felt is fine, but some softer patterned fabrics would be more visually interesting and easier to use.
- Library school is definitely the right place for me.