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I met Autumn through her Shoeboxes All Year Long page on Facebook. She focuses her charity work for Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts and shares her shopping tips and crafts on her page. She designed these cuddly hand puppets and agreed to share her Tutorial and Patterns with us!
Autumn found fleece on sale and designed her first-hand puppet – a pink pig. It was so adorable and fun – she couldn’t stop! She ended up designing EIGHT different varieties based on the same basic pattern!
Autumn’s Hand Puppets TUTORIAL:
To begin: Download and print out the patterns for the Hand Puppets (found at the end of this post). Fleece (like THIS pink one from Amazon) is a wonderful material to work with. It is very forgiving, sews easily, doesn’t fray, and is very stretchy and flexible.
The main puppet body is larger than an 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet, so you will have to print, cut out and tape it together. I recommend making cardboard patterns if you plan to make multiples.
The puppet begins with the same body – simply change the color of the fleece, the shape of the ears or enlarge the nose and you have a different animal. I would love to see your finished products and any new critters you come up with! If you are new to sewing or want to mass produce I recommend starting with the duck since he doesn’t have ears.
Follow These Steps:
1) Trace the pattern onto the fleece. Cut two bodies and whichever accessory you want for your puppet.
2) Stitch ears right sides together if your puppet has them. Turn and lightly stuff (with batting or scrap fleece) if desired.
3) If the animal has a “snout” I zigzag stitched the snout pieces together and straight stitched the nostril lines.
4) Sew or appliqué face (and/or snout) pieces to the right side of the front of the puppet body. (add the white body front if you are making the penguin.)
5) Attach the eyes or embroider eyes. (I hand sewed buttons as the eyes. If the buttons are too thick this may have to be done after assembly. You could also use sequins, or markers and fabric paint instead for your puppet design.)
6) Take both body pieces and place them right sides together sandwiching the ears between the layers. (If they have ears.) Pinning the ears is recommended as they tend to shift. Baste the head together and turn to check ears are positioned properly (I didn’t figure this out for several puppets and fleece is difficult to rip the seams).
7) Stitch around the edge of the puppet.
8) Roll bottom edge up 1/4-1/2 inch and stitch for a finished edge on the bottom of the puppet. This can be a bit tricky. You could also use a pinking sheer instead, or cut very neatly – remember fleece doesn’t fray!
9) Snip corners where the arm and head meet.
10) Turn puppet right side out and smile at your cute creation! Think how happy the child will be who receives it will be!
SPECIAL NOTES for making these HAND PUPPETS:
For the DUCK: Stitch the duckbill like an ear, turning and lightly stuffing it. Zigzag stitch it to the face with the beak pointing up toward the top of the head. Push the beak down and stitch a couple of times at the corner of the beak and this helps it lay properly.
For the BUNNY: Ears are pinched/folded at the base of the ear. I folded the rabbit ears where I wanted them and sewed them across the bottom before I attached them to the head. The rabbit ears have one pink side and one body-colored side. He has a pompom tail glued to the back (let dry overnight and use Elmer’s glue, not super glue).
For the DOG: The tooth gets tucked under the muzzle for a rabbit.
For the FROG: Place the frog eyes on top of the rounded head and cut out as part of the body. All other accessory pieces cut 1 each and appliqué to face.
For the OWL: Place owl head over the rounded head and cut out as a complete body piece.
CLICK THE FILES BELOW – and save the patterns for the HAND PUPPETS to your computer.
(These downloads are pdf. files that you can print.)
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