This tutorial demonstrates the process for sewing and assembling a professional, Muppet-style puppet. If you don’t know how to sew, it’s not hard to learn. If you have access to a machine and a mature individual to teach you, politely insist on lessons. And if you don’t have access to a machine, you can still make this puppet by hand. It will take a little longer but you’ll grow so much during the process.
If you are just joining us, you will want to start with our previous tutorial, ‘How to Make a Puppet: Pattern and Materials for a Gnu’.
Sewing the Head
Let’s begin with the head. Sandwich both pieces with the right-side in, then pin and sew.
Next, pin and sew the head to the mouth.
Sewing the Body
Now let’s sew the body. The chest piece is an oblong. Line-up the “shoulder” with the top of the back piece, as shown below. Pin the pieces together along this length, then bend the back piece to meet the chest piece and continue pinning to create a straight line.
Repeat the above procedure on the opposite side.
Sewing the Ears
Let’s move on to the ears. Layer the ear pieces on top of one another so that the rights-side are facing inward. Then pin and sew, leaving the flat segment that attaches to the head open.
Then turn the ears inside-out.
These are great little socks, but they’re not ears yet. To achieve proper ear-effect, hold the ear at its base and slightly fold the top of the ear over to the bottom and pinch it with your fingers. Then pin and sew. Repeat for the opposite side.
Sew the ears to the head. Insert them into the slit in the top of the head and line up the bottom, flat edge with the edge of the slit, as pictured. Be sure that the white of your ears will face forward. Using a needle and thread, sew the ears to the head.
Assembling the Head
Glue the stiffened felt mouth plate to the mouth foam. You may find it easier to trace the stiffened felt mouth plate on the foam to create a guide for gluing.
Then glue the head to the mouth.
Sewing the Nostrils
While the glue dries, pick your nose. Fold the nostril pieces in half so that the right-side is inside.
Pin the ears and sew, starting from the wider end, about a 2″ seam, leaving an opening at the tapered end.
Turn the nostrils inside-out. You may need to use a stick or pen to help.
Stuff the nostrils.
Using needle and thread, sew the nostrils closed. You may need to pin the opening closed.
When the glue is dry, turn the head inside-out.
Attaching the Nostrils
Sewing the nostrils to the head can be tricky. Start by folding the nostril over on itself, as pictured below. Move it about until you are happy, then pin the ends in place.
Using needle and thread, sew nostrils to the head.
Sewing and Assembling the Arms
Trace and cut the rod pocket pieces. You will need four pieces.
Set up the arms as pictured below, aligning the flat edge of the “hand” with the a short edge of the arm with the right-side facing inward. Pin and sew the aligned edges.
Next, fold the arms in half, right-side in.
Position the rod pockets pieces on the outside of the arm so that they are aligned.
Pin the rod pocket pieces to the arm and sew.
Now fold the arm over on itself again, pin it together and sew.
Now stuff the arms, but not too tightly. Leave them a bit loose so they will appear to move naturally.
Attaching the Arms to the Body
Position the arms on the body at the “shoulder”.
Make a point on either side of the arm, marking the top corners.
Cut a slit between the two points.
Repeat on the other side.
Flatten the arms so that the seam is in the center of one side.
Insert the arms into the should slits and pin.
Using needle and thread, sew the arms to the body.
Sewing the Head to the Body
Lay the head and body out as picture. Then insert the head into the body through the neck hole.
Align the edges of the head and the body, then pin and sew.
Turn the puppet inside-out.
Dying and Attaching the Horns
If you used marker to trace the horn patterns, you will want to trim off the ink.
Dye the horns.
With your strong adhesive, glue the ears to the head, just behind the ears.
Using a very big needle and yarn, add hair by sewing from the inside of the puppet and pulling the yarn out. Tie a knot in the end of each piece of yarn to prevent it from pulling out.
If you want to, bend the wire into a glasses.
Your puppet is finished! Now go start an educational web series.
How to Make a Puppet: Sewing and Assembling a Gnu was posted by Jared on . Jared is one half of the creative force behind Dototot. In addition to writing scripts and tutorials, he draws and animates both the digital and the analog.