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How to Make a Marionette Costume

Updated February 21, 2017

A marionette costume is a great way to reuse an old costume as it requires no sewing. Any character can be made into a marionette. For example, if you have a king costume you can be a king marionette or if you have a bear costume you can be a bear marionette. The most traditional marionette would be a child wearing a traditional European folk costume: a girl could wear a short dress, apron and pigtails, while a boy could wear shorts, an open collar shirt and suspenders made of embroidered ribbon.

Drill holes 1 inch from each end and in the centre of each yardstick. The diameter of the holes should be slightly larger than the diameter of your string. Knot the end of a 24-inch long piece of cord and run it through the centre holes on both yardsticks. Tie another knot on the other side of the yardsticks to hold them together.

Cut four 30-inch pieces of cord and thread them through the other holes, tying a knot in both ends of these cords. This is your marionette crossbar. You may glue the yardsticks together at a right angle to each other, but it will be easier to handle if you don't.

Add freckles and round, rosy cheeks to your face with the eyeliner and rouge. Draw hinges and pins on your elbows and knees by drawing a curve around the top and a large dot on each side of your joint.

Use round bandages to attach the knotted ends of the longer puppet strings to your elbows and knees. If you are going to be very active, you can tie the strings on. If you are wearing trousers or long sleeves, sew or pin the strings onto them.

Attach the centre string to your back with a safety pin or to the top of your head with a hair clip.

Tip

For a quick costume you can attach the strings to the yard sticks with masking or duct tape. Paint the yardsticks a solid colour before you begin.

Warning

Children should always be supervised when using power tools.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 wooden yard sticks
  • Drill
  • Thin nylon cord
  • Round adhesive bandages
  • Black eyeliner pencil
  • Rouge
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About the Author

Camela Bryan's first published article appeared in "Welcome Home" magazine in 1993. She wrote and published SAT preparation worksheets and is also a professional seamstress who has worked for a children's theater as a costume designer and in her own heirloom-sewing business. Bryan has a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Florida.