Congratulations! You made it to Part 3. This is where we put the finishing touches on the puppet. It’s also where things start to get dangerous. You’re going to work with super strong glues and very sharp cutting tools. If you’re not skilled in those things, you might want to ask someone for help. The first dangerous thing we’re going to use is the glue. We use contact cement because it’s super strong. It’s also nasty stuff. If you use something like contact cement, make sure to do this in the garage, on the porch or outside where you have plenty of ventilation. And wear gloves. Otherwise fabric glue is a good choice. You can use hot glue, but it won’t hold up as long and will be lumpy. Whatever you choose, please be careful. If you’re just joining us, check out the previous posts on Tracing and Cutting the Material and Sewing.
1. First we’re going to glue the foam mouth piece to the inside of the mouth of the puppet. On the pattern there is a slightly smaller, off-center oval. Imagine those lines are on the foam. That’s where you want to apply glue and where you want to adhere the puppet by its mouth. It’s important to position the nose of the puppet correctly, where the foam padding is wider. This creates the upper lip. You can do it the other way if you want a pouty bottom lip. With your puppet inside-out and your glue applied, press the mouth to the foam as shown here, remembering to leave an extra width of foam at the nose.
2. When the glue is dry, turn your puppet right-side out.
3. Next we’re going to do some dentistry. Using your super sharp sewing scissors, trim the rectangular teeth down to super sharp triangles.
4. Now the eyes. Use the cheapest ping pong balls you can find. You want the cheap balls because the plastic is usually thicker and the seam is very obvious which makes it easy for cutting. This is where things get dangerous again. Just looking at this picture makes me nervous. And that was me doing the cutting. Using a very sharp utility knife or craft blade, carefully cut one of your ping pong balls in half, along its seam.
5. There’s no easy way to attach the eyes. I measured an inch from the center seam and eye-balled (pun intended) the placement forward and back on the head.
6. I then pinned around each ping pong ball, creating a pen (a pin pen!) to mark out the placement of each eye.
7. Next I pushed the eye deep into the fleece to leave an outline.
8. Then I applied glue to the inside edge of this circular outline and quickly adhered the ping pong ball half. It’s important to keep your glue inside the circle. If any gets outside you will be able to see it on your puppet which will look like eye boogers.
9. The last few steps are very simple and not dangerous. First, cut out two small circles for pupils and glue them to the ping pong balls.
10. We attached our tongue to the mouth with Velcro. So the next thing to do is glue a small piece of Velcro to the lower, center of the inside of the mouth. Then glue the other side of the Velcro to the base of the tongue. This way you can choose to have the tongue hanging out or not or easily replace it in the future.
11. Trace and cut the optional foam head patterns and stuff them up inside the head, one on each side. This pads out the head and gives the puppet some shape other than your hand.
12. That’s it! You just made a puppet. Easy peasy, right? Send us a pic of your python and we’ll post it in our gallery.