tutorial – making felt finger puppets of well known people

by Sayraphim on September 16, 2009

This one is so simple and quick, which is the way I like ’em. All you need is some suitable coloured felt and some thread and scissors.

This time the brief was a finger puppet of our own Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, but you can use this for anyone at all. To make a finger puppet of someone, or indeed a doll or anything else, really you want the boiled down, essence of that person. You don’t want to have to spend a year adding hundreds of the tiniest details to convey the person when you could do it with a couple of stitches in a line.

So to find a simple image that’s recognisable as your chosen celebrity, the easiest way is to find a professional who’s already done it for you. Political cartoons in newspapers, for example, are perfect for any politician, a quick google search of “Kevin Rudd Cartoon” brings up heaps of examples. Spend a little time looking over them, you want a simple, not really detailed drawing that perfectly captures your celeb. If you don’t recognise the person in the drawing, don’t use it.

For Kev, I’m going to use this image:

It’s by Mark Knight from the Herald Sun, and it comes from here.

My next suggestion is to redraw the face for yourself. Even if you have poor drawing skills (like me), a quick drawing of it will help you understand the shapes you’re about to create. I copied the shape of the head, and then drew the hair over the top of that. Don’t worry if it’s not Van Gogh, no one’s gunna see it (you know, unless you put it on your blog 🙂

Even though Mr Knight’s cartoon is a simplified version of our Kev, I decided to simplify it further. Really all that’s needed to suggest Kev is the facial shape, the blonde styled hair and the glasses. A suit will help suggest him further, but that comes a bit later on in the process.

So I’ve cut out his face shape in a pale pink felt, and then copied the hair shape in yellow. Then I’ll stitch the hair to the head in tiny yellow stitches.

Next is the glasses. I liked the idea of the fringe falling over the glasses rim, so I stitched it thus.

Eyeballs are next, a couple of tiny bright blue stitches is all you need. And that’s it for the face. Now all you need is the body. You can use a finger sized tube of felt, or for this project I wanted him on a glove. The suit is a blue rectangle of felt with the corners snipped off and hot glued down and the tie is two red triangles.


(The clever ones among you will notice that this finished Kev is a different version than the example one in the tute, please don’t send me emails about it! It’s because there were quite a number of Kevs made and this was just the one I happened to photographed when finished. You get all get a gold star each!)

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Claire (ethel loves fred) September 18, 2009 at 4:44 am

LOVE it Sayra!!

Sayraphim September 18, 2009 at 11:41 pm

Thanks Claire! I was a big fan of this project, and how darned simple it actually was.

I love simple but good looking things…

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