Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Convert a stuffed animal into a puppet!

I LOVE puppets. I always have. But if you want to get a COOL puppet, you have to spend $30-$40. Me? Well I'm the queen of cheap. I can't spend $40 on a toy for me, cause I kind of like it. So I had an idea. How about I convert a stuffed animal into a puppet! And guess what, I just so happen to HAVE a stuffed animal up in my Mom's attic that would work PERFECTLY. Nice dangley arms that I could attach a rod to. 

So First acquire a stuffed animal with good puppet qualities. Size matters. My frogs mouth is not very deep, so it's not as easy for an adult to move the mouth. So anyway, here's my frog:


Cute huh. Get your seam ripper, and rip out the mouth seam

 Now pull out some of the stuffing. Enough to you can see the full shape of the inside of the mouth.
 Make a pattern of the mouth piece by tracing the upper and lower lip on a piece of paper
 I folded the paper in half...
 So when I was done I had a nice little pattern piece like this:

 Now take your seam ripper to the bottom seem. I forgot to take a pic of this step, but I was lucky, the frog had a seam going right up the middle. Made it easy.  Now take out enough stuffing to put your hand through.
Next step is to make the sleeve that will go up inside as well as the mouth, so measure the length you will need to go up the center, curve over your hand and attach to the mouth. I needed about 17 inches.
 I had to go an complicate things, cause sometimes I forget I can make things simple. I didn't want the fabric to get all bunched up under my hand, so I made the top long enough to cover, and the bottom shorter. But It would work just as well to make a simple tube. Also cut out the mouth piece (don't forget the seam allowance)
Curve the top of the sleeve to fit the mouth piece.
 *NOTE* This is the part where you will need to cut of the plastic for the mouth and sew it in. I didn't think about it till later and had to MaGuyver it till it worked. Cut out 2 mouth pieces, and get a plastic container like ice cream bucket, or cool whip container and cut out a top mouth piece and a bottom piece. tack it down and sew the two piece of fabric around it to enclose the plastic. (You will see what I mean with the plastic later...and if not, leave me a comment and I can help you with it)

Next pin and sew.
 I have the top pinned and the sides
 Now I have the bottom of the mouth as well
 this is the excess fabric on the top, remember mine is longer. Well I made this little pleat thing right at the top. it will end up being the back of the mouth.
 Now it is all sewn up. nothing special, just sew where you pinned.
 See, the bare sleeve. Now you stuff it through the animal.
 Center it and pin the mouth. JUST the mouth right now.

 This required some hand sewing...
 Now I realized that the mouth wont keep shape on it's own and figured out the plastic thing. I cut the shapes and shoved them up and got them in place one at a time and hand to tack them in with a needle and thread. ...that was tricky.
Now that you have the mouth  in place you might have to take out some more stuffing to get it right. Once you get it how you like it sew up the bottom the same way you did the mouth. 
 And there you have it. A home-converted PUPPET! The kids LOVE him! AND he is still fluffy enough to work as a stuffed animal.

 Frog-$0
Fabric-$3 (found a ton of black fleece at the thrift store, and the sleeve only took a scrap of that)
ENDLESS FUN!


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