a month of puppets
special announcement intermission

puppets on a stick

butterfly on a stick

The stick puppet is one of the most simple to make. Even the very young can make their own variations of stick puppets by decorating (with paint, markers, or collage) a card stock or cardboard shape that an adult has cut out. A slightly older child can cut out her own shape. As for the stick? My butterfly is sporting a Chinese take-out chopstick. Other options might include taping a drinking straw or pencil to the back of the puppet.

One of the (many) reasons I've become so enamored with puppets is that they are a high-quality educational toy that can be fashioned entirely from found objects, recycled material, and common household items.  Here's how I made this papier mache butterfly puppet:

butterfly puppet cardboard base

Draw a shape onto a piece of cardboard and cut it out. Cover the cardboard entirely in aluminum foil (used foil works fine!) Attach a stick to one side with masking tape.

Prepare your papier mache paste. I use 1 part white flour to 2 parts warm water, which should form a consistency like thick glue. Add more water or flour if needed, and mix to remove the lumps.

Tear newspaper into small strips (the smaller the better for working with figures that have curved edges, such as this one.) Dip each strip into the paste, run it between your index and middle fingers to remove the excess, and place it on the figure. Cover the figure evenly, forming "x"s with the strips, which will give it more tensile strength. Add 4-6 more layers (being sure to let it dry a bit between each layer.)

butterfly on a stick receives a coat of white paint

Let the puppet dry completely for one or two days. Use some sandpaper to smooth out the rough edges, then cover it entirely in a coat of white paint (acrylics or temperas work fine.)

Once the base layer has dried, bring out the rest of the colors and let your imagination take flight! Once dry, cover with a coat of Mod Podge.

Happy puppeteering!