This skeleton puppet will be used as a prop when I have a market stall. I'll probably do a few more animals and stick them in some foam. It is always a good idea to have a few props in your display that people are welcome to play with.
This project took me less than an hour to put together. The chicken skeleton is my own design and I just had to have a play with the design to pull out the wing and reshape it so I had two wings.
You could source a skeleton image from a book and photocopy it a few times to have a break down of all of the parts you want to use. I used up 3 print outs, one to figure out what I wanted to do and another 2 cutting out wings and an extra leg.
*Skeleton print outs (minimum 3, get more if you are a messy cutter)
*black card board (or the colour you want)
*Split paper fasteners, or whatever they are called :)
*Glue (I used a glue stick for everything but had the Helmar 450 on hand as well. 450 is a really versatile glue but a little messy).
*Scissors. I used a larger pair of paper scissors and an old pair of small embroidery scissors, these are great for the smaller areas.
Choose a Skeleton and cut around the shape. Leave a 2-3mm edge on the cut out, cut around the shape, not on the line.
Cut out the extras, such as the wing and legs etc. You might like to also make the head move, the neck articulated, the tail move etc.
Glue these to the cardboard using the glue stick. Glue stick makes it easy. I used to eat the glue stick when I was kid, they are kinda sweet. mmmgluestick! Try to waste as little card board as possible. I save all the offcuts in a folder. They will come in handy.
Assemble the parts with the a split fasteners.
When all the parts were cut out I tried to figure out where each piece would go. I already had a fair idea from the cut out but needed to make sure I was getting things just about right so I just had a play with it to figure this out.
I then used a sewing needle to create guide holes for the split fasteners. If you try to drive the split fasteners through the cardboard without the pilot holes you can damage your hard work. A pin of any type will do just as well. Support the back with your fingers to further prevent any warping of the cardboard.
Create a stick to hold up your skeleton and figure out how you want it to work.
I wasn't sure if I wanted my chicken to have the wing and leg controlled by sticks as well so I used blue tac to test it out. I decided this would make the puppet too complicated for a market stall prop and dropped the idea. The split fasteners hold quite well so you can pose your skeleton easily.
The stick for the back is 6 layers of the black cardboard strip glued up with glue stick. I secured this with the 450 glue, mentioned in the resources. Make sure you spend a bit of time positioning the stick properly or your skeleton will look lop-sided.
Your puppet is done! Get playing with it!
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