Intro: Merv the Math Monster and Friends
These are my furry monster puppets. They're rough around the edges... But the kids love them!
Merv the Math Monster (Blue) and Friends Alphonse (Green) and Rebecca (Purple) !
As a kid I loved Sesame Street and I enjoy spreading the joy of puppetry in the world! I find furry monsters are just my style because I can be really goofy and still interact with the kids on a serious level! Here are some steps on how to create your own...
The first thing to do is create a pattern by estimating the puppets dimensions based on the size you want the head to turn out.
Step 1: Cutting Out the Fabric
Then translate this design to the furry fabric, adding approximately 1/4'' for the seam. You can use a fabric pen if you want. It will be on the inside!
Step 2: Sewing and Stuffing (The Body)
Following the previous step, make sure make fabrics are face to face before sewing them together. This will assure that the seams stay on the inside. Then you stuff the parts with cotton (or another material, like foam). I like cotton because it makes the puppets extra soft and K-3 kids really seem to appreciate that!
Sometimes I do not stuff the arms and the legs (as with Rebecca (Purple) and Merv the Math Monster (Blue), because it makes it easier to use puppet rods. It also allows movement to look more natural. I suggest you try it a few ways and see what you like!
Once you have assembled the arms and the legs, put a closing seam on the end (on the outside) and sew them to the inside of the body of the puppet, which is not yet stuffed or sewn together.
After that I recommend you create a seam between the inside front of the body and the neck. Then hide a seam that closes the body between the neck and the back sleeve.
Step 3: The Head
For me, the head is more complicated because I like to use the stuffing method.
First, cut out a mouth hole to sew to a piece of fabric (the seams stay on the inside) then glue that fabric to a piece of cardboard or plastic, which bend in the middle, allowing the mouth to move easily.
The next thing to attach are the eyes, making sure you know how you want the head to be stuffed.
For Merv the Math Monster, I used sunglasses and attached them with superglue.
Generally I use ping pong balls which I sew in from the inside and glue to keep them in place. The only problem with ping pong balls is that they dent easily, but with a little paint you can get your eyes just how you like them.
After the eyes are attached, stuff the head and hand-stitch (so it is less visible) a piece of fabric to the inside of the head in order to keep the stuffing in place.
I usually leave the fabric furry side out because the furry side of the fabric is softer. I let my students use the puppets, so I try to make them as user-friendly as possible!
If you look, you will notice that Alphonse's head is not stuffed and that the back sleeve is not sewn on. The head is not stuffed because proportionately it did not make sense and because he was my first puppet, so I had not yet developed the technique. (He's the green one.)
His back sleeve is not sewn on because I wanted it to look like he had long hair, because Alphonse is a goofy monster.
Step 4: The Sleeve/Back of the Head
If you have not already done this is to take this time to sew the front and the back of the head together.
To attach the sleeve, either the head will need to be inside out or you will need to hand-stitch. I hand stitch.
The next step involves lining the sleeve up where you want it on the back of the puppet and sewing the 1/4'' seams directly into the back of the puppet. Before you do this, make sure to cut the sleeve to length and to sew the end of it to itself to prevent unraveling.
After the sleeve is attached your puppet is finished and you can accessorize them how you like! (Rebecca has a yellow scarf she was wearing when I took this photo!
Step 5: You're Finished
The final step is to share the puppet with others to spread happiness in the world!