Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Crazy Puppet Making

I say "crazy", since it's not like I don't already have enough work to keep me working late every night. Nor enough to do around the house. But yesterday, my daughter's favourite blue jacket/sweater which she has been wearing almost every day for I don't know how long (to the point where we have been threatening to take it away from her so she could wear something else!), finally died. The zipper pull broke off.

We were leaving the library to pick up my son from soccer practice and head home for the evening, when the zipper pull broke. I don't know who suggested it first, but suddenly we both agreed that we just HAD to make her jacket into a puppet, like she had made one of her brother's old shirts into a puppet at school earlier this year.
Puppet makingHe needed a friend - or sister, in this case.
Anyhow, suddenly we were planning where to shop for the supplies, instead of heading home to bed...  We would have liked to go to Michaels, but it was too far out of our way, so we stopped at Zellers.  Of course, they didn't really have any craft supplies, so we needed to improvise.

Instead of felt for the face, we found a soft microfibre washcloth in beige, which looked good for the face.  We already had a sheet of red felt at home from a previous craft.  So it was just a matter of hair.  A nice ball of messy brown soft yarn looked very promising.  We even picked up a $5 pillow, in case we wanted stuffing for the body (it would cost more to buy the stuffing, so the pillow seemed a good idea, and if we didn't end up using it, at least we had a spare pillow, which we could use anyhow).

Puppet making
The "David" puppet was based on a yogourt container, but for "April", we decided to use a margarine container, which is a bit wider.  The head is basically the container with the lid bent in half (a cut of the rim allows it to bend), with one half glued to the container and forming the upper mouth, the other forming the bottom part of the mouth.

I heated up the glue gun I had bought a while back, but hadn't used yet.  Sadly, I found out that the glue sticks I bought were too small, so although they did melt, I had to push them through with my finger, which was next to impossible to keep the pressure up adequately.  The bigger sticks (I didn't know there were different sizes!) would be pushed by the trigger mechanism.  So after fighting with this for a while, I switched over to a "tacky" glue, which is like a thick version of a white school glue, but seems to have a good strong hold, and dries fairly quickly.

I decided that instead of a nose on the outside, tying a nose around a little sponge ball would look realistic.  As a side effect, the face puckered, and I ended up with extra material, which I pulled into the rough shape of eyebrows.  Then I glued the face to the container.  I left the top & back free, so I could figure out what to do about the hair.

For the hair, I am pulling through a loop with a small crochet hook, cutting it, and then tying a double knot with the two ends.  That results in two strands of hair, and they are secured in place.  The lengths I choose roughly, since the odd one can always be trimmed back later.  So far the effect is pretty good.  But I don't know if I'll go any further, over the top and back of the head, or just the hair surrounding the face.  I had hoped to find something "easy" for the kids to help me with, but I always manage to make it too complicated, and end up doing the craft by myself.  It drives my husband crazy, but I can't seem to help it.

Puppet making
PuppetFor the mouth, I traced a circle with another margarine lid, and then allowed room all around to wrap over the container, and for lips on top and bottom.  That worked quite well, I think.  Although it doesn't really look like my daughter now, more like a grumpy old lady.
Anyhow, here she is so far.  I need to figure out what to do about the eyes.  We have some wiggly ones somewhere, but I think all of them are too small, so we may need to buy some.  The loose part of the washcloth drapes down in the back, but that may be quite fine.

The next step, once I think I'm not going crazy on the hair anymore, is to glue the head to the jacket, and gloves in the sleeves of the jacket.  For this I may be better to buy the proper glue sticks and use the gun.  I don't think this tacky glue will be strong enough.  Besides, I've used most of the bottle already.

Anyhow, that will need to be another day.


Shady Gardener said...

Ohmygoodness! You are so creative! I love this idea, and what a wonderful Mom (and creative model) you are! Wish I had a little time to copy this right now, but I CAN print it! :-) Thanks! Have a great week.

Aimee said...

OH MY GOD those are so freakin' adorable!! What a talented mom you are! Beautiful. Paper lunch bag puppets are as far as I go on the puppet front, but you could be hired by Jim Henson, were the sainted man still alive.

Garden Lily said...

Aimee - You're too kind, and it may also sit half-finished on the kitchen counter for weeks before I finish it. But I love doing weird stuff like that - I can't seem to help myself. I hope that I will inspire others, just as I am inspired by the blogs of many talented folks.

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