Here are “step-by-step” instructions on how to make a pig puppet! Before starting the pig pattern, please note that this is not a beginner pattern. If this is your first time building a puppet, start with the free patterns covered in the main tutorial series. If you’re looking for something more advanced, the Fried Frog or Small Fry patterns are also good starting points.
Print out the pattern pieces and assemble them. Each piece is labeled for fabric or foam and how many pieces you need of each. Take the foam pieces and trace them onto the foam, making sure to trace the notches as well. The notches will help you put together the pieces evenly when gluing. The Front Body piece can be traced as two separate pieces or can be mirrored to cut out as one piece.
Cut the pieces out of the foam. A Persona blade is recommended for cutting foam, but if you don’t have one, scissors will work on half-inch foam. Make sure your scissors are perpendicular to the foam.
Next, you will be gluing the darts and seams of the puppet. Darts are the places on a single piece of material that are joined together and seams are where pieces come together. Apply glue to the edges of the darts. You will find them on the body and the top of the head. Push them together and make sure they line up at the bottom evenly.
Once you are done with the darts, apply glue and glue along the side seams. Line up the bottom of the pieces and start to push together. Make sure the notches and the darts line up as well. Don’t glue the area for the mouth yet.
After the main body of the pig is assembled, glue in the small mouthpiece. Apply glue to the short edges of the small piece and the edge of the mouth area. Once the glue is ready, line up the notches and press them together. Repeat on the other side as well. This piece helps to hold the mouthplate in place.
Next, attach the front of the snout. The recommended way is to slide the snout piece in. There is a small step in the snout on the body that allows for the foam in the front and then the tops can be lined up as well. If there is any foam sticking out at the corners, push it back into place.
Some alternate ways include laying it on top of the opening and pressing the edges together and fully encasing it inside the snout. These will change the look of the snout a little bit but work just as well.
After assembling the foam pieces of the pig, it’s time to work on the mouthplate. Take the pattern piece and line it up with the edge of the gasket rubber. Trace around the edge and make sure to mark the top and bottom notches as well as the middle. Cut out using a pair of scissors. Rub the edges and the entirety of the unmarked side with sandpaper to allow for better glue adhesion.
If you do not have gasket rubber for the mouthplate, storage bin plastic can also be used. Just make sure to cut it in half if you do.
Place glue on the inside of the mouth and on the top edge of the mouthplate. You will want to insert it so the mouthplate notches line up with the notch of the nose and it will attach to the sides.
An option at this step is to also apply glue to the bottom edge of the foam and press it to the mouthplate as well. It allows for the lip to curl around the edges.
There is no foam for the lower portion of the jaw since the puppet is so small.
Now it’s time to move onto the puppet fleece covering of the puppet. There are two pattern pieces for the fabric covering that can be arranged so you will only need to cut one piece of fabric per side.
Lay the fabric so the softer side is on your work surface and with the stretch going across the body. Take the pattern pieces, line up the notches, and lay them so the stretch is going across the body. Trace around the outer edge. Flip the pattern so it is mirrored and repeat the tracing. If you are sewing on a sewing machine, make sure to add at least ¼ inch seam allowance and cut out the fabric pieces. If hand sewing, cut right on the line.
Now that the fabric pieces have been cut out, pin the darts together along the edge. Make sure to line them up at the bottom and that any notches are aligned as well. Stitch all the darts. Make sure not to mistake the mouth for a dart so you don’t sew it shut. To learn the best sewing techniques for making puppets, click here!
Once the darts have been sewn, it’s time to sew the edges. Pin the pieces together so that the right sides are together and sew along the back edge and the front edge.
Next, sew in the snout of the puppet. Take the snout pattern and line it up with the edge of the mouthplate. Mark the inside edges of the foam on the pattern. This lets you know how much of an opening you need to leave for the fabric mouthplate.
Cut out the snout piece from the fabric, making sure to transfer the notches. Pin the snout into place. The top-notch should line up with the center top seam of the fabric. The edge of the fabric gets pinned to the notches you made. If the fabric seems to be loose around the snout, gently gather as you pin. Sew starting at one of the mouthplate edges and stitch around the snout to the other edge.
Now that the body is stitched, it’s time to make the fabric mouthplate. Take a piece of velvet of felt and trace the mouthplate pattern onto the fabric. Make sure to mark all the notches. If you want the fabric mouthplate to come all the way to the edge of the installed mouthplate and you are sewing by hand, cut the fabric out as is. If you are using a machine, make sure to add seam allowance.
If you want the lip to come all the way to the end of the mouthplate and are sewing by hand, trim a little bit inside the line all the way around. If sewing with a machine, cut out the pattern as is.
Pin the mouthplate into place. While pinning, make sure to line up the center seams. After pinning into place, sew using the method of your choice.
After sewing in the fabric mouthplate, it’s time to glue the fabric to the inside of the mouthplate. The glue should be applied to the outside edge of the fabric and the edge of the mouth area on the puppet. Applying glue to the edges keeps it from wrinkling in the center. Once the glue is tacky, place the fabric in the mouthplate, making sure to line up the center seam with the center notches.
Once the mouthplate has been glued into place, turn the rest of the fabric over the puppet. Pull up on the snout to get it into place and in the cheek area to get rid of any wrinkles.
Now that you are done with the body, it’s time to add the arms, tail, and facial features. These are all up to you and are based on the character you create. You can mix and match from different patterns depending on what you envision. This will go over how the included arms, tail, and facial features that are included with the pattern.
If the bottom of the puppet seems to need more stability, a metal ring can be added to the bottom. The pattern at its normal size is 5 inches across. Use sandpaper on the metal to rough it up a bit so the glue sticks better. Tuck the fabric back away from the edge and apply glue to the bottom foam edge and the metal ring. Place the ring on the inner edge and wait for the glue to get tacky. After the glue is tacky, pinch the foam around the ring. Then take Fabri-Tac to the edge of the fleece and tuck up inside the puppet.
If you do not have a ring, other materials like Featherlite boning or plastic can also be used to add stability.
To start on the arms, take the arm pattern pieces and trace them on the fabric making sure to mark the notches. Cut out the pieces and then line up the tip at the notches and pin them together. Stitch up the side seams, but leave the wrist and the shoulder parts open.
Next, make the hooves. To do this, take the pattern piece and trace it onto the black felt. If sewing by hand, cut out four and then stitch together. If sewing on a machine, fold the felt in half and trace the hoof twice. Sew over the marks on the machine and then cut out. Be sure not to get too close to the thread. If adding arm rods later, leave a small opening on one side. Once you are done sewing, turn the hooves right side out. Make sure to poke out the points of the hooves as well.
Take the hooves that have been turned right side out and place them in the arm that is still wrong-side out. Line up the bottom edge of the hoof with the end of the arm fabric and stitch the pieces together all the way around. Once you have done this for both arms, turn them right side out. After turning the arms right side out, they will need to be stuffed. You can retrace the arm pattern onto the foam and stuff using foam, or you can use fiberfill.
Next, you will need to attach the arms. To do this take some pins and find where you would like to place them. A good place to measure from is the tip of the dart since it is the same on both sides of the puppet. Once you have a good spot for them, pin them into place and sew. A ladder stitch works best.
Now that the arms are done, it’s time to work on the eyes. There are several ways to make eyes and the decision is up to you depending on your character. A recommended way of making them for this puppet is to use wooden doll heads with a flat edge and place them on top of the puppet. To attach them, use or make a small bracket. To make a bracket, flatten a piece of 4 inch PVC pipe with a heat gun, measure where you want the eyes to go, and drill two holes.
Place the bracket on top of the puppet and mark where the holes are. Then use an awl to poke out the holes. Place the screws inside the bracket and push up through the holes. Place and tighten the doll heads on top of the screws. Use the drill to tighten them in place.
After placing the eyes, it’s time to make the ears. Take the headliner fabric and trace out the ears. If you don’t have headliner fabric, thick felt will also work. After the ears have been traced, take a piece of fleece and fold it in half with right-sides together. Place the headliner fabric on top and pin all three layers together. Sew on the lines and leave the bottoms open. After the layers have been sewn together, cut the ears out. Turn the ears right side out through the pink ends. Once they have been turned right side out, a top stitch can be done to make it look like cartilage. If you want to make the ears poseable, a wire can be added inside.
After the ears are finished, decide where you would like to place them. Sew up the ends of the ears and then stitch them into place using a ladder stitch.
There is no pattern for the tail, however; one can be made using a small piece of pipe-cleaner and a scrap piece of fleece that is no more than an inch wide. Bend both ends of the pipe-cleaner and then carefully sew the fleece around the pipe-cleaner but don’t trim the thread. Use the remaining thread to sew the tail to the puppet. Once the tail is sewn into place, curl the tail the way you want it to look.
The last step is to place the pupils. Place the pupils on the end of straight pins to help you find a good eye focus. Once you find the right focus, attach to the eye.
And with that, you have finished the pig puppet!