Introduction: How to Make a Fox Puppet
Vulpes Vulpes, or more commonly known as the red fox, is the largest and most widespread of all the true foxes. They are clever dog-like animals… that love to learn about HTML! You can make your very own fox puppet by following these simple instructions. Read through the instructions carefully before getting started and expect to spend about 3-5 hours making the puppet. Are you ready? Lets get started!
Step 1: Gathering the Materials
Purchase, borrow, or otherwise scrounge together the following materials:
1/2 yard burnt orange fleece
1/4 yard white fleece
1/4 yard black fleece
1 foot red fleece
2 shiny, eye-like buttons
1/4 yard of half inch foam sheeting
Sewing machine (optional, it can be sewed by hand also)
Matching burnt orange thread
Marker or fabric chalk
The estimates on fabric may be a little generous. We reduced the amount from what we had purchased because we had enough to make a small skulk (group of foxes). If you have extra material, you could always make more foxes. They are social creatures after all!
Step 2: Preparing the Pattern
UPDATE: A vastly improved version of this pattern with updated instructions is available as a pay what you want download here: gumroad.com/l/fox-puppet.
Download the attached fox puppet pattern. The pattern is optimized for standard US letter 8.5 x 11 inch paper. Some printers may try to resize the page, so check your print options for something like “Page Scaling” and set it to whatever choice sounds like it will prevent the printer from resizing the page. Once it’s printed out, cut along the thick black lines.
The dashed thick black lines indicate parts of the patten that need to be taped together. The pieces are labeled, so it’s not hard to figure out. When everything is cut out and assembled, it’s time to move on to tracing the pattern.
Step 3: Tracing and Cutting the Pattern
It’s easiest to trace and cut as you go, one color at a time. We’ll start with orange since that’s our main color. The body, part of the arms, and part of the ears all use orange fleece. There are two sides to the fabric known as the “wrong” and “right” sides. The right side is the side of the fabric you want to show when everything is all sewn together. Look at your fleece and decide which side is wrong and which side is right. The fleece I chose was nice and furry on one side and kind of flat on the other, so I said the right side was the furry side. Always trace the pattern pieces on the wrong side. Another thing to consider when tracing your pattern is the grain of the fabric. The grain is the direction of the threads of the fabric that run parallel to the selvage. The selvage is the machine-finished edge of the fabric. I traced all of my pattern pieces parallel to the grain of the fabric. Fortunately fleece is a very forgiving fabric, and you don’t need to be too exact with your alignment. Lay down the body pattern and outline it with your marking tool of choice.
Then trace the ear piece twice.
And trace the arm pattern #1 twice.
That’s all of the orange pieces, so locate your sewing sheers and carefully snip away!
Be extra cautious when cutting the darts for the ears so you don’t accidentally cut off the head.
Once you’ve cut everything out, fold up the left-over orange fleece and roll out the white. The chest, face, and part of the ears use white fleece. We’ll start by tracing one chest piece.
Then trace the face pattern once, flip it over, and trace it again. It’s very important that you trace the face pattern once on each side. Don’t trace the same side twice or you’ll end up with a two-faced fox. The worst kind of fox.
Now trace the same ear piece that we used on the orange fabric twice.
And finally, cut everything out.
Once you’ve cut and put away the white fleece, we can move on to the black. The nose and part of the arms use black fleece. These parts can be tricky to trace if you’re using a marker, but it’s still doable. The nose piece, like the face pattern, needs to be traced, flipped over, and traced again.
Now trace the arm pattern #2 twice.
And cut out all of the pieces.
That’s it for the black fleece. The last piece of fleece we need is a red mouth piece. Trace and cut the pattern.
The only thing left to cut are the foam inserts. The mouth piece is necessary to give shape to the puppets face, but the head piece is optional. It helps fill out the fox head so it isn’t so flat. Trace and cut the foam pieces.
Now that you have all of the pieces cut out, it’s time to start assembling the fox puppet.
Step 4: Sewing the Face and Chest
We use a machine for most of the sewing, but you can do it all by hand if you really want to. Sew all of the seams with a 1/4 inch margin. The order of the sewing steps is very important, so it would be a good idea to read through all of the instructions before you start to sew.
Start with your sewing machine threaded with white thread. We only need white thread for the face and chest pieces, so we’ll sew those first and get the white thread out of the way. Make sure you have your machine threaded with white thread for these steps or your fox will have brown lines running through its face. Your fox would not be very happy about that. Got it? White thread. Good. Place the two face pieces right sides together and pin the chin in place.
Sew only the chin edge together (that’s the shorter curved edge).
Open the face piece, flip it so the right side of the face is lying on the right side of the chest piece, and line up the neck opening with the top of the chest.
Pin it in place and stitch it together.
Set this piece aside and re-thread your machine with orange thread.
Step 5: Sewing the Arms
Did you re-thread your machine with orange thread? We’re all done with the white thread, so you can safely put it somewhere where you won’t be tempted to use it. Pin the black arm pattern #1 to the orange arm pattern #2 right sides together. Stitch the pieces together.
While not necessary, it’s a good idea to press open the seams as you sew. Use a low setting on your iron and only iron the wrong side, because fleece has a low melting temperature.
Fold the right sides of the arm piece together length-wise. Pin in place, making sure to line up the seams, and sew all but the opening at the top of the arm together.
Using a marker or some other long, cylindrical object to guide the fabric, turn the arm piece inside out.
Now you’re a pro at making fox arms, so it’s no big deal to repeat these steps to make the second one. With the arms complete, we’re ready to move on to the ears.
Step 6: Sewing the Ears
Sewing the fox ears can be a little tricky if you want a fancy ear tuck, but I’m sure you can handle it! Start by pinning one white piece on top of one orange piece, right sides together.
Stitch all but the flat bottom part together.
Trim some of the seam allowance from the tip of the ear, then flip it right side out.
This next bit is the tricky part. It’s not entirely necessary, so if it doesn’t make sense, just skip it. What we’re trying to do here is give the ear a little crease so it looks less like a triangular piece of fleece and more like a fox ear. To do this, roll one edge until the inside seam allowances lie flat against the orange fabric. Then fold some of the white fabric over itself so that the opposite seam allowances line up with their like color. Attached are two pictures demonstrating the ear tuck.
Stitch the ear tuck in place. If you don’t trust your machine sewing skills, now might be the time to hand stitch. The ear only needs to hold its shape until we sew it into the fox head, so it doesn’t need to be a perfect stitch.
Repeat these steps for the second ear, but roll the ear tuck from the opposite side so that the finished ears appear to be mirrored.
Step 7: Attaching the Arms and Ears
Attaching the arms and ears to the body can be difficult to pull off with a sewing machine because you’ll be stitching through four layers of fleece. It can be done, but we officially recommend hand stitching these seams. We’ll begin by sewing the arms in place. line the top edge of the finished arm up with the bottom edge of the arm hole in the body pattern. Make sure the right sides of the fabric are together and that the arm seam points toward the center of the body piece.
Flip the top half of the body over the arm, align the edge of the arm hole with the top of the arm, and pin it in place.
The top of the arm should be flush with the two edges of the arm hole. There should also be a 1/4 inch margin on the outside edge of the body, before the arm. If there is not, now is the time to cut the arm hole a little bit deeper. If all is well, stitch the arm in place.
Repeat this technique for the other arm.
Attaching the ears is exactly the same as attaching the arms. Ensure that the ear tuck lies toward the center of the body piece and that the white fabric is face up, then stitch it in place the same way you did the arms. Depending on how far apart you want the ears to be, you may want to cut the ear holes a little deeper. Just make sure there is at least a 1/4 inch margin on either side of the ear.
Step 8: Sewing the Chest and Face to the Body
Remember that chest piece we sewed way back at the beginning? It’s time to attach it to the fox body! Right after we sew the nose in place. Line the nose piece up with the top edge of the face, right sides together. The curved edge should point toward the body. If you remember this, there is only one way you can place this piece. Be very sure this piece is placed correctly, then go ahead and sew it in place. Notice that seam ripper in the background? That’s there because I wasn’t very sure the piece was placed correctly.
Pin and sew the chest and face piece to the body piece right sides together, being sure to line up the face seam on the face/chest piece with the arm seam on the body piece.
If you lined the face seam with the arm seam correctly, the face piece should reach the tip of the nose almost exactly. Don’t worry too much if it’s a little off, though.
With both sides of the face/chest piece sewn to the body, we can finish off the head by pinning and sewing the head seam together. Make sure you pin the right sides together and line up the two ear seams.
The nose seam should also line up.
Step 9: Sewing the Mouth
You should now have a very strange looking inside out fox with a big gaping hole for a mouth. Gently pulling the tip of the nose and the chin to stretch the hole open, line up the face piece with the mouth piece, right sides together. Pin in place, tugging the cheeks out to the edge of the mouth piece.
Machine or hand stitch the face to the mouth piece.
It may not look like much now, but trust us, you’re almost done!
Step 10: Finishing the Arm Opening
Because fleece doesn’t fray, this step isn’t really necessary. We only did it because it looks nice. You can safely skip this step if you simply cannot bare to sew any more. With the puppet still inside out, roll the edge of the arm hole down about 1/2 inch and sew it together.
Step 11: Gluing the Mouth
To give the puppet face structure, you will need to glue the foam mouth piece to the fleece mouth piece. We used contact cement to glue our fox mouth, but you could also use fabric glue. Whatever you use, please be very careful and only glue in a well ventilated area. Try to center the fleece mouth on the foam piece as well as you can. Stretch and pull it as necessary to get it to lay as flat as possible on the foam. You only get one shot at this, so make it count.
Once the glue has dried, you can turn your puppet right side out.
Step 12: Attaching the Eyes
The only thing your puppet is missing now is eyes. You can use whatever buttons you like, and placement is entirely up to you. Try putting them in different spots until you find what you prefer, then glue or sew them in place.
Ta da! You just made a fox puppet. Thanks for following along!