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127: Hand Puppet: part 2

August 25, 2012

Maybe you remember the first hand puppet I made. In that post, I explained what inspired me:

I’ve been musing over the term hand puppet for a while now. I’ve wanted to make something that was technically a hand puppet, but not what you’d immediately expect.

I ended up making a hand-shaped marionette. But I wasn’t completely done with the concept, because while I was brainstorming that idea, I came up with another. I wanted to make a hand puppet (the actual put-your-hand-inside kind) that was itself shaped like a hand. And so recently, I embarked on one of the most pointlessly labor intensive sewing projects I’ve ever tried, all to create the mediocre visual pun you see below. Yay! Art!

And because you have to see it move to truly appreciate the final product, here’s a video:

Plenty of build photos after the jump… 


This project started out very similar to the other hand puppet. I tapped into our unlimited supply of wine corks (purchased at some lush’s yard sale for a buck), because they’re lightweight, sturdy, and about the right size and shape for a large hand skeleton. Above you can see the bones for three of the four fingers and a thumb.

Then I grabbed my dwindling supply of felt and started padding them up (if anyone has some extra felt they’d like to donate to me, I can always put it to use). Slowly building up the muscle bits like this really gives you a lot of control in how the final hand will look.

A big ol’ hunk of cardboard for the rest, and it’s time for the first trial fitting.

Meh. Seems OK to me. The thumb is going to be tricky.

As you can see, I ran out of felt, so I used some fleece I had left over from a previous project. The fleece lining makes the finished puppet a couple thousand degrees inside. It’s toasty.

I’m happy with the way it moves in tests… so now I just have to cover it in fleece.

The plan was to operate it just like a regular hand puppet, so my fingers don’t extend into the the fingers of the puppet. It’s kind of hard to see here, so think Kermit the Frog. Four fingers on top, one thumb on bottom, open, close, open, close. The only weird thing is this puppet’s mouth happens to look like another hand.

Oh, magic of the internet. Time moves so smoothly. What actually happened is that the padded skeleton sat on the craft table for weeks while I very slowly tried to wrap my head around applying this skin. Every stitch was hand sewn, so I could monitor the extremely tricky curves and angles. In short, this last step was a huge pain. But ultimately worth it.

Those little crevices between the fingers are the worst.

About the stitching… I learned the Henson stitch developed by Mister Muppet himself. It’s a pretty great way to hide the seams in fleece, although incredibly time consuming. Above is right before the final step where you use the needle to fluff up the fleece around the seam, and below is the same section after.

In most of the pictures where you can still see the seams, it’s because I haven’t done this final step yet (because I’m lazy). I’ll do it later.

This is what it looks like when a giant grabs your knee.

Then I sewed the digits down in the configuration I wanted. Kind of a loose fist. And I was done.

The eyes have velcro on the back, so they can be moved around.

Thanks for reading.
See you next week.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 26, 2012 1:50 pm

    You can use him to make some pretty cool shadow puppets LOL.

  2. Tiffany permalink
    September 1, 2012 1:13 pm

    Hee! I love this. Really well done.

  3. daisybellecrafts permalink
    May 5, 2013 1:15 am

    It reminds me of the Ooglies! hehehehe.

    ‘Ooglies..the eyes are watching you!’

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