A Puppet Tutorial for Children: Bird, Butterfly & Ladybird, too

The materials for these puppets are very basic, and if you don't have these items lying around the house, you should easily be able to purchase them at a local shop.  Feel free to copy the shapes I've used and have your children decorate them, come up with your own designs, or better yet, have your children draw bird, butterfly and ladybug shapes which can then be turned into puppets.  You will notice below that my resident nine-year-old was not the least bit interested in making puppets (he was too busy reading the graphic novel version of The Amulet of Samarkand); however, once I finished creating the puppets, he was quite interested in playing with them!
Colorful Craft Paper or white Card-stock (which can be decorated)White Craft Glue
A Glue-Stick
Clear Sticky-Tape
Colored Marking Pens, crayons, glitter, etc...
Long Bamboo Skewers (for making Rod-Puppets)
Popsicle Sticks (if you are planning to make marionettes)
Needle and Thread (for making marionettes)

To start off, I used white-glue to attach two popsicle-sticks into a 'T' shape.  While the glue was drying, I cut out bird-shaped silhouettes and some simple shapes for wings.  To prepare the wings for gluing, I made small folds along edges where the wings will be attached to the birds (see photo above.)

Next, I glued the wings onto the bird-silhouettes and allowed the glue to dry for a few minutes (if your children are impatient, you can always use sticky-tape to attach the wings.)  Once the wings were firmly attached, I threaded a needle, poked it through the top of the head, tied a knot and then repeated the process farther down the back of the bird.  (Note: For maneuverability and stability it is important to suspend your marionette from two points. Suspending these small puppets from the head and farther down along the back works very well. Another option is to suspend them from a point on each of the wings, however they will be more difficult to balance and will tend to wobble either beak-down or tail-down.)

After I had attached thread to the bird at two points (the head and the back), I tied the other ends of the threads to a popsicle-stick 'T.'  The little bird was now ready for it's first flight!

To turn the other little bird into a rod-puppet, I used a bit of sticky-tape to attach it to the top of a bamboo skewer.  Now this little bird was ready for flight, too!

To create a ladybird rod-puppet, I cut a body and head from black paper and a set of wings from red paper (though, one shape could just as easily have been cut from one piece of paper -- the head would then be colored with the same black marking pen used to make the dots on the wings.)

I used a glue-stick to attach the wings to the head/body and then used sticky-tape to affix my ladybird to a bamboo-skewer... Done!

To make a butterfly puppet I cut wings from bright paper and a body from black.  Then I glued the body to the wings, used tape to attach a bamboo-skewer and, voila!  I had also intended to create a butterfly marionette, but more pressing matters took precedence. It was not time fuss with a few more bits of string -- it was time to play!


  1. Love these, must make for bub : ) Thanks

  2. Oh, you brilliant thing! Clever as ever. I haven't been here for a while, and I'm very sorry for it. Life has been intense. But I think of you -


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