Puppetry, just like any other artform, needs to be practiced. Practice puppets are sturdy eyes you can wear on your hand to practice your puppetry at any time and place. This can be a great tool to brush up on your skills, so follow along to learn how to perfect making this little puppet.
The Benefits of Practice Puppets
Practice puppets are truly the only thing you need to practice puppetry. The eyes allow you to practice perfecting the eye contact of the puppet with where they’re talking and your hand acts as the mouth. This little tool is also small enough to fit in your pocket. This allows you to take your puppet with you wherever you go, ensuring that you stay up to date on your skills.
Your practice puppet will be placed in between two of your fingers and resemble that of a ring. This makes it comfortable to hold and the possibilities for the practice puppet endless. The base of the puppet will be a small knob for a drawer that fits comfortably in between your middle and ring finger.
You’ll also need a piece of scrap wood that’s about 1’x2’. You’ll also need a marker for marking the wood, sandpaper, paint, and tools to help the puppet come alive.
Steps to Make the Puppets
Here’s how you can make your own practice puppet.
- Draw the Eyes. Take the scrap wood and mark the center point. You’ll want to draw the eyes on each side of the wood plank. Make the eyes as goofy, silly, or angry as you want them to be.
- Drill Holes. You’ll want one of your drill bits to be the size of the head of the screw and the other to be the size of the body of the screw. Take the bigger drill bit and make a hole in the center of the wood straight from the top of the wood to the bottom. Only drill about halfway down. Then switch the drill bits and drill the rest of the way through the wood with the smaller drill bit.
- Cut out the Silhouette of the Eyes. You’ll next want to cut out the outline of the eyes with a coping saw.
- Round Out the Edges. This part is optional, but to avoid any splinters and rough edges I like to sand down the edges of the wood. This also makes the eyes a bit rounder.
- Make the Details. (optional) You can leave the silhouette as is or you could add details like wrinkles under the eye or a small crevice that separates the eyeballs using a utility knife.
- Paint the Base of the Eyes. I used white spray paint as my base, but you can use acrylics or whatever other paint you have lying around.
- Attach the Knob. Next, attach the knob to the wooden eyes and tighten with a screwdriver. Your eyes are now perfectly put together and all you have left to do is design the practice puppet into its final form.
- Design. Get creative with your eyes and design them however you’d like. Use markers for color, fur and felt for texture, and flat sided beads for the pupils. You can’t go wrong with any design, so get creative and start practicing your puppetry with your little practice puppet!