Introduction: Old Lady Hand Puppet

About: I am an puppet creator and a sculptor

I started building puppets in Berlin ,working as a volunteer in a circus for children.

Now i'm trying to make a living by building and selling them.

This puppet is built from foam ,papier mache ,fleece and polimer clay.

If you enjoy this instructable please share it .

The puppet can be adopted here:

If you like this puppet here are some more i built in the past 3 years:

Step 1: Get the Materials

Materials :

foam 2 cm thick

some wood

thick leather scraps

insulated copper wire

polymer clay

thread spool+sewing needles

contact cement(glue)




hot glue gun

box cutter


and a sewing machine

Step 2: Trace Your Pattern

First you need to decide the proportions of the puppet and also the dimensions of all body parts

I made the pattern by drawing on craft paper and cutting the drawing with scissors.
I will try to scan my pattern and post it here

ok so take a felt pen and start tracing around the pattern pieces.

Step 3: Cutting the Foam

Take a scissor,but not the good one..... You know ,not that one that you keep hidden on the top shelve.

Take that crappy one that you use to cut paper and open paint cans.

This is because foam can dull the blade quite fast .

IF YOUR SCISSORS ARE ALREADY DULL you can sharpen them by cutting aluminum foil plied in 4

or by rubbing the scissors by the mouth of a jar . One blade inside ,one out and gently pretend to cut.

2 times should do it

Now cut the foam on the marked line and try to make the edge as leveled as possible.

Step 4: Glue the Foam

Glue the foam using contact cement.

Be sure to stay in a well ventilated space when doing this because contact cement has strong solvents .

You should also wear a mask

The trick is to apply contact cement on both surfaces to be glued and let it dry until it is not sticky anymore,i use a hair dryer to speed things up.

Start pressing the surfaces together and they will bond .

Glue the two halves of the body together

glue the four squares for the arms.apply glue on two parallel sides and before bonding them place a small piece of wood inside to keep them rigid(this can also be a piece of pencil)

Step 5: Form the Legs

Take two pieces of wood and place them end to end

Glue a leather stripe over the each end and let it hang over 4 cm

Glue a leather stripe over the two ends that are head to head and form a hinge

Staple the leather to the wood

Glue the foam over the wood

Also glue the ends of the sponge to the wood to form a knee

Step 6: Glue the Hands

Take the copper wire and bend in the shape of the palm.

Place the wire between two foam pieces and glue all sides together

Now you have a hand with bendy fingers.

Step 7: Sculpt the Head

The head is sculpted in clay .

Try to concentrate more on the main shapes of the head because a lot of the face will be covered by foam pieces

Step 8: Papier Mache

Because the puppet needs to be lightweight we cover the clay with 4 layers of paper and wood glue.

Cover the clay with a plastic bag to form a vapor barrier and then apply paper and glue .

Cut the paper layer with a box cutter when it is dry enough to handle without bending to much and release it from the clay. Glue together with hot glue.

Apply paper over the hot glue line to firmly connect both halves .

Step 9: Mouth Board

Mark the mouth line and cut.

Place the head on paper and trace the bottom and top of the mouth shape.

Fold this paper in two and cut on the marked line.

Make the mouth board from cardboard or thin particle board by using this pattern.

Cover this with fleece on the face(the side which will be seen)

On the back side we need to sew two elastic bands ,a big one to fit four fingers and a small one to fit the thumb.

Make sure to sew this close to the edge of the mouth-board.

Also make sure to leave at least half centimeter between the two halves of the mouth board to allow for easy movement.

Glue the mouth board in place .

Step 10: Assemble the Body

Cut some fleece circles and cut them in two.Now fold each piece in two and sew the edge to make a shape resembling a small cone .

This shape will be glued to the body to make a solid spot to attach the arms , legs and head .

You will need 4 small ones and a bigger one for the head.

Step 11: Cover Palm With Fleece

Place the foam palm on top of fleece,trace around with a marker and sew on sewing machine.

Cut the excess only after sewing. Turn on the inside out. Now place over the foam just as a glove.

Repeat this process for all shapes that need a fleece skin.

Step 12: Create the Face Features

You can draw on the paper base to understand how you want your character to look.

When you decided just trace the main shapes with paper and cut from foam

Apply glue on all edges of face features and fold the edges on the mid line to make it roundish .

You will want to glue some features to the paper base now(it is up to you which ones)

Next step is to cover the head with fleece. Take your time and try to make as little creases as possible when gluing.

Small features are attached on top of this fleece skin(eye lids ,nose wrinkles ,lips.............)

Step 13: Arm Sleeve

To make the arm sleeve ,cut a piece of fabric ,fold in two and sew to make a tube.

Turn the tube on the other side so the stitch is inside of the tube.

Sew a line on the middle of the tube to divide it in two,forming two pockets . Stick the foam tubes with wood inside this pockets.

One end will be sewn to the palm and one will be sewn to the body.

Step 14: Make the Eyes

The eyes are made on a base of white polymer circle with added color stripes

Bake on top of spoons to give a little more volume to the form.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes on a low setting

Take care not to burn them.

Step 15: Finishing

Try to add a costume .

Usually children clothing work quite good.

Good luck

and please let me know if i need to explain anything else...........

Soft Toys Challenge

Runner Up in the
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Homemade Gifts Contest 2016

Participated in the
Homemade Gifts Contest 2016