Marionettes have been the exciting new thing around here lately! Jon made some with his cubscouts and I made one with the kids. With very few exceptions, it is hard to find patterns or instructions for marionettes online (a notable exception is School of Puppetry). The instructions we did come across were often too complicated or not cool enough for what we wanted. I decided to post what we ended up doing, in case anyone else would like to use the idea.
All of these supplies were available at our Hobby Lobby. One bag of everything should make 8 marionettes. If you have to purchase the little needle nosed pliers and wire cutters (which we did) you will spend about $25 to make the 8 marionettes.
You will also need a drill with a very small bit (sorry, no picture!).
1- Drill very small holes into the body for the screw eyes at the shoulders, hips, and top of the head.
2 - Screw the screw eyes into those five holes.
3- Assemble each arm and leg. This part is fun for toddlers to help with. For each limb, first thread a bead (to represent a hand or foot) onto the eye pin so the bead rests on the eye. Then thread a spool onto the same eye pin. Next, pass the end of the eye pin into the eye of another eye pin. Use the wire cutters to trim the eye pin and the needle nosed pliers to twist the first eye pin closed.
To finish the limb, pass another spool onto the second eye pin.
4 - Secure each limb to the screw eyes with the needle nosed pliers.
5 - Attach string to the elbows and knee joints. Be careful when tying your knots so that the string does not impede your marionette's motion. Alternatively, you could use fishing line--it would drag less.
6 - Cut the dowels in half so they are only six inches long and tie them together with string. Tie the string on the marionette to the dowels. Attaching a string to the head will give your marionette's arms more motion. A head string should be tied to the middle of the dowel "cross."
Ta Da!! Fun, easy, cool marionette in under an hour. We let Kaia decorate ours. She named him "Ducko!" I also think it would be fun to dress him up for the holidays...maybe a scarecrow for Halloween or an elf for Christmas!