If you 'Like' me on Facebook (which you should!), you've already seen this "Makin' a Puppet" series as it unfolded in real-time this weekend. For those who might stumble upon this blog from a Google search or whatever, I've summarized the whole thing here for posterity. My sister-in-law got me this awesome Obama fabric, so I thought I'd make an Obama bear hand puppet -- or at least a hand puppet wearing an Obama shirt.
Step 1: Cut out the pieces.
Step 2: Sew the ears, sew them to either side of the head, and sew the head.
Step 3: Sew the hands to the arms, sew the arms, and STUFF THEM.
Step 4: Sew the arms to the front of the shirt.
Step 5: Sew the back of the shirt to the front of the shirt
(creating the patented "Peter's Puppets Puppet Pita")
Step 6a: Stuff the head from Step 2 into the other end of the Pita, and sew all around the neck.
Step 6b: Unfurl the Pita and it's starting to look like a puppet!
Step 7: Install the "cranial accessories."
Step 8: Glue in the mouthpiece and you're done!
Step 9: List the puppet for sale on Etsy.
Clearly this is a broad overview of how I make puppets, but it's enough to show you how it's done. My process has evolved in the couple years I've been making these, but there's still two basic influences that survive:
1) The "Blue Boy" Pattern that had been floating around the Internet years ago, and has been (at least as of this writing) archived here. It's very simple, and gives you a great place to start making puppets. There's also a scan online of an old article in Good Housekeeping or something, which ostensibly shows a basic Muppet pattern from the Jim Henson archives. It looks like a Muppet/Henson artifact. But it also looks horribly complicated for something that should be pretty simple.
2) The style of sewing puppet bodies given in Peter Fraser's book Punch and Judy. This is a great book overall, and (if it hasn't been weeded) seems to be a pretty popular resident in libraries' puppet book collections. But don't take my word for it!
...So, there you go. I got a pretty good response from this on Facebook, so I'll plan on doing a few more of these "making a puppet in real-time" photo series. Follow my Facebook page to stay tuned!