Puppet Complete

How to Build a Foam Noodle Puppet

-Cerrise Weiblen

One foam swimming noodle makes one complete puppet that anyone can build!

As demonstrated at Maker Faire Austin, 2007.  Thank you Make Magazine and O'Reilly Media Inc.


You will need:

  • one standard-sized foam noodle
  • about twelve feet of string
  • two googly eyes
  • one permanent marker
  • one serrated knife
  • contact cement (optional)
  • 14 inch zip-tie (optional)

Cutting Instructions

  1. Cut your noodle into nine pieces:  two feet 2 3/4", two legs 7", two hands 4", two upper arms 6 1/4", and one body 11".   (Printer friendly guide in  PDF format.)
  2. Shape the upper arms by cutting wedges from the edges.
  3. Shape the hands by cutting notches to separate the fingers.  Cut one finger short to make a thumb.  Round the fingers by clipping off the top corners.
  4. Shape the hair by cutting triangles from the top of the body segment.
  5. Cut two small holes about five inches down from the top of the hair, for the arm strings to pass through.
  6. Cut two small holes about 1 ½ inches from the bottom of the body, for the leg strings to pass through. 
  7. Shape the legs by cutting flat wedges from the back of the knees.
  8. Cut a slit at one end of each foot, for the string to attach to. 
  9. (optional) Use contact cement to secure the knees in a bent position.
  10. (optional) Make a needle out of a zip-tie by pulling the locking tab out of the hole in the end with a pair of pliers.

Stringing Instructions

  1. Cut the string into two pieces 6 feet long.
  2. Pass the first string through the small holes in the upper body of the puppet.  
  3. Thread the string down through an upper arm piece, and then a hand.  Loop it around the thumb and put it back through the center of the hand, and out the top of the upper arm. 
  4. Pass the string back through the small holes in the body. 
  5. Thread the string through the other upper arm and hand, just like the other side.   Loop it around the thumb and pull it back through the arm until you get back up to the shoulder you started at.
  6. Tie the beginning end of the string in a slipknot around the loose piece you have remaining.  Pass the loose end of the string back through the small hole after the knot is tied, then pull the loose end up through the body, so it comes out of the head.  As you tug on the end of the string, the arms will tighten to the body because of the slipknot.  (After you have the puppet adjusted, you may glue the knot, so it won't slip or come undone.)
  7. Attach the legs in a similar manner.  Pass the second string through the small holes in the lower body of the puppet. 
  8. Thread the string down through a leg piece, then through a foot.  Put it back up through the leg piece, and tug it into the slit in the foot, to secure it.
  9. Pass the string back through the small holes in the body.
  10. Thread the string through the other leg piece and foot, just like the other side.  Put it back through the leg until you get back up to the hip you started at.
  11. Tie the beginning end of the string in a slipknot around the loose piece you have remaining.  Pass the loose end of the string back through the small hole after the knot is tied, then pull the loose end up through the body, so it comes out of the head, just like the string for the arms.  (After you have the puppet adjusted, you may glue the knot, so it won't slip or come undone.)
  12. Tie the ends of the strings together over the puppet’s head to make a loop for him or her to hang from.
  13. Stick on the googly eyes.  Paint or draw on the rest of the face.
  14. You may add strings to the ankles and wrists, to make your puppet into a marionette. 

Puppet Complete 2


Cutting Guide Puppet Arms
ARMS

Cutting Guide Puppet Body
BODY

Cutting Guide Puppet Legs
LEGS

Cutting Guide Puppet Foot
FEET

Cutting Guide Puppet Hand 02  Cutting Guide Puppet Hand 01
HANDS



Stringing Illustration and Measuring Guide



Measuring & Stringing Guide
Download the PDF for printing.




I designed this puppet with children's programs in mind.  The materials were chosen because they are inexpensive, easy to come by, and very easy and forgiving to work with.  Feel free to email me if you are in the Austin area and would like a demonstration for your school or library. 

Cheers,
Cerrise Weiblen 
geekmaker@gmail.com
Check out the independent
Wells Branch
Community Library
www.wblibrary.org



Copyright Cerrise Weiblen 2007.  All rights reserved.  You may print these instructions for personal use only.  You may distribute copies of these instructions and photos for group projects or programs only if there is no fee whatsoever associated with the project.  Children's art programs should always be free of charge.