socks (longer ones will work better)
material (felt is best, in a few colors if possible)
Before starting: Make sure newspapers are spread out over your table or working surface, and that you are wearing appropriate clothing - you'll be working with glue...!
First, decide what animal (or whatever else) you wish to make, and pick the color sock accordingly. Green is great for snakes, and black is good, too. Yellow would be fine for a cheetah or leopard, white or black would be great for a zebra, and orange would work nicely for a tiger. Of course, you can use any socks you want to for any animal - we think argyle boas are adorable!
Next you will want to cut out pieces of felt (or whatever other material you're using but we think felt works best) in different patterns depending on the puppet you're making. For example if you're making a tiger or zebra, cut out stripes. For a leopard or cheetah, make spots. Don't forget to coordinate the colors of your felt to the colors of your socks! You'll want to cut a small strip out too for the tongue (if your puppet has one), so you may wish to consider using red felt for that. Be sure you have adult supervision whenever using scissors or sharp objects of any kind!
Now it's time to glue the pieces of material to your sock. Put the sock on your hand first so you can get a good feel for where your puppet's eyes and tongue go. This will also help you visualize the look of your finished puppet in terms of positioning for stripes, spots, or other shapes you have cut out. A word of caution: This step could get a little messy! Make sure you have your newspapers spread out over your working surface and be sure to wear a smock or clothing that you won't care about if it gets glue on it.
You'll want to use enough glue to be sure the felt doesn't come off, but do NOT over saturate the material; that will not help it stick better (in fact
it will do the exact opposite) and it will create a bigger, stickier, messier you. Place your materials onto your sock very carefully; once it's on you won't be able to move it around too successfully! You can use buttons for the eyes, if you wish.
Markers: After you have given the glue a few minutes to dry, you can create more patterns and designs on your puppet with your markers. We reccomend using indelible ink, but bear in mind again the need to be precise because indelible means it won't wash off - either from your puppet, or from your clothing if you're not careful! You might want to draw extra spots, or a nose, or even lips around the mouth of your puppet - whatever you like, it's up to you! Remember though that a dark marker on dark material won't do much to enhance your puppet
Now take the yarn, and cut it into pieces. You'll find that a uniform size will work best, for example one to three inches long depending on what you want it for. Brush a little bit of glue onto the ends of the yarn; you may find you have more success with this step if you hold the yarn in small bunches lined up together. This step can be tricky, but it is also quite optional. The yarn can be placed to make hair, or a beard, or even a mane; it can be a lovely added touch to a lion or giraffe for example, or it can even double as eyebrows if you wish! Note: although this stage is not intrinsically dangerous, the potential for mess alone dictates close adult participation.
When you have finished, put the puppet on your arm again. Practice making swirly movements as if you were swimming or dancing, and open and close your hands to make it's mouth move. When you get good at it you'll even be able to make it seem like your puppet is talking, laughing, crying, or shouting...just with it's mouth! Have it appear slowly from around the corner of a box to make it seem as if it is cautiously entering a room...you are only as limited as your imagination!
One last thing before you put on your puppet show: Don't forget to clean up!