Today I want to share a project I’m really excited about. But (because I can’t help myself) I’ll give you the back-story.
My daughter, Willo came home with a school project the other day. She had been told that she had to make a puppet for school. She has until the 18th of August to finish it. Any kind of puppet, and most of the kids decided on Sock Puppets or Silhouette puppets.
Willo knew we could do better than that so she asked me to help her make a hand puppet.
One problem: I have never in my life made a puppet of any shape or form before. Not even a sock puppet.
Possible advantage: I know how to sew / I make teddy bears / I have a good sized stash to dig through from my various crafts.
So I asked her what she wanted.
“A medieval girl.”
With an eyebrow raised I answered. “You don’t think small, do you?”
She was unrepentant, but then that’s teenagers for you.
I thought about it, and came up with an idea. I was going to create a character from Game of Thrones, I was going to name the puppet Drucilla Stark and put her in a fur cloak, the works.
(Sometimes things don’t work out as you plan and you have to modify your idea.)
It was time for a stash hunt. I have to say, I do love stash hunts.
This is what I found, and in the end, used:
- Calico (an off white color) for the body
- Polly-cotton fabric for the red under-dress and cape.
- Silver crushed velvet for the over-dress
- Red double-knit yarn for her hair.
- Teddy bear safety eyes
- Fake eyelashes (I used one cut in half)
- Plushy filling for the head
- Wool roving in off white for the skin and red for the lips and eyebrows.
- Silver ribbon for her hair ties and cape tie
- Red loom-bands to keep her braids in place
- Nail art rhinestones for the hem of her over-dress and the sleeves of her under-dress.
- Small bright silver jump rings (I put them all together to make her belt)
This is how we did it:
I didn’t want to go download a template. I know it would have been easier, but I wanted to do the whole thing from scratch.
- I started out by tracing Willo’s hand onto a piece of paper and drawing a basic puppet shape.
- I transferred it to calico and cut it out.
- I sewed it.
- EPIC FAIL.
- I’d forgotten to take into consideration the width of the palm when passing through a narrowed wrist gap. You craft and learn, people, that’s all I’m saying.
- Okay, back to the drawing-board, or rather paper.
- This time I tripled the size of the whole danged thing.
- And again, wisely cut and sewed that part before I worked on any other pattern pieces.
- Okay with that done, I took the piece for the main body and traced around it for my other pieces. The under-dress and the over-dress.
- I sewed those pieces and put it all together.
- I wasn’t sure how I wanted to do the head, but I wanted it to look more three dimensional than a cut and stuffed head. And recently I’ve acquired some needle felting tools. So I took those out
- I started (to save on roving) with plushy stuffing, felting that into a ball
- Then I took the off-white roving and started adding the skin.
- I made indents for the eyes already when I was working with the stuffing.
- Once I had the skin over, I used and awe to poke holes in where the eyes go and used tacky glue to glue them into place.
- I felted some eye lids and attached the fake eyelash I’d cut in half. Again, with the tacky glue.
- I felted in the nose, eyebrows and lips.
- Then I took the red yarn and cut it into even lengths. I folded it in the middle and used my felting needles to felt that into place on her “scalp.”
- I braided the sides and added the ribbons.
Then we wanted to make the cape.
I had some “faux fur” coat edging that I inherited out my grand mothers stash and I cut strips of that and sewed it together making a whole “hood” with it too. I lined it with more of the silver crushed velvet, but when I tried it on Ruby I just didn’t like the way it looked. The “Blond” of the fur clashed with her red coloring. (Which was Willo’s idea btw) And the hooded cloak was too bulky for the puppet, it didn’t flow right.
So I modified the plan and made her a cape out of the light weight polly cotton.
Time for finishing touches:
- I used nail -art rhinestones because they are super tiny and cute.
- I put down a layer of tacky glue on her hem and then laid down the stones so she has sparkles on the hem of the over-dress and on the sleeves of the under-dress.
- I dug into my huge supply of split rings and one by one linked them together until I had the belt made, then I tacked it onto her overdress with some invisible cotton.
And we were done.
Willo did help a lot in this process, even using a sewing machine for the first time, and I’m pretty proud of her creativity.
She got to name the puppet since my Stark idea hadn’t worked out and she said without a second thought that the puppet’s name is Ruby.
Above the fact that we had fun making this project, I can say it was a bonding experience for us and we both enjoyed. it.