Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Tiny Happy People On My Hands [A Finger Puppet Tutorial]

[apologies to REM for that awful pun] I did go up to Manchester last Monday, and deliver the tables to Steph and Gary. Then I returned to Dorset on Tuesday [nothing wrong, we just changed our plans] I had 9 hours of train travel - so took my finger puppets to sew. We've restructured our Sunday morning children's activities, so teach week, the adult has a bag containing the pre-prepared story script, props, crafts and worksheets. [it's a bit like supply teaching - everything is ready in advance]
Experience has shown that 3 year olds listen better if they are involved in the story- so finger puppets are very popular. They are cheap and easy to make, and so it's not difficult to construct a set of characters for the Bible Stories.
Here are a few hints and tips if you want to make any FPs yourself...

  • Prepare the puppet shapes first- either cut them out of felt, or buy a pack of 10 precut shapes for £1.50 from The Range.
  • Make a template from a bit of scrap card. I prefer to have front and back separate and sew them together, rather than a fold [as in the kit]
  • Make sure it will fit an adult finger - my  puppets are about 3cm x 6cm, and I round off the corners using an eggcup.
  • Sketch out on paper a few ideas for the characters - eg hair/beard, jewellery and crowns, hands holding things...
  • there are plenty of ideas online, including ones for animal puppets
  • Stitch the face first, then apply it to the body. Keep stitches on the inside small - however tempting it is to run a long stitch across from eye-to-eye, remember that you do not want little fingernails to get caught!
  • Felt is cheap and easy to work with, but you can add beads, sequins, lace, ribbons, buttons, pipecleaner shepherd crooks, goggle eyes etc.
  • If you want 'fluffiness' for sheep or beards, use wadding rather than cotton wool - it looks just as good but is much more durable.
  • A bit of Punchinella [sequin waste] will make a fabulous golden crown.
  • Best stitches- faces and details - usually french knots, back stitch, and running stitch. Chain stitch makes good hair [see Naaman's wife]
  • Sew front to back with blanket stitch.
Here are the ones I have made for our story bags thus far
The Lost Sheep story, and Elijah plus ravens [made back in September
Naaman, his wife, the little maid and Elisha [2 Kings ch 5]
Daniel, King Darius and the lions [Daniel ch 6]
Notice Naaman has a medal on his chest [he was a mighty army commander] and Daniel has his hands clasped in prayer.
Where characters have headdresses, or a lot of hair, I add something to the back of their heads too.
I made the lions on the journey up to Steph [the train had brown tables] and Naaman etc on the way back.
One of the train staff came and sat opposite me towards the end of my journey. "Excuse me" she said "I've been going up and down and I'm intrigued by what you are doing. I'm on my break now, so I thought I'd be nosy and come and ask" So I told her they were finger puppets for telling Bible Stories, and then she wanted to know the story...we had a really good conversation!
It takes me around 45 minutes on average to make a puppet, so it is not really a commercial enterprise. At £8.21 an hour minimum wage, plus cost of materials, I don't think you could sell them at £9 each. But they are fun to make, and a good little 'travelling project' to keep in my bag to work on at odd moments.


  1. I love your puppets. I use to teach at Sunday School in the late 59 until I had my own children and moved away but I never made things we had little books. I love reading your blog.
    Hazel c uk

    1. Thank you Hazel. I just love being able to share the Bible with children, and if puppets or picture books help them remember the stories, that is even better

  2. Also a good project for inviting queries from interested people!

  3. Ha ha. Do you have any idea how cute those ravens are :-)

  4. Those finger puppets are cute! I'm sure the children look forward to seeing them during Sunday School!


Always glad to hear from you - thanks for stopping by!
I am blocking anonymous comments now, due to excessive spam!