How to Make Your Own Muppet-Style Puppet

A Muppet is a combination marionette and hand puppet developed by Jim Henson and Don Sahlin. Their construction is a combination of sculpted foam rubber, fleece or fake fur "skin", armature wire, metal rods and more. While it may seem like a daunting task, you can make your own Muppet-style puppet.

How to Make Your Own Muppet-Style Puppet (Image: Sarah Zoraya/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Block or Sphere of Foam or Styrofoam

  • X-Acto Knife

  • Stretchy Fleece (skin)

  • Glue Gun or Spray Adhesive

  • Needle and Thread

  • Metal Rods

  • Cardboard

How to Make Your Own Muppet-Style Puppet

Step 1

Step 1 (Image: Sarah Zoraya/Demand Media)

Use an X-Acto knife or any other sharp knife to carve the foam sphere or block into your character's head shape. Also use the knife to carve indentations where the character's eyes or nose might be placed. Cut out a space on the bottom of the head for the jaw.

Step 2

Step 2 (Image: Sarah Zoraya/Demand Media)

Cut a piece of "skin" (Muppet makers use "stretchy fleece") that will be big enough to cover the character head. Use a glue gun or spray adhesive to flue the skin to the face. Make sure that the skin adheres closely and evenly to the eye sockets and snout.

Step 3

Step 3 (Image: Sarah Zoraya/Demand Media)

Be creative. Go to a novelty store, a fabric store, a bead store, etc. Attach the eyes and other features to the face with hot glue.

Step 4

Step 4 (Image: Sarah Zoraya/Demand Media)

Cut a "jaw" out of cardboard and glue "skin" onto the piece. You could also add black and red felt to the jaw, creating a mouth and tongue. Glue the "jaw" to the head.

How to Make Your Own Muppet-Style Puppet

Step 1

Step 5 (Image: Sarah Zoraya/Demand Media)

Add more "skin" to the bottom of the "jaw", creating a "neck." Glue a shirt or blouse to the neck. This will be the start of the character's "body."

Step 2

Step 6 (Image: Sarah Zoraya/Demand Media)

Stuff the shirt or blouse with extra foam, newspaper, or anything else to give the "body" bulk. At this stage of design, your Muppet has become a glorified sock puppet.

Step 3

Step 7 (Image: Sarah Zoraya/Demand Media)

Make an "arm" by tracing your hand and forearm on a piece of "Muppet skin." Cut around the outline; then make an identical piece. Take needle and thread and sew the edges of the two pieces together to form the arm. Stuff the arm with extra foam or any other material. Create a second arm. Glue the arms to the body.

Step 4

Step 8 (Image: Sarah Zoraya/Demand Media)

Attach a metal rod to each arm. A Muppeteer typically operates a puppet by fitting the right hand up the body like a glorified sock puppet as the left hand moves the Muppet's arm rods.