Introduction: Hand-some Puppets
Quick and easy, use your sewer skills to fabricate some fun hand puppets to put on your own puppet show. If you want something a little more challenging than the sock puppet but not really ready to tackle the muppet-style puppet, try this hand puppet.
Please note that I used a sewing machine and a serger to make my hand puppet. They make it easy to sew, especially the serger which can bind and trim seams as it goes along. You do not have to have this equipment. All can be hand sewn with a needle and thread. It just takes a little longer.
If you are new to sewing, this is not really too complicated. It is also an exercise on how to mark and make things, knowing how to turn things inside out. Invest in a handy little seam ripper tool if you sew that once in a while seam that needs to be taken apart.
Check out Kiteman's video too!
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Step 1: Stuff You Need
Most of this is probably lying around the house.
fleecey-like fabric, winter fleece is on sale during the summer at fabric stores
actually any fabric will do, depending on what character you want to make,
use up old towels or raggy unused t-shirts.
thin fabric or interfacing for the head
fiberfill, can be loose or in sheet form
needle and thread
or sewing machine/serger
Stuff to decorate:
felt in various colors
permanent ink markers - sharpie
index cards or thin cardstock to make Kiteman's eyes
piece of plastic from packaging to make Lemonie's protective glasses
hot glue gun
Warnings: Know your tools, scissors and utility knives are sharp, hot glue guns are hot. If you are an irresponsible adult, have a mature child supervise you.
Step 2: Main Body Layout
No patterns are included because you should try to experiment on your own and custom fit the puppet to your hand, just like a glove.
Place your hand on a double layered piece of fabric that you will be using for the main body.
Extend the fingers thusly, like you would be operating the puppet or greeting Vulcans.
Trace around the hand so you have a T-shirt like shape with the arms on top.
My puppet torso is about 7 inches tall by 10 inches wide.
Draw loosely around with about a 1/4 inch extra for seam allowance when you sew it together.
Step 3: Up in Arms
Select an appropriate color fabric for your fleshtone body parts.
Cut two strips about 2 x 4 inches.
Fold them over to form the hands or the mitten-like puppet hands.
Now, just attach the hand strips to the ends of the arms.
Sew the seams on the side that faces you. The "inside" will be the clean unmarked side that will be the "finished" side.
Attach the other end of the hand strip to the back piece of fabric with the seam on the outside.
Step 4: I Hear Ya...
From a double layer of flesh-colored fabric, cut a 5 inch circle for the head.
Also cut two 1 x 2 inch strips to make ears.
Fold the strip in half lengthwise and sew around with a half moon shape on the end.
Leave the square end open.
Flip the sewn ear inside out so that you have the finished seam showing on the ear. Use the end of a pen or something blunt to help push out the folded fabric if needed.
Step 5: It's Headed This Way...
With the cut out fabric discs for the head, mark two triangular shaped darts on them. These "darts" are where fabric is pinched together and sewn. It will help give our puppet head some depth and roundness when it it filled.
The darts can be anywhere on the circle. These were placed by the neck but you can put them up by the hairline so it will be less obtrusive on the outside if you plan on adding a hat or some hair to cover the seam.
Pinch the dart together and sew across it.
I tacked the ears in place on the finished side.
Place the other piece with the finished side making the inside of the fabric sandwich.
You can also make a liner pocket where you place the fingers in the head of the puppet. You would want to do this so you do not need to poke around the stuffing every time you use the puppet.
Take a piece of fabric and folded over the same size as your puppet head with the opening at the bottom.
Put it at the bottom of the sandwich stack.
Sew all around leaving an opening for the fingers to place inside of the puppet head.
Step 6: Tales of the Headless Horseman...
Turn the head assembly inside out.
Place it inside the torso and positioned where the head and neck connect.
Start at one end closing off the seam from one hand to the other hand.
On the first pass you will seam the back of the neck to the bottom piece of the torso.
Turn it around and finish off the seam that goes the rest of the way around the neck.
Finish the seams on the bottoms of the two arms.
You can also finish and trim around the bottom of the torso.
Step 7: Finishing Touches
Now, turn everything inside out.
The hands and arms will be a little tougher to turn inside out since all that fabric is bunched up in a small tube. Use a pencil end to help push things out and smoothe the fabric seam.
Stuff the hands with a little fiberfill.
You can sew a few short seams to define the fingers.
Stuff the head with fiberfill.
If you put in the liner fabric piece, you should essentially have two pillows that are sewn together.
Step 8: Accessorize, Accessorize...
Break out your glue gun and add the rest of the details.
Or use marker to add whatever.
Have fun, even make non-humanoid shaped hand puppets.