Nativity Puppet Patterns

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Here’s some nativity character clothes peg puppet characters. Each one is printed twice, looking to the left and right so each character can have a conversation with all the others, while looking directly at them.

Tula and I filmed a video today demonstrating how to make them. Hopefully we’ll get it online tomorrow.

The Cubestar project

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One day this week I realised as I pulled our front door shut that I had forgotten my house keys and a couple of hours later, on returning home from school, Tula and I found ourselves locked out of the house.
Fortunately, I did have my shed keys with me, and the one for the gates to the back lane and so Tula came and joined me in my little shed based studi

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o.

We then spent a really enjoyable bit of time revisiting a project we had started, at probably the peak of Tula’s illness. At that point she could hardly get out of bed, and having read about M.E. sufferers being bed bound for years, I insisted that Tula should walk with me down he garden path to the shed each day, which at points was excruciatingly hard work, and sometimes I would have to carry her back to the house. We never spent any time in the workshop back then, it would have been too much for Tula.
However,  I did sit by Tula’s bedside and model plasticine characters and things, in an attempt to keep a level of creative positivity alive, and hopefully not loose Tula entirely to the horrible looming depression that was inevitable during such a chronicly painful period.
Tula was mainly unimpressed and certainly didn’t want, or have the energy to join in untill one day I made this very simple

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chap.

Back then, he didn’t have a hat, but Tula loved him! After very little debating we came up with the name ‘Cubestars’ and so they were born, and a much needed creative focus materialised. I then insisted that Tula do at least 30 mins Cubestars with me each day. She didn’t even have to model, if she wasn’t up to it, but day in, day out we would at least discuss the project. As we talked about the characters and what they got up to, I would sketch ideas into a pad.

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We then moved on from plasticine to fimo and started to build a little world. To begin with, I did the modeling,  but as Tula became enthusiastic about what was happening, she joined it too. We did
We made loads of characters, gave them names, created scenarios, and the props and costumes they needed to enact them. Tula vetoed my idea to give them arms, so we made sure they had feet big enough to carry things on. (Tula is with me as I write this and she has just told me she has unlimited vetos and I have only 3!)
The storyline I remember most fondly is Oasis’s; Because he is made from plasticine, we decided he would go on an expedition to live in the freezer so he could be hard too. That’s why he’s got a fimo hat now. We also made him 3 thermos flasks, for tea, coffee and chai, fishing rods, fish to catch, a fish storage box and chilli sweets.
We then froze a tub of water and drilled a hole in the centre which we filled with vodka so the fish could swim in unfrozen liquid.

Eventually, Tula got a bit bored of doing Cubestars every day, so we boxed them all up and we moved on to something else.
On getting them all out again we were surprised to remember just how much we had made. They deserve a properly lit photo shoot.
Two characters, a brother and sister called Bronzo and Bronzer who have a table they sell Bronze Biscuits from still needed chairs, so on this session we made them, and also made their mum, Bronzetta.

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At the moment they are all still spread out on my workbench, and Tula has been down on her own to play with them, so in my opinion,  it’s been time well spent!

Buffalo Bill clothes peg puppet

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For the short bit of time Tula was in school this morning I did these clothes peg puppet templates for Charlie Baughan to use with his class. They are studying Brisol local history so obviously Brunel is there.
Less known about is Colonel Coney who when to North America and brought back to Bristol with him Buffalo Bill and his tribe who formed a huge circus. According to Charlie there were 4 train loads of people involved and 500 horses. It must have been pretty impressive! I’m going to do him and his class some more characters to help their learning.

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Make a Clothes Peg Puppet.

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Here is a great way to make a simple mouth puppet with a clothes peg and some card board;
1; Sketch a head with the bottom jaw separate from the head.

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2. Whack the sketch onto a light box and transfer it onto card and ink. If you haven’t got a light box then either make one (I’ll show you how I made mine in a later post), or sketch the head in pencil straight onto card and then go over in ink and rub the pencil out. The beauty of using a light box is you can make duplicates and have them facing left and right.

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3. Cut the head out, find some double sided sticky tape and get your clothes peg ready.

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4. Paint the clothes peg black. I used acrylic paint. Leave to dry.

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5. Attach the double sided tape onto each side where the head and jaw are going to attach. Peel the paper bit off to reveal the double sticky side.

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6. Attach the cut out cardboard head and jaw.

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7. Play with it and make more characters. Maybe write a play and act it out!

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Isambard Kingdom Brunel

I’ve just finished building a puppet version of the famous engineer Brunel.

Sadly lacking a cigar.
Sadly lacking a cigar.

I started by sketching from some pictures of Brunel on the web:

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And then built him in a very similar way to the John Cabot Puppet I made recently.

Under his clothes his body looks like this:

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The head was a lot of fun to make. Have a look at the progression as I painted and decorated it.

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Somehow Chris is planning to manipulate this puppet and the John Cabot at the same time,  I wish him luck, strong arms and really hope the shows go well for him.

Cabot and Brunel, who deserves the most fame?
Cabot and Brunel, who deserves the most fame?

Muppets Die Hard

Before Christmas I had the pleasure of making some characters from the Muppets for a stage version of the film ‘Die Hard’ that was being put on at the Wardrobe Theatre in Bristol. They were done in two batches. Gonzo, Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzy and Bruce Willis were made by Cori Bona and myself in Hamilton house and the rest I made in my new workshop at the bottom of our garden.

I went to see the show in January and it was brilliant, very funny indeed!

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