Project 16: How to make puppets
Swimming Fish Finger Puppets
Time: 45 minutes maximum
Difficulty: A little bit of blanket stitching involved. Neatness vs speed is up to you!
For project number 16, I wanted to make something inspired by a fish so I thought I’d show you how to make puppets like I did many years ago in my kindy. My dad is a photographer whose main passion and focus is Australian freshwater rainbow fish. When Ned goes to visit, they spend quite a bit of time down in my dad’s big shed filled with fish tanks and all the different creatures who reside in them. (Turtles, lung fish, geckos, lizards, and the occasional snake…) Ned is fascinated by fish and crocodiles at the moment so a swimming fish puppet that sits on his finger solves my problem. I’m currently fascinated by spots and dots so a spotty pink fish is simply perfect for both of us.
1. Firstly, you need to cut out your fish templates. I created two. The pink one has a double tail fin, two swimming fins, and is slightly bigger in size and curvier than the blue one below.
2. The blue fish has a single tail fin. Note that the swimming fins (cut from white felt for both fish) are actually stitched on to the outside of the fish and do not sit inside the body template as shown.
3. Pin your pattern together with the tail fin and the dorsal fin on top of the fish placed within the template, then blanket stitch around the fish, starting at about midway along the bottom. You’ll need to do a straight stitch through the felt when you come to the fins. Work your way around the entire border as shown.
4. Remember to stop before sewing it up and leave a space for a finger. The puppet’s finger hole must sit slightly towards the back of the fish to ensure the fish remains balanced when held up on a child’s finger.
5. Use straight stitch to hem the swimming fins in place, first one side, then the other. I put my finger inside the fish to ensure the thread did not go through to the other side. We don’t want the two pieces of felt to join. When your stitching is complete, put a little bit of wool fleece or cotton wool stuffing into the front and rear of the fish body. Leave space for the finger.
6. Add a round circle of felt and stitch a bead on top of this for the eye. Repeat on both sides.
7. Embellish as you like. I glued coloured spots onto my fish’s body only. But your child’s fish might like a bit more razzle and dazzle. Sequins too!
8. Here’s the one in blue. I am quite partial to his bunting-style tail fin! Are you?
How will you decorate your fishy friend?