I assume not everyone has a need for a crochet puppet, but since I was entrenched in puppets, I thought I’d share how I make them. I plan on making a video for a puppet or puppets soon, so if this post looks too wordy (I know it does to me), you can just wait for that. It will eventually happen, but if you want to get started right away, read on!
I start with a tube that fits around a hand. Sometimes it comes out a little tighter and sometimes a little looser than I like, but it doesn’t really matter as long as it goes over your hand.
The tube can be made up of any color and any kind of yarn. This will be the shirt (or top part of a dress) and can be made out of any stitch or color combination. I’ve only made three puppets so far and they were made for my students so I kept the tube portion simple. I’m all about simple. I used single crochet in the round for two of them. For the third one (red and black puppet), I made a rectangle of single crochet rows and then sewed up the side to make a tube. You could even make two squares and sew up on two sides. I haven’t tried this yet.
As I mentioned, for my red and black girl puppet, I crocheted a rectangle and sewed up the side. However, I didn’t cut my yarn. I left a live loop and I picked it up to start the skirt portion.This is the important round. It is the increase round so that your skirt flares out. You can pick any stitch you’d like as long as you double or triple your increases. I made an increase round of double crochets. How many increase stitches depends on how poofy or flairy you want the skirt to be. I think I mixed it up between 2-in-1 and 3-in-1 to make it flair out.
Then, you make as many rounds as you’d like for the length you desire. At this point, you can play around with any stitch or color combination. On my puppet, I made front post and back post double crochets in groups. I was playing around so it was a little complicated. It doesn’t have t be complicated, though. You can mix and match stitches and colors or stick with one. It will still look great.
Arms and Legs (optional)
I only added arms and legs to my puppets because the students wanted them. I’m glad they did because I think it added to the fun of the finished puppets. For the arms and legs, you can make long tubes and then stuff them (I do this for my regular dolls) or you can try what I’ve been doing lately. Instead of stuffing, I make flat rectangles or squares and then just roll them up. I sew them up (up the side, across the ends, and I zig zag the yarn through the middle to secure it all) and end up with a self stuffed tube! I’m liking this a lot.
I made the fingers separately by chaining 5. Then I chain another 3 for the first finger. I slip stitch in the back bump of the next 3 chains. Your finger chains can be longer depending how long you want the fingers to be.
I chain 4, slip stitch down that chain and slip stitch in the next chain (on the original chain). Repeat this for the next 3 fingers.
For the last finger, I chain 3 (instead of 4) and slip stitch in the last chain and fasten off. Leave a long tail.
It will look funny.
Take that long tail and scrunch up the fingers together and weave through the bottom to bring them together. Then you can sew the fingers to the bottom of the arm.
No matter what stitches are done on the body, I used single crochet for the head. Once my body tube is done, I attach the head color to a stitch and do a round in that color. The next round will have decreases to form the semblance of a neck. I decrease about every 3rd or 4th stitch.Then I do another regular round.
The next two or three rounds (I wing it every time) will have increases strategically placed.
I do a little counting at this point. I fold my work in half to see where the mid point is. Then I count a few stitches to either side of it and take stitch markers to mark off where I want my increases to start and end. With my stitch markers in place showing me where the start and end of the mouth will be, I start my increase round.
My first increases will be at the start of the round. Where I start the the round will be the back of the head. I make one or two increases to start and then I do 1 single crochet until I reach the first stitch marker. Then I do 2 single crochet in each stitch until I reach the second stitch marker. After the 2nd stitch marker, I go back to 1 single crochet per stitch until I get to the end of the round and I make 2 increases in the last two stitches of the round. That puts 4 increases at the back of the head.
I repeat this for the next round but I might do less increases this round depending on how it looks. Then I do a regular round or two (or three or four depending on how it looks) with no increases.
The next round will have start the opening for the mouth. I decide how wide I want the opening to be and where it will start and stop and place my stitch markers. I single crochet to the first marker and then make a chain in the same amount of stitches I will skip.
I skip the same amount of stitches as the amount of chains I make. I single crochet again at my 2nd stitch marker and single crochet to the end of the round. I do a few regular rounds (I eyeball it again) and then start my decrease rounds. I usually start decreasing every 3 or 4 stitches. Then it’s every 2 or 3 and then every 1 or two until it closes up at the top.
I like adding the face at this time because I added the face after I added the inside of the the mouth on the fist puppet and it kept getting in the way. It’s easier to do it at this stage. The hair or hats can wait or can be done at this stage as well. You should now have an opening where you will add the inside of the mouth.
The inside of the mouth was a bit tricky at first. I did it differently all three times but I liked my third attempt best, so that’s what I’ll describe. You can use all one color like red or you can start with pink for a tongue and then switch to red or whatever other color you want the inside to be.
I use a magic circle and place 5 single crochets in it (I start with pink). I tighten the circle up so that it looks like half a circle. I turn and do 2 single crochet in each stitch (increase) and turn.
This is where I got a little creative. I did 1 single crochet, then 2 single crochet in the next two stitches.
I single crochet until I have 3 stitches left. I do 2 increases and just 1 single crochet in the last stitch.
Then, depending on how many stitches I skipped when making the head, is how many stitches I want to increase to. I’ll keep adding increases on the ends of the rounds until I have the desired number of stitches. If I have an odd number of skipped stitches (on the head), I might add an increase in the middle of the row.
I’ll end up with 4 or 5 rows. I fasten off and make another one. I sew the straight parts together and then I sew the rounded parts to the upper and lower parts of the mouth.
I finish off by doing a round of single crochet around the mouth again to cover up the sewing and to give the mouth a little edge to it.
If I haven’t done so already, I sew on the arms and legs. I finish the hair and make sure all ends are woven in and the puppet is done.
So cool! If you are looking for ideas you might think about making these for dementia. My mom had a type of dementia and some of the people she lived with carried around dolls. Boy would they get grimy, especially since some people insisted on feeding their babies. These would be nice and washable. I think some of the more progressive facilities would pay to have a stock pile of these dolls as I know you some day want to make crochet your job 🙂 Maybe you could donate a couple to get the interest started… When I see you in People Magazine I can say out loud, heck I knew here when she was a blogger and teacher, before she became rich and famous with her cutie pie dolls! Oh my gosh, you could take orders and make the dolls look like someones grandkid! Yikes, now I wish I could crochet 🙂
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Oh my goodness! I like your thinking, and your confidence in my abilities! This is why I love blogging, such wonderful people with such great ideas. 🙂 Who knew agreeing to make a puppet would lead all the way to People Magazine. When I get rich and famous, I will say I want to thank my supportive blogging community, especially sanseilife, for helping me get there. 🙂
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Yolanda you need to make your next book about making puppets!!! And you should make youtube puppet shows!!! I would definitely watch that!!! You would totally go viral!! Don’t forget to mention me in your People Magazine interview! And tell Matt Lauer I said hi when you’re on the Today Show!!!! 😀
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😂 If I make all the way to Matt Lauer I will definitely say hi. You got any ideas for the puppet shows? 🙂
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Maybe talking to kids about dealing with bullies and empathy so they don’t become bullies. Hmmm this might be a real opportunity for you Yolanda. You might already have some inspiration from problems that the kids in the after school programs have brought up. Something to think about. If that Jeffy character can become popular then your puppets could actually have a positive impact. 🙂
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Hmm….something to think about.
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