Monday, February 28, 2011

Day #26: Puppet X-Ray (a hand puppet tutorial)

The hand puppet is a deceptively simple type of puppet. You just stick your hand in it and -- ta-daah! Right?

If you were to look beneath the puppet, you would see how things really work. So, here it is: an x-ray look at a hand puppet.

When manipulating a hand puppet (or glove puppet, as our UK friends like to call them!), a puppeteer uses some sort of fingering technique. I've illustrated the most common ones below for today's post: a simple "Nerf" ball with an opening for fingers.

Head on the index finger. Thumb and middle finger make up the hands. A pretty common style to use. Biggest drawback is that you can't really pivot the head, you have to pivot the whole body.

This one is uncomfortable for me, but it works for others. Index finger holds the head; thumb and pinkie finger make up the hands.
I've never used this technique before -- but you can get a great reach for the hands on the thumb and pinkie without having to stretch too much. Downside is the thick neck.

My personal choice for most hand puppets. You can control the head nicely with the two fingers; the thumb is one hand, and the ring and pinkie finger make up the other.

I find this style a bit uncomfortable -- but what works for one person, might not be best for another.


  1. This is fascinating! Thank you so much for sharing it. I'm awake way too late (ate chocolate after 9pm, big mistake), sitting up in bed, trying out each version with my puppetless hand. So cool!

  2. Really enjoyed this, Heidi. Informative & fun :)

  3. You should have had 'censored' in white across the ball!