Making a Hand & Rod Muppet-Style Puppet Pushes the Imagination
Hello all! Carina here. I’m back this week to show you a wonderful YouTube channel that I came across. Kreutinger Puppets! Of course, once I stumbled across it, I had to make myself a Muppet-Style puppet! And not any sock type puppet, although that would be quite fun to do with the kids, a Muppet-style puppet! I’m sure you all watched the Muppets growing up. I know I did! So here is a quick run down, a few pictures and of course the YouTube videos to this great series on how to build a puppet.
This project is like no other and in past articles, I helped you work through hand-dyeing wool! Read my article A Day of Dyeing Wool. You will also want to read my other article, DIY Knitted and Felted Tote. I love the challenge of making unusual crafts and making them available to my audience. You can find some of my downloadables in the resource library as well.
Quick Links to Information in this Post
- Materials for Making a Muppet-Style Puppet
- The Process for Making a Muppet-Style Puppet
- Reading About Making Muppets and Puppets
- My Video Inspirations!
- Visit the Resource Library for FREE downloadables for other projects.
Here’s what you need to make your own Muppet-Style Puppet. This post does contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Read my full disclosure policy.
Materials for Making a Muppet-Style Puppet
- 1/2″ thick foam. They recommend reticulated foam but since I couldn’t find it in Canada, I went down to the foam shop and got some polyurethane foam.
- Contact Cement
- Nylon Fleece
- Scissors or Razor Blades
- Spray Adhesive
- Felt or Velvet (Red and Black)
- Plastic Spoons (or the materials for the eyes in the video series)
- Glue gun and glue
- Sewing Thread
- 150 grit sand paper
- Sewing machine (or you can sew all by hand)
- Permanent Markers
- Paper Pattern
- Velcro stickers
- Hard plastic (I used the lid off an ice cream bucket)
- Spray Paint or any paint that will adhere to the foam. (I used a Sharpie paint pen.)
- Skewers with handles (or any type of hard wire to use as the hand controls, IF you want to do this type of arm style)
- Jewelry wire or armature wire for fingers
The Process for Making a Muppet-Style Puppet
Here is where I suggest you start watching the videos. I will take you through my process quickly and then at the end of the post you can go directly to the YouTube channel link. It’s well worth the watch and the craft!
First off, I downloaded the free pattern from the Kreutinger Puppets website. Then printed them out and taped some pieces together.
Next, I traced the patterns on to the foam with a black sharpie then cut out all the shapes that I needed. At this point, I also cut out the mouth form from the ice cream lid. Once I had all the pieces cut out, I followed the video on how to glue everything together.
As you can see here, I have a few parts on the go. One was a little small and I had to try again. But, that’s okay mistakes is how we learn!
After that, I had to pay attention to the video on cutting the fleece and felt pieces and how to sew them together. Then mimicking the video I managed to attach the fleece bits to the foam. Things looked pretty good.
I assembled the body by gluing. Added the fleece to that. I got a little confused at this point. In the video, he had an extra piece of stretchy fabric going from the neck into the body. So I improvised here and just added more fabric to try and copy the video. Once that was all done I had an assembled puppet ready for facial features!
From here it was easy to follow along to attach the nose and ears. Except, I didn’t have any fur for hair. So I borrowed my own technique in using yarn for hair which you can find in this blog post here.
Then it was time to make the eyes. I didn’t have the materials on hand that is suggested in the video, so I used some white plastic spoons I picked up at the dollar store. I cut off the ends and sanded them down to look like an oval. Then also sanded the tops of them so they weren’t shiny anymore. I agree with Adam Kreutinger when he says matte eyes look better.
Then I followed the rest of the steps, adding felt to the eyes to create a lash and eyelid. Of course, I added eye lashes with a sharpie at the ends. Then attached them to the puppet.
Then I cut out the tongue, and attached it before I moved on to the part I found the most difficult. The arms.
In the video series, he does one type of arm that I didn’t want. so I rummaged around his channel and found the arms that I wanted to go with my Muppet-Style puppet. The one with arm rods. You know, like Kermit the frog!
Again I downloaded the pattern, cut it out in foam and found some old blocking wires I had for knitting that I could use. You could use wooden dowels which are readily available at any dollar store.
They were the perfect size! I rounded the top with my pliers, added the jewelry wire, twisting them to make long fingers then had a blast with the glue gun putting it all together. Foam hands!
That’s where it got a little difficult. I sewed the outer hand parts to put the foam into and I guess I let the glue from the glue gun harden too much before stuffing it into the fleece hand. It took me a half an hour of fiddling for each arm before they were even finished.
Then I had to add the handles to the end of the wire. Except, I didn’t get dowels as the video suggested. I used polymer clay instead!
My girls had been using a lot of my polymer clay for their own crafts that I was left with a box of bits and pieces. I thought, might as well mush it all together and make unique handles. So I did!
Once that was done, I just stuck the wires on with some epoxy glue and voila! My very own puppet. Of course, at that point, the girls were jealous and wanted their own puppets. So I made two more with their help, of course.
Reading About Making Muppets and Puppets
As with any craft, watching, trying, and playing around with the make is so much fun. I compiled a list of books that will also help you along the way. I know you will love these treasures!
- Dressing the Naked Hand: The World’s Greatest Guide to Puppets, Puppetry, and Puppeteering
- You can make a Puppet Now! How to make Patterns and Puppets
- Hand and Rod Puppets: A Handbook of Technique
My Video Inspirations!
All in all, it was fun! Definitely worth trying out at least once. You might love it as much as I did. Altogether I made three puppets. One for myself and two more for my girls. It was a perfect craft that kept my weekend busy!
Don’t forget to visit the resource library! It has printables, downloadables, cut files, and eBooks, all for FREE. Bette and I give away all of our patterns on each and every blog post we write. Be sure to become a member of our crafting list so you do not miss out on our crafts and our FREE downloads.
I do hope you have a chance to make a muppet-style puppet like I did. Even my twin girls loved making theirs! Do share!!!
Until next time, Happy Crafting!