Penguins are amazing. Unfortunately, they make terrible pets. Fortunately, you can make your own penguin puppet. Making a professional, fleece and foam Muppet-style puppet is easier than you think. In this tutorial you will learn how to make a puppet with easily sourced materials.
We use this puppet in our series The Hello World Program. Her name is Adelie and she teaches Linux.
Materials & Tools
Materials you will need:
- black fleece, 1/2 yd.
- white fleece, 1/2 yd.
- 1/2” foam sheeting, 1/2 yd.
- orange felt, 2 sheets
- white stiffened felt, 1 sheet
- white foam, 1 sheet
- black foam, 1 sheet
- orange thread
- black thread
Tools you will need:
- scissors (we recommend Gingher 8-Inch Knife Edge Dressmaker’s Shears)
- sewing machine (or a needle and a lot of patience; we recommend a Janome HD3000 Heavy Duty Mechanical Sewing Machine)
- sewing pins
- marker or tracing chalk
- fabric glue or other very strong adhesive
- penguin puppet pattern (available for purchase on our Gumroad page)
Cutting and Assembling the Pattern
The pattern is ready-to-print on a standard, household printer. This convenience requires you to assemble it somewhat as many of the puppet pieces are much larger than letter size paper. It will be obvious from the pattern and this tutorial which pieces to join and where. Begin by cutting the pattern out along the heavy black edges. You can tape the pieces together or simply set them on the fabric next to one another for tracing.
Here I join the two pieces of the head pattern with tape.
Here I am joining the two pieces of the chest pattern with a piece of tape.
And here I join the two pieces of the back pattern with tape.
Tracing the Pattern; Cutting the Fleece and Felt
Let’s begin by tracing and cutting the white fleece patterns. I recommend tracing on the “back” side of your fabric. Not all fleece is created equally. If one side is more textured and ‘fleecy’, this is the right side, which is the side you want facing out after assembling your puppet. Trace on the flat, or wrong side. This will also hide all of your tracing lines inside the puppet after sewing. You don’t have to use a marker. Chalk or pencil work fine, too. But if you do use a marker, be sure to get a lot of ink on your fingers like I did.
Trace the wing, then flip the pattern over and trace it again. Why? To ensure that the right, textured side of both pieces of your fleece is on the outside when you assemble your puppet. If your fleece has an obvious grain, you will want it to be consistent across both pieces. In order to ensure consistency, mirror the pattern, as below.
Now trace and cut the black fleece, following the same method as above by flipping and mirroring the pattern as necessary.
Trace one side of the head pattern and then flip the the pattern over to trace the other side.
Now trace and cut the beak patterns on the orange felt.
Next trace and cut the mouth plates from the stiffened felt.
Lastly, trace and cut the eyes from the foam sheets.
Sewing and Assembly
You can easily see how the pieces fit together. Part 2 of our tutorial will demonstrate how to sew and assemble your penguin puppet.
How to Make a Puppet: Pattern & Materials for a Penguin was posted by Jared on . Jared is one half of the creative force behind Dototot. In addition to writing scripts and tutorials, he draws and animates both the digital and the analog.