Introduction: Gourd Witch Hand Puppet

Using a dry decorative gourd, make this witchy hand puppet just in time for Halloween. You can grow or buy this gourd, add paper clay and some paper mache' parts. Paint it and add a simple sewn body and crinkle paper hair and you are ready to go!


  • Dry ornamental gourd, approx 6 in. diameter with elongated tip that will be the nose. Store bought or grow your own and dry it.
  • Poster board
  • Hot glue and tacky glue
  • Craft paints
  • Masking tape
  • Purple crinkle craft paper hair
  • Wheat paste for paper mache'
  • Paper clay or equivalent
  • Newspaper
  • Ribbon for hat
  • Black fabric for body, green felt for hands, cotton balls for hand stuffing

Scissors, paint brushes, drill with hole cutting bit, sandpaper, sewing machine or needle and thread

Step 1: Gourd Head

  1. Look at your gourd and decide how the narrow top will be the best nose.
  2. Form a chin out of balled up newspaper wrapped tightly with masking tape and hot glue it in place. If it looks good, paper mache' the chin to the gourd to hold it firmly and make a smooth transition.
  3. Drill a 1 inch hole for the neck. Drill carefully so you don't crack the gourd. It is not ruined if it breaks, you can glue or paper mache' it back together but slow and careful makes less work. Also wear a mask, gourd dust is not good to breathe. Shake out any loose seeds but you don't really have to clean the inside for this project.
  4. Roll poster board into a tube 3 inches long and a tight fit in the hole (for a finger inside the hand puppet to hold up and manipulate the head). Cap the tube so any seeds or debris inside the gourd don't dribble out. Hot glue the finger tube into the neck with an 1 1/2 inches extending outside. Give it a try - have her cast a kindly spell.
  5. Sand down any stem and add paper clay to the end of the nose and smooth it.
  6. Add paper clay for eyes, any warts, nostrils, a mouth and crazy teeth. Sand them smooth .

The head is now ready for paint.

Step 2: Her Hat

A witch needs a hat of course. The size is up to you, but it should match the attitude of your gourd witch.

  1. Cut posterboard in a circle for the brim, use a compass if you want it very round. Just start with the outside cut.
  2. Roll up a couple layers of newspaper in a cone. Masking tape the seam. If the proportions are what you want for the cone and brim, make small snips around the base of the cone then cut a hole in the brim to fit on her head.
  3. Tape the brim to the cone.
  4. Crinkle the hat to give it character and paper mache' the whole thing to give it strength and stiffness.

Step 3: Paint Head and Hat

  1. Use craft acrylic paints to paint the head and hat.
  2. Add ribbon as a hat band if you like
  3. Purple crinkle paper from a craft store makes great hair. Hot glue it all around her head but remember the hat must fit.
  4. If all is good, hot glue the hat in place.

The head is all done, congratulations!

Step 4: Sew the Body

Make a body, collar, and hand template out of newspaper to get everything to look just right. The hand and neck openings should match the neck tube and cut out hand pieces.

  1. Cut out 2 body panels out of black fabric following the template.
  2. Cut out 2 collar doughnuts from the template as a nice embellishment to her outfit.
  3. Cut out 4 hands out of green felt from the template. The fingers will be outside sewn so you can cut witchy fingers
  4. Face the two collar wrong side out and sew all around the outside rim. Invert to right side out and hand sew a gather stitch around the inside of the collar.
  5. Place a hand felt piece to each arm opening wrong side out and inward like the picture above. Sew across the wrist.
  6. Flip the hands out and put the two body halves together wrong side out. Sew the sides, not the wrists, neck or human hand opening.
  7. Fold over the human hand opening and sew a hem.
  8. Turn the body right side out.
  9. Match and sew each hand in matching thread, around each finger to the wrist to make a glove.
  10. Stuff hand with a bit of cotton ball to add dimension.
  11. Cut 2 black felt wrist cuffs and hot glue them over each wrist to make a nice finished look.
  12. You could sew the collar to the body or do what I did and hot glue the collar on the neck of the head after pullling the gathering tight and tying it off.
  13. Glue the body to the neck.

All done! Put on a show with your hand made puppet

Pumpkins & Gourds Speed Challenge

Second Prize in the
Pumpkins & Gourds Speed Challenge