Put on your own show with easy-to-build hand puppets

These homemade puppets will not only unleash your child’s inner artist, but also their imaginations as well.

Looking to get crafty while spending as little money as possible? These homemade puppets will not only unleash your child’s inner artist, but also their imaginations as well.

You can make a hand puppet out of literally anything. My 35-year-old brother likes to use googly eyes, and the glove box of my car as a mouth. Believe me… “Car-y McDriverton” is a hit with our passengers, but it’s not a good idea for those 30 years his junior.

What you’ll need:

Paper Plate
Tube Socks
Empty toilet paper tube
Craft supplies (construction paper, glue (including a hot glue gun), pipe cleaner, markers, paint, googly eyes, scissors, etc.) If you are low on craft supplies, office supplies will work just fine.  Remember, it is all about being creative.

1) Building a body:
I’ll be using a paper plate, an empty toilet paper tube and a sock as my base. They are items I have around my house and can part with in the name of entertainment. If those items are in short supply, improvise with paper bags or other light weight, hinge-able items.

2) Open wide!

For the mouth, I traced the paper plate I was going to use, and then traced a smaller circle inside it, using a saucer, so it would fit inside. Cut out the circle and glue it in place using whatever you have available.

Then fold the plate and add any other decoration in the mouth you want, like a tongue, throat, teeth, lipstick, or facial hair.

3) Constructing the head:

Cut a notch out of the toilet paper tube to make the oblong face structure. You many need to cut an additional hole in the back if you or the puppeteer have long fingers that could get in the way. Secure the tube with something strong, like hot glue. Parents, you will want to help the kids with anything that involves hot glue.

4) A flair your hair!

Anything can serve as hair. Pipe cleaners, fuzzy fabric, yarn, Pipe cleaner, even a wig! For my creation, I used pipe cleaners, mainly for their ability to wiggle as the mouth moves and for its ability to hold shape.  That comes in handy if your kids decide their puppet needs a new hair style.

Secure your hair by pinching the top of the toilet paper tube with hot glue or staples.

5) An eye for eyes

Whether googly or not, the size and shape of your eyes will help define the personality of your puppet. Googly eyes provide a crazy feel, while static construction paper eyes can convey specific and static emotions for a puppet’s given character. If using, googly eyes and hot glue, attach the glue to the toilet paper tube first and place the eyes on upside down. Otherwise the plastic pupils may melt from the glue’s heat and stay in that position.

6) Bringing it all together

When your head is decorated and ready to go, you can attach the sock body. Cut a slit in the top of your sock and stretch it around the back of the paper plate. Using a pencil, mark the outline of where the sock needs to stretch in order to cover the hand. Attach the sock using generous amounts of hot glue, and let it cool completely before putting it back on your hand.

7) The finishing touches.

A white sock is a perfect blank canvas for the puppet’s creator to add accessories and make a statement. In my example, I used pipe cleaners, again for their flexible and light weight structure, to make arms that will flail when the puppet moves. Take the extra step and give it fingers with another piece of pipe cleaner.  Put your hand inside the sock and mark the location your arms need to go, remove the sock and attach the arms with hot glue. Buttons, ribbon, marker, or construction paper can be used to make a cool fashion statement. I used three blue fuzzy cotton balls to add a button-down look.


Remember, there is no right or wrong way. As long as you have the imagination, you can create your own home entertainment, and memories to last a lifetime.

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