How to Make an Animal Marionette

Written by leah newman
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How to Make an Animal Marionette
Plastic cups can be parlayed into a great animal marionette. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

With a little help from Mom or Dad, children can easily make their own animal marionettes from household items. This simple project can be decorated and made into almost any four-legged animal; it makes a great wolf, horse, cat or dog. Controlled by six strings attached to craft sticks, the lightweight animal is also easy to control with one hand, making it great for one-child puppet shows where more than one puppet is used.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 1 large plastic cup
  • 1 medium plastic cup
  • 8-12 small plastic cups
  • Embroidery thread
  • Three craft sticks
  • Needle or other sharp utensil
  • Glue

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  1. 1

    Make a hole near the top and bottom of one side of the large cup where you will connect the head and control the body. Knot two strings and run them through the two holes in the cup, leaving the knots inside the cup. Rotate the cup half a turn and make two holes near the top and two holes near the bottom, approximately three inches apart. This is where the legs will go.

  2. 2

    Poke a hole near the top of the medium cup. Rotate half a turn and poke another hole near the top. Run the string from the bottom of the large cup through both holes in the medium cup. This connects the head of the marionette to the body.

  3. 3

    Run a string through both of the empty bottom holes of the large cup. Make a hole in the centre of the bottom of two of the small cups. Run this string through the bottom of one small cup on each side, and push the cups up the string toward the large cup. Knot the string inside the small cup. Add one to two more cups to this until you reach your desired leg length for your puppet. Repeat the process for the back legs.

  4. 4

    Use wood glue or hot glue to attach the three craft sticks in the shape of an "H." Wrap the string from the top of the large cup -- the rear of the puppet -- around one end of the centre stick. Secure with a knot. Attach the string coming from the body and through the head to the other end of the centre stick.

  5. 5

    Poke holes in the outside of each of the bottom small cups, and knot a string inside. Run this string up to the corresponding arm of the stick controller, and wrap it several times. Secure with a knot.

  6. 6

    Allow the child to decorate the animal with construction paper, markers, paint or other craft supplies.

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