Monday, January 13, 2014

Fairy Finger Puppets

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While trapped in my house for two days this week, in sub-zero Chicago, I decided to make some finger puppets. With our car fuel line frozen and no way of going to my beloved craft store, I had to work only with materials at hand.  I always thought it would be effective to use a large wooden bead as the head on a finger puppet. Since I had no large beads I wound up using a ball left over from my Ping Pong Ball Thanksgiving Turkey project.  It turns out a ping pong ball makes a perfect head for a little puppet.

  • Ping Pong balls
  • Acrylic craft paint for ping ball ball. I used a "sandstone" color for the flash color.
  • Small paintbrush
  • Paint or markers for mouth, eyes and nose
  • Small scissors. Nail scissors work well.
  • Yarn or embroidery floss for hair
  • Craft glue
  • Fabric
  • Tooth pick
  • Confetti or star sticker for wand
  • White felt for wings
  • Gauzy fabric for wings
  • Needle and thread
  • Optional accessories like beads for headband, necklaces, trim on dress 
  1. Hold the ping pong ball so that the indentation is where the jawline of your face will be. This way it will not show when you add the hair. Poke a hole where the neck will be using something like a knitting needle or nail.
  2. Use tiny, sharp scissors to cut away a neck hole. Make it large enough for a finger to fit inside.
  3. Paint the ping pong ball the skin color of your choosing and let it dry.
  4. Add facial features to your head. I used white paint to make the eyes and permanent markers for the lips, nose, eyebrows and pupils.
  5. Assemble your hair. Lay a long piece of yarn down on a newspaper and put glue all over it. Then cut your hair pieces (longer than you need them to be) and glue them along the center of the main piece.
  6. After the glue is dry you can attach your hair to the top of the ping pong ball. Wait to give your puppet a final haircut until she is all assembled and you can see what length will look best. 
  7. I sketched out a simple wing shape and cut out 2 felt wings and 2 gauzy pieces to go over the felt. Glue them together.
  8. I made a simple dress template that is around 3 inches high and 2 inches wide at the bottom. You want the neck to be long so you can stuff the fabric inside the ping pong ball hole and hold the puppet together.
  9. Pin the template to some fabric and cut out two pieces. If you are using felt and hand stitching you can cut it out along the line of the pattern. Otherwise give yourself 1/4 inch around extra for seam allowance.
  10. Sew the dress pieces together with the front sides pinned together. When you sew you will sew down the neck, down both arms, and down the side. You will leave the bottom, head and sleeves open so that you can add hands later.
  11. Reverse the dress and cut out some little felt hands. Sew them into the sleeves.
  12. Apply glue to the inside rim of the ping pong ball and stuff the neck of the dress into the head using your finger like you will when it is a puppet.
  13. Sew the wings onto the back of the puppet.
  14. Make a wand. I used a toothpick painted gold and some star confetti I had left over from a party. You could also cut out a star from tinfoil or use those star stickers they sell at office stores. The star seems to have fallen off the wand in our photos so you also could just have a plain stick.
  15. Glue the wand into the hand.

Here the fairy joins some of her pirate friends.

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