Marionettes or string puppets were popular in Myanmar, known then as Burma as early as the 15th century. At that time, marionettes were more than just entertainment; messengers would use them to convey unpleasant news to divert aggression from the listeners. Alternatively, the king could reproach members of his family without embarrassing anyone directly. Marionettes are distinctive from other varieties of puppets in that their heads, torsos and limbs all move as a result of attached strings that puppeteer manipulates. You don't need to be a master craftsman to create your own, small string puppet.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- 2 small paper bags
- 2 sheets of newspaper
- Construction paper
- Card stock
- 2 Popsicle sticks
- Poster paint
Crumple up two sheets of newspaper separately and stuff each one into a paper bag. Gather each paper bag around the clump of newspaper and tie a piece of string tightly around the neck of each bag. Trim away excess amount of bag so that only an inch of paper bag peeks out on the other side of the string.
Position the two paper bags in front of you so that one acts as the head and the other as the body. Wrap a long pieces of tape around the necks of the paper bags to connect them together.
Cut four strips of construction paper that are 12 inches long and 1 inch wide. Fold each strip using an accordion fold, making each crease 1 inch apart. These strips will act as the arms and legs. Tape two strips to the bottom of the body and one strip on the right and left side of the top of the body.
Cut hands and feet out of card stock. You don't have to make perfectly shaped hands and feet; the shapes that you cut out should just resemble these things. For example, you can just cut out small mitten shapes for the hands and small ovals for the feet. Attach one hand to the far end of each arm. Attach each foot to the far end of each leg. Use tape or glue.
Assess the length of space from the top of the body to the head. Cut a length of string that is four times this length. Tape one end of this string to one of the puppet's "wrists." Tape the other end of this string to the other of the puppet's "wrists." Tape a Popsicle stick to the middle of this piece of string. You can now manipulate the arms depending on how you hold and move the stick.
Cut another length of string that is half as long as the first string you cut. Tape or glue it securely to the very top of the puppet's head. Wrap the other end of the string around a Popsicle stick and tape it in place.
Paint a face and clothes on your puppet in any way that you desire. You can add yarn for hair or even bits of felt to act as clothes.
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