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Picture of Puppet controlled with a single hand
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For this instructable, I'll be showing you how to make a puppet controlled with a single hand. I'm not talking about Marionettes. This is a method I thought of myself, though I don't know if it's already been thought of elsewhere. Since it's my first puppet made in this way, the finished product is not as smooth moving as I imagined and it's kind of wobbly. Enjoy!

(The picture quality went from good to bad because my camera ran out of power and I couldn't find the charger so I had to use my phone. Sorry!)


Materials:

1. 1 Wooden rod
2. A few Styrofoam balls, roughly 6 cm in diameter (You can use wooden balls if you're skilled at wood work. I'm not skilled though, so I used Styrofoam).
3. A plain wooden Matryoshka Doll (Russian doll) outer case, roughly 11 cm in length
4. Bendable wire
5. 8 Metal loops with screw bottoms (I could only find 6, and only took a picture of 4)


Tools:

1. Paint, paint brushes, palette
2. Pencil
3. Ruler
4. Saw
5. Sand paper or file
6. Sharp screw/nail, Hammer
7. Pliers
8. Scissors
9. Styrofoam cutter
10. Cutting/craft knife
11. Super glue
12. White glue

 
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Step 1: Paint the body

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Take the Matryoshka Doll and paint some clothes or a design on it.  You will need to paint about 3 or 4 coats of paint.

Step 2: Make the arms

1.  Take the wooden rod and measure four 4 cm pieces, and two 2.7 cm pieces (the 2.7 cm pieces will be used for the stand).
2.  Saw off the pieces and sand/file the ends smooth.
3.  Using the sharp screw/nail, hammer a small hole in the ends of the 4 cm pieces.
4.  Twist the metal loops into the holes.  You may need a pair of pliers for this.
5.  Open up a loop from one piece, loop it through the loop on another piece, and then close it.  Do this for the other pair.

Step 3: Make the head

1. Take the Styrofoam ball and draw a circle with a 4 cm diameter on it. Cut off this circle with the Styrofoam cutter. This flat part will be stuck on to the body.
2. Draw a straight line parallel to the flat part of the ball.
3. Using the Styrofoam cutter, cut a wedge out of the ball by cutting down the line into the middle, then cutting diagonally outwards. Keep this wedge; it will become the chin.
4. Cut another wedge out below the previous one and discard this wedge. Doing steps 3 and 4 will make the chin movable. You may need to use a cutting/craft knife for these 2 steps if you don't have a Styrofoam cutter or if it isn't wide enough, like mine. You can also use the knife to smooth out the edges from the Styrofoam cutter

(You may need to repeat the previous 4 steps to get it right.)

5. Paint the head and the 1st wedge and let it dry. You will need to paint about 2 coats.
6. Cut 2 small segments of wire and bend them to look like large staples.
7. When the paint on the head has dried, push these large staple wires into the wedge and the head on either side (one leg of the wire pushed into the wedge and the other leg into the head).

Step 4: Attach the arms to the body

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1.  Screw the last 2 metal loops into the body.  If you don't have enough loops to screw in, like me, you can stick small metal rings to the body with super glue.
2.  Use the pliers to open up the metal loops at the end of the arms and loop them through the loops/rings on the body.

Step 5: Attach the puppet to your hand

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1.  Mark the bottom of the body in quarters (1.3 cm each) and mark the 2 outer spots.
2.  Take the two 2.7 cm wood pieces cut earlier and stick them to the outer spots with super glue.
3.  Stick these 2 "legs" to a glove or something attached to your hand (I made a strap harness for this).  Secure the legs if the puppet wobbles.

Step 6: Stick the head to the body

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1.  Use white glue to stick the flat part of the head to the body.

Step 7: Make the arms and mouth movable

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1.  Measure the lengths from your thumb and pinky finger to how high you want the arms to be.  For me, the wires were roughly 11 cm and 9 cm respectively, without the loops.
2.  Cut the lengths of wire needed with extra to wrap around your fingers and the arms.
3.  Make a loop at one end of the wires to put your fingers through.  Wrap the other end around the arms.
4.  Do the same for the chin, measuring from the middle finger and then piercing one end of the wire into the bottom of the chin.  For me, this wire was roughly 15 cm long, without the loops.

Step 8: Now make your puppet move!

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Wear your puppet on your hand and move your fingers to make it move and talk.
flyingpuppy2 years ago
Very clever puppet design! You get my vote.
clarie91s (author)  flyingpuppy2 years ago
Thank you very much!