How do I make a woodbaby?

Ok ,so when I was younger, I went to a renaissance fair, and there was this puppet stand. They had these things called woodbabies. They are basically realistic animals that are placed on your shoulder and controlled with a wire. They are very cool, and those who know what I am talking about will agree. I saved up all year for next year's fair (I find out later that it wasn't the price, the freaked out my mom at the time), and when the fair came around next year, and my mom finally allowed me to buy one... THE STORE HAD MOVED ON! They completely removed themselves from that renaissance fair because they didn't make enough $ or something... so.. SADNESS.

Anyway, I just found what they were called and where to buy them on the internet... but they are really expensive, and I am wondering if anyone knows how to make one / knows instructions on the internet. Trust me, I looked.

That or where I can get one relatively low priced.

Picture of How do I make a woodbaby?
sort by: active | newest | oldest
Like Orc said for most of the discription. I've seen and played with these at Renfests also but if I remember right the control knob was attached by a stiff plastic cord and the motion up/down was just pull/push and the left/right was just twisting the knob in your hand. Which means the cable was directly attached the the head close to the piviot point. You could also think about useing a grabber type of tool that has a plunger type of control for the up/down. I've used these when working on cars andwhen dropping sockets or bolts, to retreive them from the hard to reach places on the motor. You can get them at auto part shops or even most retail stores the carry some automotive stuff. Hope this helps give you ideas to make one.

Hand carve the head and legs out of wood or use a dremel, and then use some fur for the covering. I'm sure theres a lot of little detail work involved in this so take LOTS of pics so you can make a Instructable!!
LeelaRae4 years ago
Here is the "woodbaby" I made. Like I said, I used a lot of household items and the ones I had to buy totaled to about $50 including the wire controls. YOU CAN DO IT!!! :)
art 033.JPGart 045.JPGart 052.JPGart 059.JPG
MariaC217 LeelaRae11 months ago

That is AWESOME!!! I've just made a dragon one. I used a bicycle break for the movement and his center is a wire armature that can be adjusted to fit any size shoulder. I have also balanced his weight so that is evenly distributed so that he is not front or rear heavy. Yours is just adorable!

cassiet121 year ago

How do you keep it on your shoulder?

DunC31 year ago

Have this one

DunC31 year ago

For sale

DunC31 year ago

for sale

DunC31 year ago

The store is called a Midsummer Knight's Dream website: --they are out o Ocala, FL and their contact number is 352-732-3350. I just bought a owl Woodbaby from them over the weekend in Orlando at Mega Con 2015. I did the same as you. Saw them there last year and saved to buy one. I was happy to see them at Mega Con again this year.

I am fascinated with animatronics yet cant work with servos. I would love to make one.

TheVivster4 years ago
Actually, I'm in the process of making one at the time.
I'm going to use a bicycle break to maneuver the head, here are some resources you can use to help you.


Also, most supplies I got at Hobby Lobby, and the bicycle brakes at Wal-Mart.
Wings, I'm planning on using wire and feathers.
I'm going to carve Styrofoam for the head, and use clay for the legs/feet, the body is probably going to be made of either Styrofoam or paper Mache.

I'll add images when I'm done... but I think it'll be easy.
LeelaRae5 years ago,6765.0.html you can do it! I did. It only cost me around fifty bucks and some time. Whoever tells you different has no idea what they are on about.
LeelaRae5 years ago
First off- Yeay! Another person interested in shoulder puppets! Okay... so a lot of these people sound really against trying something new. I had the same issue as you. I wanted one. They were expensive. I set out to make my own and only found very little on the matter. You do need some talent with sculpting, but it is not expensive as people make it sound. I made one that I have been told is gorgeous using clay, some papertowel tubes for framework for the body, and some other materials most of which I had laying around. The grand total of purchased materials was about $50. You can do it. Don't let others discourage you. You can do it!! Here are epics from the thread I posted on puppets and stuffs website as I cannot post photos from my tablet.,6765.0.html
Hello there!

I hate to break this to you, but i think it would be difficult for you to create your own woodbaby. Plus, by the time you buy all the equipment and fur and things you will need, you might as well buy a real woodbaby for the amount of money you will have to pay for the things you need. I have been to their workshop, it is a tough process. Especialy with the resin used on the legs. As for buying one cheaper then on the site? You can try the Amythist Cottage, there is a link on the Fantasy puppet website. ( ) And also you can try Ebay. If you are still curious about woodbabies, please, check out my Deviant art
( ) and also my informational youtube channel about them. ( Search XxmidsummergirlxX on )
You can request videos and artwork on woodbabies of every kind. I hope this helped.
ok, i actually have one of the smaller wood babies, the cable for theirs is specially made for the puppet its smaller and plastic with wire cable down the center, i would say bike brake cable would work great, and if your not adept with wood you could probably use a polymer clay like sculpy as a quick alternative
puppet diagram.jpg
orksecurity6 years ago
If you search out videos showing how to operate these, you'll get some information on how the control cable works. It's basically two-axis control, with push/pull moving the head up and down and rotation turning the head. I'd suggest getting a suitable cable-and-tube (a hunk of speedometer cable might work?), putting a knob on one end of the cable so you can manipulate it, clamping the other end of the tube in place (as it would be clamped in the puppet, so the tube holds the puppet steady while the cable moves against it), and doing some experimentation. The head will probably want to be attached to a pivot of some sort so the cable can push and pull relative to that to get the motion desired. Springs to return it to a neutral position (or to help doing so) might or might not be useful.

I have seen cheaper puppets that work this way, I believe. They aren't as sculptural, but they do work. Sorry, can't cite a source, but I suspect that if you search for some combination of "cable operated shoulder puppet" you'll find a vendor on the web.

I've also seen much more expensive ones, with additional cables to control eyelids and mouth and ears. Those are aimed at adults who are willing to sink a goodly chunk of money, and learning time, into this.

Although, as such things go, $300 is actually not an unreasonable price. Think about all the hours of design and manufacturing that go into these, which you'll have to repeat if you want something that looks anywhere near as good. Assuming you get the mechanism figured out and working nicely, do you think you'll be able to dress it up nicely enough to take out in public?

Remember too that, after you get it working, how believable it will be is going to depend on how much time you spend developing a character and motions that go with that character and how well you can keep track of its reactions as separate from your own. As with any puppet, making it move is only the first step.