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Topic: Hand Puppets
Message: Posted by: 0pus (Jun 3, 2016 09:24AM)
I want to develop a phase of an act with a small speechless hand puppet - maybe a rabbit (like Stan Allen's Killer, Dan Garrett's Acey or Samuel Patrick Smith's Puff) or a monkey (like Bill Abbott's Chico), or some other small, cute, non-threatening animal puppet. Since the puppet will not talk, good manipulation becomes a priority.

My problem is that my hand does not seem to fit comfortably inside the puppets I have handled. The ones that are cute and sweet seem to be made for children. I find that most puppets I have tried on are very snug (if not entirely too small for me). Getting them on and off quickly is very hard, and the manipulation is somewhat compromised by the tight fit.

I really am not looking for puppets made in the Axtell style, which I find too cartoonish for my purposes (although I find that style entirely appropriate for an animal who is going to talk).

Can anyone recommend a maker of the kind of puppet I seek?

When I buy gloves (ski gloves, dress gloves) I often start at Extra Large, and sometimes have to go larger. Maybe my hands are just too big for puppets.
Message: Posted by: pixsmith (Jun 8, 2016 12:20PM)
You might want to consider having a custom character built. As a performing puppeteer, my hands are incredibly wide for someone my height, and I have had to adjust our patterns for that. It's probably going to wind up worth the extra expense to have it fit, otherwise, you are right, it probably won't look good at all.

Kudos for even noticing the problem, too, btw. If you think I can help, PM me and I'll do what I can!


Pix Smith
Dallas Puppet Theater
Message: Posted by: colinj (Jun 16, 2016 05:40PM)
Fire the Imagination have some great hand puppets and fit adult size hands though if you have particularly large hands they might be tight. http://www.firetheimagination.ca/
Message: Posted by: pixsmith (Jun 20, 2016 01:17PM)
Most of them appear to be Folkmanis, and those vary all over, size-wise. Some are really good for larger hands though. With their stuff, generally the larger the figure, the more room you have. Several are pretty wide as well.

Message: Posted by: Foole4Hire (Sep 8, 2016 09:35PM)
A few years ago, when I added a puppet to a "Princess and the Pea" plot for Smart Ass, I used a Melissa and Doug king. Their line includes Muppet style puppets (hand in head to open and close mouth and a rod to control either arm). They handily fit grown up hands.

Many Folkmanis puppets are fine for big old grown up hands. I use the sheepdog arm puppet for "Woof Woof," Chico is Folkmanis, I have a Sky Dragon for this year's show, and a Folkmanis chicken is presenting a child-friendly version of McCombical Pack which uses pictures instead of playing cards. It's a matter of picking the Critter that fits.
Message: Posted by: Animated Puppets (Jul 8, 2018 04:31PM)
You may wish to try using a set of Peeper's instead. A modified sleeve, or a cat/small dog costume (costume for pets) will fit most for arms. A colored latex glove can change things up too.

Just a thought.
Message: Posted by: 0pus (Jul 10, 2018 08:16AM)
I love Chico, and I have found that the Folkmanis puppet comes in two sizes - the one Bill Abbott uses is the smaller one (two of which which I bought for my twin cousins); I bought the larger one one for myself.

While the larger one fits me fine and quite comfortably, the smaller one is just much more endearing than the larger one. So, the one that is large enough for my hand, and is identical to the smaller one except for size, is just not as "cute" as the smaller one. I think that the adult with the diminutive puppet makes for a better interplay.
Message: Posted by: Russo (Jul 11, 2018 12:08PM)
I've done this - find a LARGE character doll or animal-etc- cut from the back -or-bottom - remove stuffing and it could/should work
Message: Posted by: jimgerrish (Aug 20, 2018 04:53AM)
Itty Bitty Babies was my solution for the same problem... The Wizards' Journal #36 shows how to turn a doll into a hand puppet. It also helped solve my lack of ventriloquism skills - the babies just gurgle, scream, cry and make other baby noises (like passing gas). No one even looks at my lips.