Make a Bird Marionette




Make this fun puppet!

Step 1: Materials

You need:

1 6' feather boa (It pays to get the good kind)
2 6-8" diameter round styrofoam balls
1 3" diameter round wooden ball, (or wooden egg)
4 pieces of 5' long fishing wire
2 dowels, 12-18" long
2 small nails for the feet
1 small nail for the center of the dowels
Felt that matches the feather boa
Google eyes (Large)
Fake eyelashes, or black felt
Orange felt for the beak
Optional feathers for the top of the head
exacto knife, hammer, hot glue gun, scissors, piece of hard plastic

Step 2: The Head (Bird Brain)

(The face shown here is different than the final picture.)

Cut a piece of felt to cover the face. Cut a small strip of black felt, then cut small triangles in them. Make 2. These will be the eye lashes. Glue the eyelashes to the back of the googly eyes, then glue onto the felt face.

Cut a diamond shape out of an orange piece of felt. Glue the center of the diamond to the face. Put 2 small drops of glue on the sides of the mouth, or one small drop in the center to shape the mouth.

Use the piece of hard plastic to press down on the glue and save your fingers.

Step 3: Add the Feathers to the Head

Pin the end of the boa to the head, securing it with hot glue.

Move in circular motion, covering the head with the boa, ending with the length at the base of the head.

You will need 12 inches of boa from the base of the head to the body, and another 2 feet for the legs. The rest will be used to cover the bare spots on the body.

Step 4: The Body and Legs

Attach the neck to the top of the styrofoam body and cut. Do not glue around the styrofoam just yet.

Take the 2 feet of boa, find the middle and glue to the top of the body, behind where the neck ends.

(You will need someone to hold the bird up while you find the top of the body, and attach the legs.)

Hold the bird up again, and make sure everything is straight before gluing the remainder of the feathers on.

Cut the wooden ball in half.

Take 1/2 of the wooden ball, and hot glue one end of the leg to it.

Repeat with the other leg.

Step 5: Adding the Strings to the Bird

You will need 4 pieces of fishing line about 5 feet in length.

Hammer a small nail to one of the wooden feet. Go about 1/2 way in.

Tie a good knot in the fishing line, and secure to the nail. Hammer the rest of the nail so it bends over and is firmly against the wood.

Repeat with the other foot.

Using a straight pin with a T top, tie a knot in another piece of fishing line, and secure it around the pin. Put some hot on the top of the head near the edge of the face and push the pin firmly down in with the hard plastic so you don't burn yourself like I did.....ow.

The last piece of fishing line gets secured to the middle of the top of the styrofoam body, just like it was to the top of the head.

Step 6: The Controls

You need 2 dowels, 18" in length each.

Cut a notch in the end of each dowel. The wood may split, so be careful. If it does, you can put a piece of tape around it to hold it together.
Make a small notch in the center of each dowel, and cross the dowels. The notches will keep it from moving around. (I also hammered a tack in the center, and hot glued it to death.)

You will need someone to hold up the bird while you pull the fishing line through the end notches and measure. The head should be 16" inches from the dowel after the line has been tied in a knot and secured.

The legs should measure 44" inches from the dowel after knotting and securing, and the body should be 26" inches.

Cut off the excess fishing line.

Step 7: Adjust the Lines

You can adjust the uneven lines by wrapping them around the dowels until the bird sits even. Now go for a walk with your new bird!

Step 8: How to Manuever the Controls

The controls are 2 crossed dowels. To move the bird's right foot, lower the left side. To move it's left foot, lower the right side. To Move the head up and down, lower and raise the front and back dowel.

If you look at the pictures, you can see how the controls work.

Moving the sides up and down, or the front and back up and down makes it appear to dance.

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    19 Discussions


    8 years ago on Step 8

    This was my attempt. Thank you so much for posting this!

    1 reply
    Very Interestingamixon

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 8

    I'm so glad you made this and shared it. Very cute bird - keep up the good work! :)


    <333 I loooove this type of marionette! (like, not the creepy wooden ones. haha) Major props for this, thank you! ^_^

    1 reply

    9 years ago on Introduction

     This is PERFECT!  I was just in a puppet store with my son and instead of buying one of the over-priced (though very well-made) marionettes, I told him we could look up online how to make one - I showed him this one, and he loved it - so off to find a colourful boa right now!

    Thanks so much for posting this!

    1 reply

    Please post a picture when you finish; I love to see what other people come up with. ( I found a bunch of feather boas at the party store too.)


    10 years ago on Step 7

    how did you attach the legs to the body & I've never heard of a feather boa is it just a material tube with feathers on it

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 7

    a feather boa is something you wear around your neck like a scarf, usually is sold 6 feet long in most craft and fabric stores


    9 years ago on Step 8

    Ooo, I love this project. I was a bit confused too, but I think Very interesting has the answer about the legs. I'm so silly, I thought there would be more to them but it makes perfect sense. The feather strand is just folded in half and pressed and glued to the body, or perhaps cut in half and pressed in and glued a couple inches apart from each other to the body. And the other end of the legs/feather strand goes to the foot, attached with the clear line to the foot. I can hardly wait to start this, I've always wanted one.

    1 reply
    Very Interestingiti

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    The most difficult part is getting the neck from the head to the body. The ball likes to turn, and when you are working with hot glue, it doesn't give much time. I figured out that using 2 doll stands can hold up the 2 balls while you work. I made several of these as a kid just stuffing feathers into the foam, but it was a huge mess, and in the end, using the boa was easier. The bird can also be made out of fake fur.


    10 years ago on Step 8

    well it's really cute anyways plz make some more instructables

    Very Interestinglmuli3

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    You can get a feather boa at most party stores, or craft stores. They may also have them in the toy section for dress-up items. It's just a cord with feathers wrapped in as it's twisted. You attach the legs by either using some hot glue, or pushing a section of it down into the styrofoam ball. It can be a little tricky. I would push a section into the styrofoam before adding the hot glue. Once it's glued, it's done. The picture is of a tree kangaroo (wish I had one.)


    10 years ago on Step 8

    is the feather boa just a tube with feathers on the outside


    10 years ago on Step 8

    how do you attach the legs to the body

    Neat. I shot of the final controller would be nice (and/or showing how to move the controller to get the bird to do all those move you do!)

    1 reply