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Hand Puppets

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.

You Need

  • Pencil and paper for a pattern.
  • A plain fabric for the glove part of the puppet. Unbleached calico is ideal.
  • An assortment of scraps of material and trimmings as required by the character under construction.
  • Embroidery cotton for the features.
  • Polyester fibre and a cardboard tube for the neck if you wish to pad out the face.
  • Perhaps some wool for hair.


  1. 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.
  2. Cut out the pattern and pin it to the plain fabric for the "glove" part of the puppet.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Embroider the features and add hair or a hat. Clothe the rest of the glove puppet according to character.

Some hints

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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Hand Puppets