How to Make Puppets

by sheilamarie

Learning How to Make Puppets is fun & easy to do. If you have children you can teach them how to make puppets, too. Learn about the variety of puppets you can learn how to make.

Making puppets can be a really fun activity for children. Using a few readily available materials, kids can create characters to retell many of their favorite stories.

You can use puppets to help kids express their feelings, too.

Find out how to make many different types of puppets on this page.

How to Make a Sock Puppet: Simple or Simply Amazing

Children Can Make These Puppets by Themselves
Sock Puppet
Sock Puppet

Hand Puppets

Easy to Make Puppets

Do you have any old gloves or mittens that need a new lease on life (in other words, that need to be recycled)? How about a lonely sock that's lost its mate in the laundry?  I hate when that happens, but here's a silver lining:

All of these are great starters for making a hand puppet.

Here's what else you will need:

  • Google eyes (available at craft stores) or felt to make your own (Watch the Jim Henson video below for pop eye ideas)
  • Glue
  • Red or pink felt for the mouth, cut to shape (optional, though fun to glue in for effect)
  • Cardboard cut in a mouth shape
  • Something to make hair -- yarn, carded wool, cotton balls, feathers, fake fur, etc.
  • Permanent marker for making details
  • Cloth or felt for clothing (optional)

Position the cardboard inside the sock near the toe. Add some eyes and hair. Use your marker to add a nose or other details. Don't forget a silly voice!

The mitten can be used much like a sock, but if you are using a glove, cut off the fingers (and use them later for finger puppets) and sew the top up. Add the eyes, nose, and hair in the same way as above. 

Deciding on the personality of your puppets is part of the fun and will determine the type of eyes, nose, and hair you will add.

How to Make Stick Puppets

Simple Puppets on a Popsicle Stick

Stick puppets are quick and easy to make with even very young children. All you need is a picture of a person or an animal and a popsicle stick. You can even use a drawing the child has made herself.

Cut the picture out and glue or tape it to the popsicle stick. Using the stick, you can move the stick puppet around to tell your story. This is fun to do from under the kitchen table, but you can peek the puppet up over a book or a pillow, if you'd rather.

Jim Henson on Making Puppets 1969

Making Puppets with the Master Puppeteer

Making Shadow Puppets

Puppets Behind a Screen

Since shadow puppets are seen as shadows on a screen, you can use fairly simple materials to make them. Shadow puppets aren't looked at directly by the audience, but their outlines as shadows are. You will want exaggerated features that will look real as shadows. These you can make by cutting out cardboard shapes or even practicing using only your hands.

If you decide to use cardboard, try cutting out the arms and legs in sections and attach them back together by poking holes and tying together with string. Then attach wires to the backs and practice making them walk, etc., until you can make the movements smooth.

Your hands will be able to make life-like movements even more easily. Practice with easy animals first, such as rabbits. Then play with your hands until you can add dogs and birds to your repertoire. This can be a lot of fun!

You will need a screen or just a sheet draped across the room with a desk lamp behind. Your puppet will move between the screen and the light so that all that is seen by the audience is the shadow. You can make the puppet larger or smaller by adjusting the distance of the light.

This Is an Amazing Example of Using Your Hands as Shadow Puppets

But Beware the Advertisement at the End!

What Type of Puppet Is Your Favorite?

Vote for Your Favorite Puppet

Marionettes from Nepal

A More Complicated Puppet to Use -- But Very Satisfying
Marionettes from Nepal
Marionettes from Nepal

Making Puppets Pulled by Strings


If you can make a puppet or doll's head and dress him or her in a loose outfit, you can make it into a marionette by attaching strings to the head, the hands, the knees and the feet. Tie the strings to two dowels that you cross in the middle: the head is attached to the middle where the dowels cross over and the ends of the dowels attach to the hand and knee strings, right side to right side and left side to left. Experiment to see what works best for you, but I think the front dowels should be attached to the knees while the back ones should be attached to the hands. Try it out yourself and see what works best for you. By holding the crossed dowels, you should be able to manoeuvre the puppet well with a little practice. 

Puppets on Wizzley

More Puppets You May Like
A marionette brings lifelike movements to the puppet theatre stage. Marionettes, or string puppets, charm the audience with the magic of story.
Puppets can help you create a character in storytelling. All you need is a funny-looking puppet on your hand and an active imagination, and who knows what may happen!
Finger puppets make reading time even more fun! Finger puppets add a special zing to telling a story. Children can retell the story over and over again using finger puppets.
Rod puppets are amazingly versatile and life-like! They are used in story telling and in puppet shows. But what is a rod puppet? Find out how to make a rod puppet on this page.

Sources for Puppets

If You Want the Puppets, But Haven't the Time to Make Them

Finger Puppets
Find finger puppets of all kinds on this page!

Animal Finger Puppets
Find some great animal finger puppets and some stories and songs to go with them.

Rod Puppet
Source for some interesting rod puppets!

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Updated: 04/01/2014, sheilamarie
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Comments on How to Make Puppets

sheilamarie on 03/22/2012

Darcie and Nick, thanks for your comments. There are so many types of puppets to make!

nickupton on 07/22/2011

Sock puppets and finger puppets are my favourites. So easy to make.

Guest on 07/14/2011

I used to have marionette puppets, I thought they were the bomb. Had a lot of fun playing with them.

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