29 April 27 May 2021 / 5 Thursday evenings 6.30-8.30pm on Zoom / £130 / MAKING 
** You will need to purchase materials for this course, see list below **

Inspired by a hat (or buscuit tin!) you own or find specially, you will make a small exquisite puppet which will inhabit it and perform in and around it. You will be led step by step through the making process – modelling, sewing, glueing the puppet into being and then adapting and decorating the hat if you wish. Basic puppetry skills will be demonstated to bring the puppets to life. The skills you will learn can be applied to future puppet making, because – warning – puppetry is highly addictive!

Please see materials list below.

Led by acclaimed puppetry artist, coach and RCA Graduate, Isobel Smith

Enquiries and Bookings


Please email me directly on isobelsmith.art@gmail.com if you have any questions or concerns.

A HAT. This is somewhere for your puppet to live / inhabit, perform out of, in, on or around.
Something you already have, the hat might inform the character of your puppet – top hat: magician, straw hat: Morris dancer etc. Or find specifically for the course. If you’re happy to chop the hat it will give more options, if not it will provide useful limitations! You could substitute a box or tin for hat if you prefer.

Supersculpey 1LB /454g. from Tirantis –  https://tiranti.co.uk/products/super-sculpey-454g-1lb/

This usually comes in pale flesh tone, can be overpainted. We will use about 2/3 of the pack in the course, you will have some left over for disasters or alterations you may want to make. 

Finger bandage – for puppet arms and legs. When stuffed it shrinks up to about half it’s length so get plenty From Firstaid.co.uk https://www.firstaid.co.uk/wound-care/hypaband-finger-bandage-with-applicator/

Body – wrist bandage From Firstaid.co.uk https://www.firstaid.co.uk/wound-care/1m-tubular-support-bandage-b-small-limbs-white/

Sewing kit: Fabric scissors, pins, needle and thread, white or cream for joining body to arms and legs. Coloured threads if you have them for clothing the puppet.

Stuffing. From world of wool https://www.worldofwool.co.uk/collections/fibre-fill-and-wadding choose if you prefer man-made or natural. (Pillow or cushion pad innards are a cost-effective alternative)

Glueing. PVA glue or PVA wood glue. From Artesaver (below), supermarkets or DIY stores

OPTIONAL Hot glue-gun and sticks (for easier attaching of hair, can use PVA and leave to dry overnight) From Artesaver or DIY stores.

Acrylic Paints, what you have already: minimum: red, brown, black, white, your choice of eye colour, other your choice if you want to alter Sculpey skin colour. From Artesaver https://www.artesaver.co.uk/Catalogue/PAINT-PRINT/Paints/Acrylic-Paints/Acrylic-Paint-Sets/Small-Tube-Acrylic-Paint-Set-12-x-12ml-PTAC12  £5.30

Bigger tubes  https://www.artesaver.co.uk/Catalogue/PAINT-PRINT/Paints/Acrylic-Paints/Acrylic-Paint-Sets/Seawhite-Mixing-Acrylic-Paint-Set-5x75ml-Tubes-PTAC75  £10.70

Paint brushes, medium and super-fine artist’s brushes.

Sizes 000, 6, 14 (or similar that you have) from Artesaver  https://www.artesaver.co.uk/Catalogue/PAINT-PRINT/Brushes/Golden-Synthetic/Pointed/Golden-Synthetic-Brush-Pointed-BSYS-

Controllers. Pencil or equivalent piece of dowling, sawn to size for head controller

Wooden kebab sticks (2, from supermarkets) or equivalent piece of dowling. Sawn to size for arm controllers

TOOLS. Clay modelling tools. From Tirantis https://tiranti.co.uk/products/student-hardwood-tools-set-of-8-in-box/  £17.62 or  https://tiranti.co.uk/products/plastic-modelling-tools-set-of-7/ £2.96

Cocktail sticks, thin knitting needle, or braddall – (i.e. a poking devise for making holes to attach body parts.)

Hot glue gun (optional see above)

Small saw for controllers, a small piece of medium sandpaper

Clothing. Small pieces of whatever you have to hand and would like your puppet to wear.

I recommend nothing too bulky or thick that would inhibit your puppet’s movement. Fabric with a slight stretch is good to work with, coloured tights, old tea-shirts, vests and knickers (which often have tiny patterns on too) are great. Sneaky tricks: a striped or patterned sock makes a fantastic tank-top. Toe ends of socks or tights make superb little hats. Keep an eye out for tiny details which can be appropriated for your puppet, e.g. narrow bra straps make great belts and braces. A cuff and bit of sleeve from a shirt or thin cardigan can make an instant skirt with waistband. Pockets make great aprons.
The most important thing always is that the clothes don’t restrict the puppet’s movement.

Hair. Wool locks are brilliant and come in fantastic colours and furnishes the puppet without being a potential tangle while you are manipulating the puppet. From World of Wool. https://www.worldofwool.co.uk/collections/wool-locks?sort_by=manual. If you want smoother hair try Locks instead, also World of Wool (you can order samples)

Recommended suppliers: (also available elsewhere or use similar substitute of materials you already have).

TIRANTIS (sculpture supplies)

Artesaver (painting supplies)

Firstaid.co.uk (puppet arms. legs and bodies)

World of Wool (hair and stuffing)

x isobel x