My friend Holly and I had craft night the other night, and this time the assignment was puppets! I brought a stash of sweaters and other goodies I had over, and we set to creating. No pattern, no plans, these are a great way to have fun and get creative. And when we were done, the boys had some fun monster puppets to play with.
This would be a great project to do with friends for your own craft night, or to make with kids.
This tutorial is less ‘step by step’ than my usual ones, since the object is not to create what I created, but to make your own monster up!
So, what do you need?
- Sweaters, preferably already shrunken/felted. You’ll need a sleeve that is big enough to be the body of your puppet.
- Scrap felt/sweaters to make your embellishments.
- Eyes – either safety toy eyes, buttons, or you can make out of the felt scraps if you like. That’s of course assuming your monster has eyes! (I was lucky enough to have a few toy eyes that the lovely Colleen from Some Art Fabric had given me, and they worked great!)
- Embroidery thread.
First, pick your sleeve. You can use a solid color (we both did purple here) or stripes, or whatever works for your monster. Cut off the sleeve, trimming the part near the shoulder so it is even all around (like a giant sock).
Next, plan your head. We did a couple of different things here, but here are a few options:
1) Square – just turn inside out, and sew the cuff together in a straight line.
2) Curved – sleeve inside out, trim a curved line, and stitch together.
3) Rounded – See the example below. Although my ‘spikes’ should have been shorter. It was pretty messy, but that was ok, since I was adding a horn.
4) Fluffy – See the example below – with sleeve right side out, gather a few inches from the top. Weave thread back and forth, and pull tight. Afterwards, you can cut the cuff to resemble hair! (Note, in the pictures, this was done after creating the mouth. Either way works)
One thing we would do, in hindsight, would be to stitch in some scraps or padding in the inside of the top of the head. This would help the head stand up better on a small hand.
You’ll also need a mouth. Here’s a couple we did:
The Fluffyhead has a mouth with lips, created by turning the puppet inside out and stitching an oval of fabric on the inside.
The People Eater’s “scary” mouth was done by whipstitching on the mouth from the outside.
The rest is all embellishment and adding personality.
Arms: Since ours were for 3.5 year olds, we decided against arms, as they are hard for small kids to manipulate. If you like you could just stitch on non-functional arms.
Horn: For the people eater, I made the horn by cutting out a circle of sweater fabric, cutting a 2/3 “pie piece” out of it, and wrapping it into a cone. Very trial and error. I stuffed it with a few fabric scraps and stitched it on top of the head with a whip stitch.
Eyes: Sew on buttons, press on toy eyes, cut fabric circles for eyes… For the People eater I used a fabric circle cut out of felted sweater, made a hole in the center for the post of the toy eye, and pressed it through. Then I used a blanket stitch to attach the felted circle to the head.
Nose: Holly’s Fluffyhead had a couple of felt circles bunched and stitched on in the center. You could also do buttons, or whatever.
Other: I cut out wings out of sweater material and used a simple straight stitch (it was getting late!) to sew them to the sides of the People Eater Body. Holly attached a felt star to the belly of the Fluffy head. Use your imagination here!
Hope you enjoyed this and it gave you some ideas for a fun evening of puppet making!