How to Make Number and Letter Puppets!!!

by Puppet Nerd

If you’ve watched Sesame Street, you’re probably familiar with the brightly colored number and letter puppets that make occasional appearances on the show to help kids learn their ABC’s and 123’s. Well, now you can make these puppets and bring a bit of that Sesame Street joy into your home.

How Do These Puppets Work?

The letter and number puppets are a bit of an odd shape, so can they work the same as traditional puppets? Yes, they can! In fact, the puppet we’re making today will use the traditional puppet technique of a hand inside the number or letter that moves the puppet. 

Step-by-Step Guide to Make the Puppet

Step 1: Choose The Font- Font varies a bit between the puppets on the show, so feel free to get creative. After I chose my font, I used 19” paper patterns to start the project with. You can make your puppet bigger or smaller, but make sure that the area for the mouth is at least five inches wide. 

Step 2: Trace Patterns onto Foam- I’m using a large foam couch cushion as my base, so the type of foam doesn’t have to be fancy. 

Step 3: Trace Patterns onto Foam- I’m using a large foam couch cushion as my base, so the type of foam doesn’t have to be fancy. 

Step 4: Cut the Foam Pattern Out- I use a bandsaw to craft clean lines in the foam for my puppet. However, if you don’t have this tool, a turkey cutter will work just fine.

Step 5: Glue Open Parts- I was making a “4” for one of my puppets, which required opening an edge of the puppet up to carve out the open space in the middle of the number “4.” I glued this part back in place and once you cover the foam in fabric, you won’t even notice the once opened area. 

Step 6: Carve Out Spot for Hand- Carve into your foam to make room for your hand. I used a small blade to carve out the foam, which took a while, but was excellent for precision. Feel free to absolutely split open your foam in this step since you can always glue it back into place after you carve out that space for your hand.

Step 7: Cut the Mouth- Carve out the mouth to make sure the hole for your hand lines up nicely. 

Step 8 – Create the Mouth Plates- Cut out mouth plates, sand down the edges, and cover them with a fabric of your choice. 

Step 9: Glue the Mouth Plates- Glue the mouth plates into the mouth opening on your puppet.

Step 10: Cover With Fabric- For this project, I used spray adhesive to glue the fabric to the foam and used what I call “the sandwich method.” I started with the side of the number first and covered the perimeter of the puppet with fabric. I then moved on to the front and back of the puppet, continuing to cover it with fabric.

Step 11: Stitch to Seal Edges- I used a ladder stitch to seal off the fabric edges of my puppets.

Step 12: Glue Fabric Around the Mouth- I used contact cement to glue the fabric to the mouth plates.

Step 13: Make the Eyes- Head to my YouTube channel to see how to make a variety of eyes for your puppets. Get creative with this step and pick a set of eyes that characterize your puppet. Glue them on and your puppet is complete!

Show Off Your New Puppets

These puppets are perfect to teach a child about learning or to decorate a Sesame Street themed birthday party. Feel free to get creative throughout this process and animate the puppets how you’d like. Count Dracula would be very proud of your talented puppet skills.

You may also like