Making a Marionette out of a
marionette is a very elegant puppet that
can walk, sit, crawl, and even fly. You
can make a simple one in probably less
than 45 minutes, or you can get
"fancy" and add details and
decorations. Start with the simple one
and see how you like it!
YOU WILL NEED:
scarf, the big, silky kind works best.
(If you don't have a scarf you can cut a
square of slinky, silky type fabric,
about 1 yard (or 1 meter) square.
triangle piece of stiff cardboard, about
8-12 inches on a side
wooden beads with holes big enough to
pull the corners of the scarf through.
One inch diameter beads are good.
(like kite string) or thread, to string
(Optional, to sew the thread onto the
puppet...if you don't want to sew, you
can just tie the thread on...it will work
just as well.)
the scarf and find the center of the top
edge of the scarf (point "A" in
the drawing below.) HINT:
To find center-point A easily, you can
measure with a ruler, or just fold in
half with the two top corners together;
the fold will be right in the center!
the cloth at point A, and pinch it
together so you can push it through the
hole in one of the wooden beads (this
will be the head, so if you have a bigger
bead you can use it here if you wish, but
any size will do.) Tie a simple overhand
knot in the fabric above the bead so the
bead will not slip off of the scarf. (see
the next drawing, below.)
you can tie your first string or thread
to the knot above the wooden bead. This
will be your head string for your puppet.
HINT: Make the head
string about 3 feet long for now, you can
always shorten it later.
are ready to put beads with knots on all
four corners of the scarf, like in the
you can tie on strings to each hand like
you did on the head (but don't tie them
on the feet. You won't need them there.
your scarf marionette is ready for the
controller. Take your triangle of
cardboard and cut a small slit in each
corner. Slide the string into the slits
as shown in the drawing below. The head
string should go in the center corner of
the triangle that faces back (towards the
back of the puppet.) The slits should
hold the string but allow you to adjust
the length of the strings until you have
them just the way you like them.
your controller strings: The cardboard
triangle should be more or less parallel
to the floor when you work your puppet.
You should adjust the length of the
strings by sliding them up or down in the
slits in the cardboard until you can hold
the cardboard triangle controller at a
comfortable height when your puppets feet
are on the floor. Adjust the head string
length first, and then adjust the arm
strings so they are of equal length to
each other. Practice a bit with your
puppet before attaching the strings
permanently (wrap the strings a few times
through the slits when you like the
length and then tape them so they won't
come out--that way if your strings get
tangled, you can undo them from the
cardboard easily to untangle them.)
WITH YOUR PUPPET
your are ready to make your puppet walk!
"Wait!" you say. "How can
I make my puppet walk when there are no
strings to control it's legs?" I am
glad you asked that question, because the
answer is very easy. Are you holding your
puppet with the triangle parallel to the
ground? Is the point attached to the head
pointing back? Good. Now, I want you to
tip the controller to the side so that
the left arm raises up in the air. Did
you notice that the left leg lifted up
too? (If it didn't, try adjusting the
length of the arm strings so that it
will.) With the leg lifted up, move the
puppet slightly forward, then lower the
left arm and leg and lift the right. Move
the puppet slightly forward again. This
is how you walk your puppet, moving it
forward while you rock it back and forth.
movement with your puppet: There are so
many things you can do with your puppet
that you can discover on your own, but
these few hints might help get you
started. Make your puppet
"walk" with its hands on the
floor; now it is crawling! Now, imagine
where your puppet's bottom is. Hold your
foot out and make the puppet back up to
your foot and sit its bottom down on your
foot. Pretty good! And now for the
fantastic part (don't try this yourself!)
Swing your puppet gently through the air;
puppet is just great the way it is, but
if you want to decorate it or put a face
(or hands) on it you can. Remember not to
glue or sew too much to the scarf. You
don't want it to get too stiff or heavy.
Part of the charm of these puppets is
their light elegance and flowing
HINT: When you go to
store your puppet, you can store it
hanging from the controller to keep it
from getting tangled, or you can
carefully wrap the string around the
controller, then carefully unwrap it when
you are ready to use it again.
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