Before I begin, Let's just all ignore the huge shiner on Henry's head in all of these photos. Because good lord that kid can, and will, get on to everything these days. He's a handful and I love him.
The other morning while I made my morning coffee, Emmet sat at the dining room table and played with his cars and chatted quietly. But not just normal car play. After about half of my cup of coffee, when I finally become a coherent human being, I listened in. He was naming them and they were going to the garden. He'd line them all up, open and close the doors, and narrate the whole thing.
Of course, rather than just say "aw, cute, he's doing imaginative play!" I jumped into action and thought of every single thing we could be doing, and one of the first things I thought of was puppets! Because this mama has been dreaming of the imaginative play stage for some time now, and I am here. for. it. I loaded the boys up in the car and drove down to et cetera shop to find some secondhand felt and embroidery floss. I managed to find exactly what I needed for just under $5. Score.
That night I sat on the couch with a needle and thread, a cold beer, and a movie on and reflected on my late 20s vs early 20s. In my early 20s on a Saturday night I might have been off to a party (at the creek or at 1 of 2 off campus houses, probably) and staying up until the wee hours of the morning. In my late 20s, 8:00pm is "nighttime" and I sit at home and sew puppets. and I love it.
These puppets were so easy to make. A warning, I am not a perfectionist. So if you are... I'm sorry. The pattern/ instructions are mostly just suggestions. You can really change the shape, etc as much as you want to make them yours!
DIY Puppet Pattern (download below and print)
9x12 inch felt sheets - Mine were secondhand, but these are great natural colors, you'll need 2-3 sheets per color for each puppet
Click BELOW to download
Step One: Cut out all of your pieces!
I was too excited about sewing on the faces (and it was night time - a rockin' Saturday night if you ask me!), that I totally forgot to take a picture of all of the pieces cut out. But basically, you'll download the attached pattern and cut out two of the "body" pieces, a front and a back. They are designed to fit a women's small hand. IF you need one smaller or larger I basically put my hand down on paper with my three fingers together at the top and pink and thumb stretched out. I then traced around the outside, factoring in seam allowance and the round shape of the head.
Then cut out two pieces for each ear. I did one in felt and one in a fun fabric, but you could totally just do one piece of felt and totally be fine. You can/should also experiment with different sizes and shapes for different animals! I'm attaching the shapes/sizes I used for the above animals for you to use if you'd like.
You'll only need to cut out one piece of each snout that you'd like. If you aren't a huge fan of hand stitching, I'd recommend avoiding animals with snouts! Or just leaving them off?
Step two: Sew your ears. (If you are choosing to do just one layer of felt, you can skip this step)
One ear at a time, places the two right sides together and sew around the outside leaving the bottom open. I left about 1/4 inch seam allowance. Trim off any seam allowance on the curves and turn and press inside out. Repeat on the second ear.
Step Three - Hand stitch the faces
Before sewing the two sides together, take a minute to sew on each face with embroidery thread. Make it yours or copy mine, anything is totally fine. I recommend leaving any knots on the backside.
For the eyes, I tied a triple knot with room on each side, then threaded both ends to the back and tied them.
For the snouts, if you are doing them, stitch the nose and mouths on before attaching, then hold in place and hand stitch around the outside. I added stuffing when there was just enough room for me to poke some in and then finished stitching.
Step Four - Assemble your puppet
Lay the two body pieces right sides together and tuck in your ears. Make sure that the right sides of your ears are on the right side of the face (see photo). Pro trick (lol), fold the sides of the ears in for a little added whimsy.
Once it is ready, sew around the outside leaving a 5/8 seam allowance from one side to the other, leaving the bottom open. I recommend backstitching the bottom quite a few times.
Step Five - Finish!
Trim off any excess seam allowance on the curves to prevent bunching (careful not to do too much!). Then turn inside out and gently press flat with your hand.
If desired, stick a small handful of stuffing up into the head to help it keep its shape.