Have you ever wanted to make your very own marionette puppet? Well, here it is! It’s probably no secret that we absolutely love puppets of all kinds at Super Simple. Puppetry is a very old form of storytelling that originated in Ancient Greece. Today, puppets are not only fun to play with, but also work as a wonderful learning tool. Children gain confidence speaking as the voice of their puppet and get an opportunity to practice conversation skills and motor skills. Having a friend to talk to or feel for helps children with their emotional development as well.
This lovely ostrich marionette is super cute and fun to play with. Because this craft requires a few tools and careful measuring, it is suitable for a supervised older child or adult, but anyone can play with it once it’s complete. Your new creation will make a wonderful gift and can provide hours of entertainment, so if you’re feeling crafty we think this project is for you.
See it in action!
Be sure to catch the episode of Sing Along With Tobee where he sings The Pinocchio with Fifi the ostrich.
Things You’ll Need
- Fishing string, embroidery thread, yarn, (any will do)
- 2 foam balls, 2.5” and 1.75 ”
- 2 large popsicle sticks
- 2 large beads (for feet )
- Beads (for legs and neck )
- Small piece fun foam (for the beak)
- 2 large washers
- Drill with fine drill bit
- Feathers for wings and tail
- 6 paper clips
- Side cutters or pliers
- 1 marabou feather boa or plastic lay
- Craft glue gun
- White glue
- Googly eyes
Let’s begin by preparing the body. Cut 6 paper clips in half using side cutters or pliers. These will be called tie off clips. We need four for the body and two for the head.
The large ball is the body. The small ball is for the head. Mark the tie off points with a marker. Add a paper clip to the top centre for the body and to the front centre for the neck and onto both sides in the centre for the legs.
Add tie off clips to the top center of the head and back center of the neck, like so.
Dip the paper clips halves into white glue and pierce them into the foam balls. Leave about 1/4” or more sticking out from the ball. This will help you access the tie off clips once the ball is covered in feathers. Let the glue dry while you make the legs.
Cut 2 lengths of string at 13”, this includes some extra to tie knots. For the feet, string a large bead and tie a knot at the end of each string. Add beads until you reach the total length of about 8” or 9” for each leg.
To make the neck, cut one length of string at 10”. Leave a couple inches of string before tying off your first bead. Add 5”- 6” of beads.
With a craft glue gun, glue washers to the bottom of both feet. The washers act as weights.
Next, glue the feather boa to the foam balls. Make sure to leave space to access your tie off clips.
With a knot, attach the beaded legs to the clips on either side of the large ball. Next, tie the neck string connecting the body and the head ball. Trim any excess string.
Making the Puppet handle
Glue a horizontal popsicle stick to the vertical popsicle stick one third down, not in the middle. This will help the marionette balance properly.
Drill small holes to the ends of the popsicle sticks. The long ends will attach to the head. The left and right sides will attach to the legs. The centre of the cross shape will attach to the body.
Attaching the puppet
Cut 4 generous lengths of fishing line. They can all be the same length. If you will be playing with the puppet standing up, cut longer lengths. If it’s a tabletop toy, cut them shorter.
First, attach the fishing line to the center point. Next, attach it to the top of the head and two feet just on top of the large bead.
Feed the first line from the body through the centre hole of the puppeteering handle and find your desired height. Tie a bead to the end of the string.
TIP: Pulling this bead will give your marionette extra movement by letting the head lower to gesture eating.
Next, feed the fishing line from the feet through either end of the cross. While holding the puppet upright. Before tying your knot, make sure the fishing line is taught and that the feet have contact with the surface.
Add extra feathers for a tail and wings.
Cut out a large and small triangle out of some fun foam to fashion a beak. Glue the larger triangle on top and the smaller triangle inside of it.
Glue both eyes in place.
Now, it’s time to say hello to your new ostrich marionette friend!
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