Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Homemade Marionettes

These homemade marionettes are fun to make and provide hours of fun once completed. Make a bunch and put on your own retelling of your favorite fairy tales- Or make up your own! This is the perfect rainy day activity as it takes some time to put together and then provides hours of fun when done!

What You Need: Plastic cups of various sizes (one large & 5 medium per puppet), Yarn, cardboard, felt & decorations, glue, scissors,

What to Do: 

Parents may want to do these first steps before hand, so that children just have to decorate and assemble.  
  • Cut a lower case "t" out of cardboard for the puppet control and poke a hole in each of the four ends.
  • Put a slit or small hole in the bottom of each plastic cup. 
  • Put a slit or small hole in the back of the large cup (Body) and two of the smaller cups (hands) near the lip. Leave the  head and feet cups with just holes in the bottoms.
  • Put two slits on the side of the big cup near the bottom of the cup. These will be where the arms attach.
Once all the cutting is done, you & your child can assemble and decorate your marionette.
  1. Tie a knot on the end of the yarn and slip it through one of the arm holes. Cut a length of string as desired for arms. Slip the end of the yarn through the bottom of one of the hand cups (a cup with a hole in the bottom and side). Repeat on the other side. 
  2. Slip the yarn through the hole in the bottom of the large cup, the body. Pull a large length (excess can be trimmed later) through - think of this string as the spine of the puppet, connecting the head to the legs. Cut and tie knot in the end closest to the bottom of the cup (top of the puppet) Slip the knot through the bottom a small cup (head) so that the bottoms are facing each other. (Make sure to leave a bit of yarn for the neck and a bit to attach to the control.
  3. Cut a length of yarn for the legs, tie it at the midway point to the "spine"  so that you have to equal length legs hanging from inside the body. Slip one end of the yarn through a foot cup and tie a knot to secure. Then repeat with the other leg and foot. At this point your puppet should be complete (without the controls) and look like the picture below (it's sideways  now but this will be corrected shortly).
Decorate the Puppet with felt, pom poms, feathers and attach with the glue. Use permanent marker to draw a face.

For the controls:
  • Slip lengths of yarn through each of the holes in the cardboard cut out. 
  • Attach the top of the "t" to the yarn inside the head. 
  • Attach the sides of the "t" to the hands (again by slipping into the holes in the sides of the hand cups.
  • Attach the bottom of the "t" to the body by slipping the yarn into the hole in the back of the body near the lip. 

Once it's dry, Practice using the controls  to manipulate your puppet.

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