Create puppets and put on a show

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From The Muppets to the many creations of Gerry Anderson, puppets hold a special place in the hearts of adults and children around the world.

The best thing about puppets though is that absolutely anyone can create them in their home to bring characters, stories or great designs to life! All you need are some basic craft materials or household objects, sticky tape, glue and an ambitious imagination.

The possibilities are endless, but to help out, Our Time has come up with some great ideas to get you started.

Gather your materials and family around a table and try some of the following.

Making finger puppets 

Draw your finger puppets on a piece of card first

Start by drawing designs for your finger puppets on a piece of card.

Finger puppets are one of the easiest designs to make and are perfect for younger children or budding puppet creators who are just starting out!

For this approach you will need card, scissors, pens, sticky tape and glue sticks.

  1. Start by drawing your characters onto the card as pictured to the right. They can be whatever you want but ideally keep them simple and not much bigger than one of your fingers.
  2. Once you’re finished drawing and possibly colouring, cut the character designs out.
  3. Cut out strips of card for each character that is about 1cm in width and 6cm long.
  4. Roll your strips of card into loops large enough to go around your fingers and sellotape them.
  5. Sellotape or glue a loop to the back of each character, ideally low down.

While simple, this approach is quick and allows you to control a character with each finger, meaning you could put on a production with a whole cast of characters on just two hands!

Cut out finger puppets

Want to get ambitious? Try the following:

  • Cut out and stick fabric to your finger puppets to give them texture or fur.
  • Stick on string or pipe cleaners to give your characters hair.
  • Got some old magazines? Try cutting out and combining photos to make strange new characters and creatures!
  • Try sticking together more than one piece of card to create more complex characters.
  • Instead of having your finger holding a character from the back, cut two holes where their legs would be and push your fingers through to have them walk around (as pictured to below).

Walking rabbit finger puppet

  • Good with paper craft? Try folding together a character with a mouth that opens and closes so they can lip sync!

Making sock puppets

Got old socks lying around that you don’t want anymore? Great! Use them to create funny puppets that can sing along to songs, have a conversation with a family member or eat something!

You will also likely need buttons, wool and a safe form of PVA glue. Big kids could also use a sewing kit!

  1. Start by rolling up a newspaper or magazine and stuffing it inside the sock. This will make it easier to work on.
  2. Glue (or sew) eyes on using buttons. If you don’t have spare buttons, get creative and try sticking something else on. Pennies, bottle caps (make sure they’re not sharp) or paper eyes of your own design could help give your sock puppet a distinct personality!
  3. Glue, thread or sew on wool as hair (young kids may need help with this!). As with the eyes, if you don’t have spare wool there are plenty of other fun choices for this such as string or rubber bands.Sock Puppets flat
  4. Is there anything else you could glue to your character? Perhaps a pair of short pipe cleaners for eyebrows? A ball of cotton wool for a nose maybe? Some sequins to make them eye-catching?
  5. Leave enough time for the glue to dry.
  6. Remove the newspaper or magazine, put the puppet on your hand and put on a show!

Puppets facing each other

Want a bit more variety in your puppets? Old outdoor or unneeded rubber gloves could be used as the basis for a spider puppet.

Alternatively, you could also cut off the individual fingers of the glove (carefully) as a base for lots of extra finger puppets!

Setting the scene

Made some puppets? Planned a story and practiced a bit? Then it’s time to set the scene for your show!

You could try the following to stage a grand production for your family:

  • Take a large cardboard box and (carefully) cut a square or rectangular viewing hole in one side. Through this either draw a background for your show on the opposite inner side or draw it on a piece paper first and stick it there if that’s easier.
  • Want to decorate your set a bit more? Draw and cut out foreground objects such as grass or plants on card and stick them to the front of your box so they slightly overlap the viewing hole.
  • For the actual show, you could prop the box up on the edge of a table (make sure it’s secure) with room to hide underneath and control your puppets in the box.
  • Don’t have a big enough box? Take a large sheet of paper, draw your scene on it and stick it to a wall which your puppets can act against!
  • Try cutting up some magazine photos and make a new background by sticking them together.

Make a movie

Want to share your puppet show with friends? Try filming it and sharing with them online!

We’d also love to see the ambitious productions and characters you create! Perhaps ask a parent or older family member to share film of your shows to our social media: Twitter @ourtimecharity or our Instagram @ourtimecharity.

Looking for some inspiration?

Little Angel Theatre screen grabLittle Angel Theatre has some great puppet shows to get your creative juices flowing. Why not check out their YouTube channel?

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