Handsewn Finger Puppets
Finger puppets are an awesome way for kids like me to keep entertained over long periods of time. So when my little sister's birthday came up, I decided to make her these ones. They are handsewn because I don't have a sewing machine, but if you have a sewing machine, you could use it. Not much skill in sewing is required, but you do need to know the basics.
Ahem. These instructions aren't specific, and you can modify them to suit your own puppets. Feel free to modify it in anyway you like.
And I apologise for the slightly dodgy pictures. My camera isn't that good with focusing and lighting as it's getting old. =3
Ideas and Gathering Materials
It's always a good idea to draw out what you want your puppets to look like as something to base off. So get sketchy! Once you have an idea of what kind of finger puppets you want to make, get out the materials. I didn't purchase anything for this project, I just used scrap fabric and things that I already had at home. You'll need at least:
- 10cm x 100cm of fabric (I suggest cotton, polar fleece, or even felt would work)
- Basic sewing equipment i.e. sewing needle, thread, pins
- Fabric scissors
For embellishments, try:
- Small beads
- Goggle eyes
- Small buttons
Making the Base
Measure out a rectangle of fabric that is:
length from your fingertip to your second joint on your finger plus 5 mm x the largest circumference of the finger you are making the puppet for plus 2.2cm
The 5 mm is for a hem, so that bottom of the puppet doesn't fray. The 2cm is the seam allowance for when you are sewing the base.
Start by folding the excess 5mm and then pinning it. Make it so that the not printed side of the fabric is folded face to face. Then sew evenly along in the folded area. This creates a hem, like on a pocket. (not shown in pictures).
Then, fold the fabric in half with the printed side face to face and then sew 1 cm in from the edge. Pinning the fabric would help. Sew small, neat stitches. Don't rush it! When you are done, you may trim off some of the sewed parts. Leave at least 5mm!
Turn the fabric inside out so that the printed part of the fabric is showing, and you have a little tube. It's a good idea to try it on your finger now, so that you can make any changes if necessary.
Making the Head
Draw the design of your puppet head on a piece of paper, to scale. The design should just be a head. The head should be wider than your finger!!! The best head is kept simple but recognisable. Also draw on what your would like your face to look like.
Cut out the head, with a small border. This is so that when you sew the head together, you are sewing on the actual shape of the head. Pin the template to your fabric and then cut it out to the shape of the template.
Unpin, and then repeat.
You should now have 2 fabric head shapes and one paper head shape.
Decorating the Head
Now, take one fabric head and using pencil, lightly mark in the basic features/face of the puppet. Then you can go ahead and use all sorts of different ways to bring the features to life. =D I used small beads for this chicken's eyes and I stitched on the beak. As I mentioned before, you could use goggle eyes and buttons as well, but I didn't have any on hand.
A Rather Confusing Step
For this step, I would say that a thread that contrasts your fabric works better. I used thread that was the same colour as my fabric, and it made the puppet's head look larger than it was meant to look.
So anyway. This step is a little confusing, because technically, you should sew the head inside out and attach it to the base at the same time, but I didn't want to do that. I wanted to see the stitches outlining the shape of the puppet's head. But I also wanted it so that my finger could get into the puppet head as well, otherwise the puppet head is rather flat. So.
Get the two fabric heads together, wrong side of fabric facing together. The fabric should be the same shape. Pin the heads together at the top. Get the base and stick it between the fabric heads. Allow at least 5mm to be covered by the heads. So looking at the fabric from a cross section, it goes head, base, base, head.
Now. Start the stitches from the side of one base. (refer to pictures for better explanation) Then start sewing, but only sew the top two layers, i.e. the fabric head layer closest to you and the base layer directly underneath it. Sew all the way along the bottom of the face in this manner. Once you reach the other side, continue up the side of the face, but now include the other layer of head. Go all the way around and once you get to the starting point, sew the other two layers that you didn't sew earlier. Take great care not to include any other layers in the sewing.
Confused? So am I =D.
You don't have to make the stitches too small this time, but it's important to keep your stitches tidy. Because you are using contrasting thread, whatever you sew will show up. Also remember that you are sewing the outline of the head.
Now, you are finished! As said before, feel free to experiment. I'd love to see your designs. I ended up making four puppets, all using the same basic steps. The important thing is the have fun and take your time.
Have lots of fun chilling with your new finger puppets. =D