Today is totally a Soda Pop day. For those of you who don’t know, Soda Pop is the star of my book, I HATE HALLOWEEN, which may be purchased here, AND the inspiration for my 31 Days of Halloween projects. He is a black cat with attitude. Today, we are going to make something that all children (and many adults) get a kick out of–puppets. Soda Pop puppets.
The supplies you will need are black felt–I got 9×12 sheets of it at the craft store. 2 sheets per puppet. You will also need a hot glue gun (for easy assembly), or craft glue (if you’re patient) OR needle and thread or sewing machine (if you want to be a perfectionist, which I am NOT). And then whatever kind of supplies you want to use to put eyes on your puppet, or any other decorations that you think Soda Pop would enjoy wearing on his person.
Here is a printable stencil pattern to get you started with your Soda Pop puppet.
Print it out, cut it out, lay it down on the felt and cut around it. DON’T cut out the eyes in the felt. The eye marks on the stencil are there for guidelines for eye placement. I was able to cut 2 sheets of felt at a time, but one at a time is fine. Young kids will most definitely need help with the cutting and glueing of this little guy.
After you get two Soda Pop cut outs done, it is time to add facial features/decorations or whatever else you can think of on the front of your puppet. My kids chose paint for the eyes. On your stencil, please note the two eyes delineated there. If you have a craft knife, you can cut those eyes out and have openings which you can overlay on top of the felt use as guides to paint/draw/sew your eyes on. You could also cut other pieces out of colored felt and glue them on for the eyes. How about button eyes? Sequins? Diamonds? Hey, go for it. Here you can see one of my boys painting the eyes on through his stencil.
Of course, you may ALWAYS freehand the eyes and facial features, which is what I did. I added a nose, mouth, and paws, but you don’t need to. The REAL Soda Pop’s features are totally black, so do whatever YOU like.
After you apply whatever decoration to Soda’s face/body, you may need to let any paint/glue dry. Then it is time to attach the front and back cut outs together. I chose hot glue, because I feel it is magic. Really. Yes, you can burn the you-know-what out of yourself, but it is so darn FAST! Or you can use craft glue, if you have a couple hours. OR, you can use needle and thread to sew the two pieces together, or even a sewing machine. Now, you will glue or sew the two pieces together, keeping the glue/stitches about 1/4″ from the edge, ALL the way around EXCEPT for the bottom of the puppet, where your hand is going to go. Sew or glue right sides OUT, so there is NO “turning” of the puppet when you are done. It is simply finished with stitching (if you chose to sew) visible. You will end up with a cat-shaped glove.
My kids love puppets. Even my teenagers, which some may find weird. Personally, I think it is one of the most creative things you can guide your children to make. And there are people who make their livings doing things like puppetry (Jim Henson, anyone?). Not only do you MAKE something with your hands, but then you can create an entire world of activities/stories/songs/plays, whatever, that are all about the puppet you just made. I’m thinking about making felt “costumes” for my Soda Pop puppet, so he can be just as disgruntled as a puppet as he is when I dress him up in real life.
I am having my two homeschooled boys write stories about what their particular puppets do during the course of an average day. One boy named his puppet Cat Man (feline superhero). The other kid named his Just Regular Cat. I’m interested to read the stories they come up with, and I imagine they will be TOTALLY different, as my boys are themselves. ( I think another fun activity would be to have your Soda Pop puppet read I HATE HALLOWEEN to your children!) You can also have children write poetry, or even a play featuring the puppet. Make more than one puppet if you like, in different colors. Make different KINDS of puppets—cats aren’t the only critter out there.
Have fun with this, and check us out on Facebook at Bug Summer here. Become a fan and post some of your own creative fall projects!