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9 DIY Puppets You Can Make at Home

From sock puppets to popsicle stick puppets, here's how to make a marionette menagerie.

Erica Silverstein · 5 months ago

  • art
DIY puppets kids can make at home

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You don’t have to be Jim Henson or Geppetto to make homemade puppets. The whole family can create easy-to-make puppets with materials found in your art closet, recycling bin, or pantry. From the humble finger puppet to the ingenious toilet roll marionette, you can stage your next show with these DIY puppets you can make at home.

1. Popsicle Stick Puppets

Popsicle Stick Puppets

Mama Cheaps

Beginner puppeteers can start with the simplest of all puppets — the popsicle stick puppet. Draw your character on a piece of paper or cardboard, glue a stick to its back, and voila! Instant puppet. If you need some inspiration, I love these adorable astronaut puppets and this tutorial on making family stick puppets. 

2. Egg Carton Finger Puppets

Egg Carton Finger Puppets

Tea Time Monkeys

Anyone can make a finger puppet with a loop of paper, but the Tea Time Monkeys blog has a clever idea for using egg cartons to make mice finger puppets. With googly eyes and pink pom-pom noses, these little rodents can star in your at-home staged version of “City Mouse and Country Mouse” or even “Ratatouille.”

3. Paper Bag Puppets

Paper Bag Puppets

Crafts by Amanda

These DIY puppets use an upside-down paper lunch bag as the body. All you need to do is transform the bag into an animal or person with some well-placed drawings or construction paper cutouts. Follow step-by-step instructions online to create salty pirates or a menagerie of paper bag animal puppets. Or dream up your own Paper Bag Princess.

4. Two- and Four-Finger Puppets

Finger Puppet

Art Craft and Fun

Let your fingers do the walking when you make puppets that use your own hands for legs. Two- and four-finger puppets can be any cardboard design; just leave holes at the bottom, where the legs of your character should go, for you to slip your fingers through. Trot these paper unicorn puppets from Art Craft and Fun around your puppet stage or make these cute duck puppets kickline to the chorus of “Six Little Ducks.”

5. Pipe Cleaner Finger Puppets

pipe cleaner finger puppets

One Little Project

Have you ever tried to follow instructions to make pipe cleaner animals and gotten hopelessly tied up in knots? Me too. Pipe cleaner finger puppets are much less complicated; you only need a few twists and a glue gun to secure a pom pom and googly eyes in place. These little puppets are so quick and easy to make, you’ll have your whole hand outfitted in no time.

6. Sock Puppets

Sock Puppets

Getty

When the washer has eaten half of a sock pair, it’s time to turn the other into a puppet. You can follow tutorials online to make sock puppies, kittens or silly people, or get inventive with whatever felt scraps, yarn, buttons, and ribbons you can find at home. The best part? Coming up with crazy names for your new puppet creatures.

7. Felt Hand Puppets

No-Sew Felt Puppets

30 Minute Crafts

If you’ve got a hot glue gun, you don’t need a needle to make no-sew felt hand puppets. Use this template from 30 Minute Crafts to make the felt body, then add ears, eyes, and noses. You’ll have a sweet animal puppet in no time. Or let your imagination go wild to make wacky monsters or a felt family.

8. Toilet Roll Marionette

Toilet Roll Marionette

Red Ted Art

These ingenious marionette puppets for kids use empty toilet paper rolls for the heads and bodies. They’re a step up in puppet-making from paper finger puppets, but still completely doable as a family craft activity for the anti-Pinterest parent. Use popsicle sticks or disposable chopsticks for the crossbar to make your puppet dance. We found tutorials on making toilet roll marionette giraffes, puppies, and unicorns, so you can learn how to make a puppet step by step. 

9. Folded Paper Hand Puppets

The most challenging puppet on our list is the folded paper hand puppet. It really only requires some beginner origami skills and a little finesse with a glue stick to turn construction paper into a chomping alligator. Mom and dad will need to assist younger kids with the folding, gluing and finishing touches, but leave it to the kids to come up with silly shows and songs to star their new paper pets.