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overview

bring your crafty bits to life in this diy marionette project!

a marionette is a puppet that is controlled from above with wires or strings. the controller is called a marionettist (that’s you!) and is sometimes hidden behind a miniature theater, or at times fully visible.

marionettes have a special way of replicating reality. the more joints and strings they have, the more realistic their movements are. animate, create, use lots of color (and funny voices) to invent your very own dancing puppet! 

1 hour

maker checklist

  • cardboard tube (or pool noodle slice)
  • crafty bits
  • paper straws
  • beads
  • cotton cord or beading string
  • scissors
  • hot glue gun
  • craft sticks or chopsticks
  • pipe cleaners
  • ping pong ball
  • googly eyes
  • embroidery thread

instructions

make the control and the body

1

make an X out of a set of chopsticks or craft sticks, and twist a pipe cleaner around the center to secure.

2

tie one end of a 2-1/2-foot length of beading cord to the pool-noodle disc. this will be used to control the body.

3

tie a 6-foot length of beading cord to (and through) the pool-noodle disc so that equal lengths (3-foot) hang down on either side. these will be used to control the legs.

build the neck and head

1

cut an 8-inch piece of craft wire and loop one end through a pom-pom – the head! – bend to secure. 

2

tie a 2-foot long piece of elastic string to a pony bead and string it onto the wire underneath the pom-pom. this will be the head string.

3

add more beads to the wire to complete the neck.

attach the head to the body

1

pierce the pool noodle with the wire, close to the knot of the longer string.

2

guide the wire through the body and out the other end to create a neck and a tail for the marionette.

3

string on pom-poms, straw pieces, or beads to the tail and bend the end of the wire to secure.

add the legs and feet

1

build legs by stringing the 2 cords that hang below the body with crafty bits like pony beads, straws cut to short lengths, and mini wooden spools.

2

make two holes in two bottle caps. these are the feet. 

3

take a bottle cap and a leg string and guide the string through one hole on the cap, and out the other.

4

pull the string tight and attach a glass cabochon, using foam tape or hot glue, to the inside of the bottle cap. the tape and cabochon both secure the string and weigh down the marionette legs. proper feet! add more if needed; we attached two under each foot!

string your marionette

1

hold the control in one hand, parallel to the ground. with your other hand, lift the head string, choose where you want the head to hang, and wrap the string around one control end. tie to secure.

2

 lift the body string, choose where you want the body to hang, and wrap and tie the string around the opposite end of the control.

3

lift and tie the leg strings to the remaining ends of the control. they will be opposite each other. 

tip!

tie these strings so that the legs are slightly bent at the knees. the feet should be lifted a tiny bit for easier movement control.

4

secure the four knots on the control with a dab of hot glue and cut off the string ends.

5

 decorate your marionette by making a face, hair, and maybe even some toes!

bring it to life!

1

animate your marionette by holding the control parallel to the ground so the feet of the marionette are just lightly touching a surface. move your hand forward with the control still parallel to the ground. as you do, tilt the leg control from side to side. walk, jump and have a dance party!