Learn how to make hand puppets for kids in this easy make & play project by Danielle Falk of Little Ginger Studio.
Have you ever wanted to make hand puppets for kids? Well here is a fool-proof no-sew puppet-making project that can be enjoyed by kids of all ages (and their grown-ups).
Kids LOVE playing with their own special puppets and this project is sure to end in a hilarious child-produced puppet show!
The magic of puppets
I’ve found over the years that puppet shows can coax even the shiest children to participate. I have used them often in my other life as an English as a Second Language specialist in elementary schools. Creativity weaves it’s magic again!
How to Make Hand Puppets
- dowels cut to size (about 12″)
- thick wooden skewers (to manipulate puppet arm)
- a selection of fun fabrics (shiny, patterned, textured but all quite thin & flowing to encourage movement)
- a selection of skin-toned fabrics (if you wish to make people puppets)
- colored felt
- cardboard of a thickness easy to cut
- quality hot glue gun
- wood glue or school glue
- strong, thick rubber bands
- a selection of ribbons
- colored yarns (great way to use up scraps)
- foam balls for head (about 3″ in diameter)
- googly eyes
- assortment of craft supplies for decorating: sequins, buttons, feathers, beads, craft foam, pipe cleaners etc.
1. Attach puppet’s head & clothing
- Carefully push a foam ball onto the skewer to form your puppet’s head.
- Cover your foam head with a piece of skin-toned fabric and secure with an elastic band.
- Cut a shiny or patterned piece of fabric into a square about 15″ square and cut two slits in the middle to create a small hole.
- Slide the fabric over your puppet head (like a poncho!) and attach securely with another elastic band.
Younger children will need help with these steps.
2. Add decorations
Start by disguising the elastic band by adding a scarf/tie/bow tie/feather boa to the puppet.
Add yarn or ribbon for hair, buttons & googly eyes for eyes, a bead for the nose & cut out some felt for the mouth.
We used a hot glue gun to attach all of these (except the felt). Tacky clear craft glue would also work.
Ribbons can be attached using school or wood glue.
Add further decorations such as sequins, feathers and cut felt shapes. Kids could even try to make cardboard hats or wings – anything is possible!
3. Create & attach puppet hands
- To make the hands, draw and cut four simplified hand shapes out of cardboard & hot glue them together to make 2 thick hands.
- Add a wooden skewer to one of the hands before gluing to be able to manipulate it.
- Then hot-glue the hands to the corners of the puppet poncho.
This allows kids to hold up their puppets by the dowel with one hand and move around one of the puppet’s hands whilst the other hand hangs free.
4. Play with your puppet!
Now for the fun part! Why not set up a corner of the room as a puppet theatre? A couple of chairs with a blanket thrown over will do, or even a coffee table on its side.
Kids adore performing with their puppets and I’m always surprised at the inventive voices and characters they create. Have fun!
About the Author
Danielle Falk, from Little Ginger Studio, is an Art Educator from Sydney, Australia. She has a background in Primary (Elementary) Education, is a cardboard hoarder, and loves any fluorescent art supply. Her business name, “Little Ginger Studio,” is named after her daughter (who hopefully will forgive her mum in time).
She started her Children’s Art School nine years ago when she realized many students lacked adequate opportunities for creativity in the day-to-day curriculum.
Little Ginger Studio hosts after-school visual arts programs that explore all manner of making, as well as exciting school holiday (vacation) workshops with a focus on big, messy creativity & contemporary crafts. Danielle loves nothing more than letting children of all ages loose on a pile of shiny new (or recycled!) art materials and watching their creativity ignite.
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