Instructables
With a serger you can prototype many things because it makes it easy to cobble together bits of material into something fun real quick. An after-dinner project when there is nothing good on TV, make your own muppet-style puppet. Time to get more practice using the serger so I threw this together.

Pick a random dude to base how your puppet will look like. Think about what the puppet's characteristics are. Will it have a long or short face, big or small nose, round or other shape nose, big eyes, small eyes... Should it be fuzzy, furry, or just soft and cuddly. Will you have a bald puppet or something with a unique hairdo? What accessories will it need. Or, just start sewing and create something as you go...
 
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Step 1: Create the mouthpiece...

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You can use a regular sewing machine for all of the steps.

You can also use a serger to do most everything except adding details where you need a straight or zigzag stitch. You can look at the Robohoodie for American Girl Dolls for more info on using a serger.

This project does not require any expensive foam pieces or core shapes. You do not need to deal with toxic foam bits from cutting and sanding or need to use toxic glues.

All you need is:
  • fabric material of any kind
  • a bit of cardboard
  • a sewing machine
  • a serger if you have one
  • an imagination

I had a few sheets of pre-cut felt and robo-yellow fleece laying around. All of these dimensions were created as we went along to fit. Next one I make will probably be smaller and sized to be easily manipulated by a child-sized hand and arm.

I folded over that sheet of black felt to make the top and bottom of the mouth. Add a piece of red felt shaped like a tongue.

Cut out matching pieces of some other material to match. This is to form 2 pockets for the top and bottom of the mouth. Later on we will slip in cardboard stiffeners and that is where you place your hands to animate the mouth. I serged the edge of fabric for the pocket opening.

Sandwich everything and serge around the half-moon shape. Cut out carboard stiffeners to fit in the pockets. Test fit and take out to make the rest of the sewing easier.

Step 2: Don't get a head of yourself...

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Cut a strip of fabric that will be wide enough to match the roundness of front of the mouth. Make it long enough to cover your arm and an additional length for the top of the face.

Cut a portion for the top of the face from that strip of fabric.

Attach the longer piece to the bottom of the mouth.

Add the shorter piece to the top of the mouth.

Sew so that when turned out the seam will be hidden.

Step 3: Get a sense for it...

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I just cut out a triangular piece of fabric to make the nose. Sew on the bottom seam of the nose. Get and bend some cardboard to form the shape nose. Wrap that fabric over it and sew around it.

Cut out two round circles of white felt and sew or glue on to use as the eyes. Take a magic marker to draw on the pupils of the eyes if you are not using more felt for the the pupils.

There is some magic golden triangle proportion that real Muppets have with the placement of the eyes and nose. The pupils are closer together so it seems they are looking at you no matter which way the puppet is facing you.

Step 4: Hear no monkey, see no monkey,...

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Take a piece of fabric for the ears. Fold it in half and serge around it to form the ears. Turn it inside out to create the finished ears.

I did not have time to make the hands. You can do the same thing like the ears. Take two layers of material and draw out a hand that has only four fingers. Sew around the outline and flip inside out. You can then use it as a puppet glove or stuff it with fiberfill. Attach a dowel or thin stiff wire like a welding rod to move the arms.

Trim the face so it is rounded over at the top. Cut out a strip of fabric the length of the puppet. Place the face down on the new strip of fabic so you can sew everything inside out.

Place the ears in position in the sandwich on the inside with the openings on the seam to be attached. Sew or serge around the sides and top of the puppet to form a bullet-shaped figure.

Flip everything inside out. Place the cardboard stiffeners back in the mouth pockets.

Step 5: More stuff...

Take an old T-shirt or use polyester fiberfill/batting to stuff the head of the puppet.

Now is the time to accessorize.

You can have a bald puppet or add some cool hair. Use fake fur to make a hairpiece. I'm not only a member but I'm the president...

The trick to working with fake fur is to cut it on the back with a razor knife. Cut just enough to be able to gently rip it apart so that the long hairs on the front are still intact and not cut short.

If you are sewing it, just comb everything away from the seam. After you have sewn it, fluff up and brush the hair back over to cover the seam.

Attach the toupee, rug, whatever you want to call it to the top of the head with tape or you can sew it on.

Make glasses from a piece of cardboard. I taped a paperclip on the back of it to hook into the bridge of the nose. I didn't have any pins laying around.

Find some old baby-sized clothes for the puppet to wear. Stuff the clothing and arms/hands to fill out the shape.
chinchymork5 years ago
awwwww! 1+$+4-$= 5 stars!
Needs more detail in the instructions if you ask me... Very vague.
caitlinsdad (author)  Superhero-Apri5 years ago
Not an overly ambitious project but it does require some basic knowledge of sewing and knowing how to visualize things inside out. I probably left out some details but this instructable was created as I created the puppet. The fun of it is you don't know what will turn out in the end.
mg0930mg6 years ago
Wow. AWESOME!
caitlinsdad (author)  mg0930mg6 years ago
Wow, the muppet-puppet resembles your avatar somewhat. :)
I want to make a muppet puppet with my avatar. :D
caitlinsdad (author)  mg0930mg6 years ago
Cool, maybe you can use whiffle balls covered in cloth for your eyeballs then attach by covering with eyelids attached to the face. Size the mouth so it is a little larger than the palm of your hand. You want to keep the puppet light so it doesn't tire out your arm and hands. I'm sure everyone would want to see it when you are finished.
Gah. I forgot. Would $30 be enough for cloth? Please respond soon. Mike
caitlinsdad (author)  mg0930mg5 years ago
That is way too much. I think you can find fleecy materials at a fabric store or Walmart for about $5 or less a yard. Rummage through the bargain bin for other stretchy fabrics to match what you want. You shouldn't need more than a yard of fabric. I would suggest you cut up an old large bath towel to use as the fabric. Make a set of teeth by laminating a few layers of cardboard and painting it white or covering with shelf liner contact plastic paper.
caitlinsdad (author)  caitlinsdad5 years ago
and experiment with a prototype sock muppet version first.
Will Do.
What are the colors I should use, he's a green, right? I am colorblind, so I don't know. I may have to go to the fabric store tommorow. We are off of school. YES!
I'll do it within the month, I'm getting money for my birthday the 4th. 4 more days until I'm 13 :D Anyway, thanks for the suggestions, will do.
coolboi6 years ago
it's kinda cool, i just made one this evening
caitlinsdad (author)  coolboi6 years ago
You gotta show the world what you made. Post a pic!
Keith-Kid6 years ago
Hooray! I can finally realize my life long dream of being a mupeteer! Seriously cool! Godzilla muppet is a possibility.......
caitlinsdad (author)  Keith-Kid6 years ago
You can make it big enough to house a propane/MAPP torch, the one with the pushbutton ignition, in the head so that you have it breathe fire. Make the mouth from flameproof materials though. Of course, high -intensity glowing red LEDs for the eyes...
Sir, I like the way you think!
JusCoz6 years ago
This reminds me of a show called "Take Part", and they would make similar lookinh puppets out of old javex jugs, tubes, etc. Definitely a quality craft. KUdos!
bounty10126 years ago
Lol looks like that scientist off of the simpsons.
randofo6 years ago
This is great. I just put an interior window in my office and was thinking about starting a puppet theater. You have just put me one step closer.
caitlinsdad (author)  randofo6 years ago
This is not the same as putting a cardboard image that looks like you are working and you go out for a three hour lunch. :) Check out my TV cutout ible. You can frame the interior opening like a big TV screen.