3 Essential Puppet Building Materials

Puppets are versatile creations. They can be either toys or tools, there are many different options for manipulating them, and puppets can be as simple or elaborate as you want them to be. However, certain materials are practically essential if you want a really professional-looking puppet.

1. Body Materials

One of the most fundamental decisions to make when building a puppet is whether you want the body to be hard or soft. For a soft-bodied puppet, most builders use foam rubber or a similar material. However, if you want a hard-bodied puppet, you can sculpt it out of a material such as plastic or wood.

2. Facial Materials

A puppet is like a little actor that sits on your hand, and the face can convey a lot of emotion. Faces can be simple or detailed, but most consist of two eyes and a mouth at baseline. Simple materials such as buttons or ping-pong balls work for eyes but should be focused to look at the audience. The mouth plate forms the upper and lower jaws of the puppet. A rigid mouth plate can be made of plywood or plastic. A flexible mouth plate can make the puppet more expressive and can be made of gasket rubber.

Additional features can give your puppet more personality. For example, colored ostrich feathers are popular for use as hair because the strands move so beautifully with the slightest movement or air current.

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3. Skin Materials

You may opt not to give your puppet any skin if you like the look of the bare foam or whatever material you use for the body. If you do choose to give your puppet skin, the most popular material is fleece. Keep in mind that fleece is sturdier than foam, so if you make a foam puppet and cover it with fleece, the inside of the puppet may break down before the outside does.