Marionnette Puppets – Big Fluffy Birds

Marionnette hanging on a prop the girls made for the parade

My girl scout junior troop was in a Christmas Parade this year.  The theme we had to work with was Christmas Around the World. After some extensive research we decided to represent France, since we had berets from the Cultural Fair.  One tradition we kept reading about was the popularity of puppets and puppet shows for Christmas.

Completed String Puppets all lined up and ready for the Christmas parade. Each girl choose the color to make her own bird puppet.

We settled on walking with puppets, but when we priced out how much large ones would cost the troop, it was more than our budget could handle.  That meant we had to make them ourselves.  My troop has some very artistic girls that love to craft, so I thought they would be up for the challenge.  I came up with this design after examining a store bought furry puppet my husband purchased many years ago.  From start to finish I can make one of these myself in about 30 minutes.  However, when I taught my Junior troop girls, 4th graders, it took more than 1 hour to do everything but the wiring, which I did for them due to the difficultly of balancing it all out.  Our sister troop of Cadettes, 7th graders, were able to do the entire project, but it took a little more than 2 hours to complete each one.

Marionnette String Puppet – White Bird

Needed Materials:

  • 1 fluffy Turkey Feather Boa – approximately 5 feet in lenghth
  • 1 Maribu Boa – approximately 5 feet in lenghth
  • 1/2  bag of Florist u shaped pins/ fasteners
  • 2 Extra Large Googly eyes
  • 1/2 sheet of yellow Craft foam
  • 3 styrofoam balls – 3 or 4 inch diameter
  • 2 washers – about the size of a quarter in diameter.
  • 5 small Hot glue sticks or 2 large sticks
  • Hot glue gun
  • Heavy duty fishing line (40 or 50lb) appoximately 10 feet or a little more.
  • 2 thin flat wooden pieces (can substitute wooden rulers or paint stir sticks.)
  • 4 clips that can fasten on to the wooden pieces.

Some of the materials needed to make the string puppet

To assemble:

  1. cut 2 shapes out to form the beak, and form into a cone.
  2. Glue beak on ball #1
  3. Hot glue Turkey feather Boa around the beak and ball where they meet.
  4. Continue to cover ball with feather boa
  5. Pin part of boa to fasten it as neck meeting the head
  6. Leave 10 inches between ball #1 and and Ball #2, then glue and pin bottom of “neck” to ball #2
  7. glue remaining boa around ball #2
  8. cut maribu boa in 4 equal pieces
  9. glue and pin two maribu pieces for legs on either side of ball #2
  10. cut remaining ball #3 in two halves
  11. glue 1 piece of maribu on each half of ball #3
  12. pin and glue each maribu leg to back side maribu covered ball feet
  13. glue washer on bottom of feet
  14. glue two wooden pieces in a cross shape like a small letter “t”
  15. attach the clips to each end of the wooden “t”
  16. attach 1 piece of fishing line to each clip
  17. tie other end of each piece of fishing line to a florist pin
  18. insert and glue pins in 4 points on the puppet: one centered on the top of each foot, one in head, one in tail.

The clips that connect the strings to the T are to make it a quick release to fix any tangles in the String Puppet

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