How To: Puppets!
One of the Peace Corps trainers asked me to make a puppet for a show she was putting on to demonstrate how we can use entertaining activities in the classroom. I was asked to make a caterpillar (oruga) and another student made a worm (gusano).
The story was about a gusano who spent all of his time eating leaves off of trees. He comes upon the oruga and basically calls him lazy for sitting around on one leaf all day long. The gusano says that he is going to eat his way to the top of the tree where he will be able to see everything below. The oruga pays no attention to the taunts of the gusano and tells him that he is storing up his energy and that he is happy with his one leaf and one branch.
A little while later the adult gusano is sitting on a bare branch with no leaves left to eat when a beautiful mariposa (butterfly) comes over and says hello. The gusano doesn’t recognize the oruga who has now become a mariposa so he reintroduces himself and makes the gusano jealous because he has the best view of all flying around. All the gusano can do is cry.
Apparently the moral of the story is that the gusano was greedy and impatient because he ate all of the leaves only thinking of himself while the patient oruga only ate enough to transform into a beautiful mariposa.
Here’s how I made the puppet (títere).
First, I thought about what the body of a caterpillar looks like and how I wanted the face to look and I went to a nearby store and purchased the following supplies:
Styrofoam balls – one larger sized one for the head and 4-5 for the body
Felt – to make design details on the body
Pipe Cleaner – I was able to buy just one brown one for the antennae
Green Soccer Socks – this was actually hard to find even in a fútbol crazy place as this
Popsicle Sticks – or you can just eat a popsicle!
Green Ribbon – for the little feet
Googly Eyes – I was able to buy just two!
What I already had:
Glue gun – not a necessity but it makes the project easier
Hair Bands – this added color and helped with the structure
Embroidery Floss – in different colors and a needle helps too!
Green Electrical Tape – a very handy supply for tons of projects
Scissors – always a necessity
Marker – ditto
I filled the socks with the styrofoam balls and put the hair bands in between them to make the defined sections of the caterpillar. Then, I marked off where I wanted to glue and sew on the felt details with a permanent marker (you can use chalk or a fabric pen) and I marked off the features of the face, as well. Finally, I marked off on the underside of the body where I wanted to put the popsicle stick handles.
In order to be able to embroider the designs on the side of the body and face, I had to glue on the felt pieces and sew them without the styrofoam ball inside. So, the next step was to undo what I had just done and take out the hair bands and balls. Then, I sewed the mouth and put the largest styrofoam ball back into the sock. Then, I glued on the eyes, tied the first hair band and embroidered the felt onto each side of the next section.
I repeated the following steps: embroidering, putting the styrofoam back inside the sock, and tying the hair band to close the section until I was done with all of the sections.
Next, I cut a slit into the fabric and the styrofoam where I wanted the handles and I glued and taped several popsicle sticks together to make those handles and ultimately I pushed the handles into the styrofoam with a spot of hot glue on each.
Finally, I cut and glued on small pieces of ribbon to look like a bunch of little feet.
I’m excited to teach students here in Ecuador how to make their own títeres!