Sometimes hand puppets, bought with the best of intentions, can turn
out to be too heavy or too large for the child in question. It is
easy for anyone handy with a needle to make one just the right size,
and of course it can be dressed according to the needs of the moment
- to illustrate a story or a nursery rhyme perhaps.
- Make the paper pattern. Place the child's hand on the paper
in the position it will be when operating the hand puppet. Most
children like to place their thumb in one arm, their index finger
in the neck, their middle finger in the other arm and tuck their
ring and little finger into the palm of their hand. A few children
prefer to put two fingers in the neck and the other two in the
arm not occupied by the thumb. Draw round the child's hand, allowing
plenty for the seams.
- Cut out the pattern and pin it to the plain fabric for the "glove"
part of the puppet.
- Cut it out and tack the seams. Try it for size. If the child
can manipulate it fairly easily, (it is a knack that has to be
learnt) and stitch it properly.
- Now for the fun part, and the creation of the character. If
you want a padded face, make that first, and insert a cardboard
tube in the neck. Make one a generous size from a strip of thin
card - from the cornflakes packet perhaps - glue it and roll it
up. Insert it in the neck. Adjust the padding round it and bind
firmly round the neck to keep it in place. Cover the binding later
with a collar or ruff of lace.
- Embroider the features and add hair or a hat. Clothe the rest
of the glove puppet according to character.
A slit up the back of the glove part of the puppet makes it easier
for some children to arrange their hand in the right position for
manipulating the character.
Sew metal buttons to the puppet's hands and it can be made to play
the cymbals in time to the music on the radio! Some physiotherapists
find this idea useful.
Make the glove pattern in heavy duty Vilene. Now the child can create
the character with the help of felt pens. Put some paper inside the
glove or the colours may bleed through from the front to the back.
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