My favourite Muppet characters are Rizzo the Rat and Pepe the King Prawn.
I love their attitude, but I also love them as puppets.
Unlike most other Muppet characters, you can't fit a hand inside their tiny heads. I'd been noodling a mechanism for working a Pepe-like puppet, and on the way I came up with this; a simple puppet you can work with one hand.
Step 1: Tools and Materials.
- A wide popsicle stick, the kind sold for craft projects
- A narrow rubber band.
- Sewing thread.
- A bead.
- Decorative materials, such a googly eyes, markers or paints.
- A sewing needle
- A very thin drill
- Tools to deal with your craft materials
- A crochet hook
Step 2: Make the Mouth
Decide where you want your mouth to be, then drill two small holes, of a size to match the bands. For me, that meant a 2mm bit.
Be safe in your drilling - for such small holes, it's tempting to hold everything in your hands, but you end up leaning on your knee. Far safer to lean on a piece of scrap wood.
Thread the rubber band through the holes, and tie knots a the back. If you are shirt of fingernails, as I am at the moment, you may find it easier to use a crochet hook to tie the knots (for the scouts among you, I tied s simple pike hitch around the hook, then used the hook to pull the bight through into an overhand knot).
Step 3: Animate the Mouth
A couple of centimetres below the mouth, drill the smallest hole you cthreadshave a 1mm bit, but it is too small to be gripped by my drill's chuck. I had to twist the bit through by hand, which was annoying, but it worked.
With the needle and thread, put a loop around one part of the band (the lower lip), and through the hole you just drilled.
Around the back of the popsicle stick, tie a bead onto the end of the thread.
Step 4: Finishing.
To finish Pete, all you need is eyes - I glued on a couple of googly eyes I, er, acquired from Kitewife's craft stash.
You could any details you fancy, such as woolen hair or adding pipe cleaner arms, but I like Pete as he is.
Step 5: Using Pete
Using Pete is simple - you use your thumb to pull the bead down and open his mouth. Relax, and the elasticity of his lips pulls his mouth closed.
Popsicle puppets like this are a great craft activity to do with your own kids or a class - once they've made their puppets, they can give them character and voices, and then spend an hour or three putting together a performance or an act, giving you the afternoon to yourself - win!