How to make a hand puppet

How to make a hand puppet

Read ahead for instructions on how to make three quick, cheap, and easy hand puppets from everyday objects. A fun activity for the whole family!

By Allison Stelly

How to Make Hand Puppets

Do you have an itch to make your favorite stories come to life? Or, better yet, do you like to make up your own exciting tales? Throughout the entire history of humankind, people have made and used puppets to tell stories. With puppets, you don’t need a huge cast of actors to put on a show—you can make your own cast of characters in a single afternoon! Start with a paper bag, an old sock, or a foam ball and some fabric, add some odds and ends (like yarn, paint, felt, or tin foil) and a little imagination, and you can end up with a regal queen, a swashbuckling pirate, a roaring lion, or practically any creature imaginable!

Paper Bag Puppet

For this project, you will need one small paper bag, a pair of scissors, and some white glue. In addition, you’ll need some odds and ends to add your puppet’s features and bring that paper bag to life! You might want to start with some of the following:

-Construction paper
-Wrapping paper
-Pipe cleaners
-Fabric scraps
-Ribbons and trim
-Acrylic paint

Now, put your hand into the paper bag. Your hand fits right inside the fold in the bottom of the bag, making a mouth (try opening and closing your puppet’s mouth a few times). While you have your hand in the puppet, mark with a pencil roughly where you want its features to go. You might want to cut out eyes and other shapes for features, or maybe you prefer to add bits and pieces to the puppet for embellishment. Either way, have fun decorating your puppet!

Sock Puppet

For this project, you will need one clean sock, posterboard or thin cardboard, white glue, scissors, sewing supplies, a 12 x 12 inch piece of fabric or construction paper, and any objects you want to use to decorate your puppet.

First, cut out an oval (3 inches long and 5 inches wide) from the posterboard or thin cardboard. Fold this oval in half. This piece will end up in the puppet’s mouth to keep the shape of the mouth and allow your puppet to “talk.†Cover the oval with construction paper or fabric.

Next, put your hand inside the sock. Put your fingers in the toe of the sock and make a “duck bill†shape. That shape is an instant mouth! Cut a small slit between your thumb and your fingers, and then glue the stiff oval into this space. Let the glue dry completely. Now you have the basic form of the puppet—with a little creativity and your found objects, you can turn that old sock into any creature imaginable!

Foam Ball Puppet

For this project, you will need one small floral foam ball, a low-temp hot glue gun, low-temp glue sticks, a 24 x 24 inch square of cloth, a ruler, a pair of scissors, a pencil, and, of course, found objects to decorate the puppet.

Kids, don’t try to use the hot-glue gun yourself! Ask an adult or a teen sibling for help.

Draw diagonal lines with the ruler from corner to corner of the square cloth. The lines should intersect in the exact center of the cloth. Next, hot glue the foam ball to this center point. This ball will be the head of your puppet. Using the scissors, carve out a small hole in the underside of the ball, where your fingers will fit to control the head.

Now turn the puppet right-side-up, so that the cloth drapes over the head. If necessary, use more hot glue to keep the cloth firmly attached to the head of the puppet. You will use your first and middle fingers to control the puppet’s head. Extend your thumb and pinky fingers and notice how the draped cloth takes on the appearance of arms. Attach a ring of trim around the neck and each arm, but make sure that you leave the trim loose enough for you to easily get your fingers in and out. Finally, decorate the puppet—use buttons for eyes, stitch or glue on fabric and trims for clothes, or use fabric paints or markers to add details.

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