We love marionettes at our house—especially ones that you can make out of recycled and natural materials. The inspiration for this craft comes from Lynley Dodd’s “Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy,” a book about a wiener dog that gets into all sorts of trouble with his fellow canine friends.
- one paper towel roll (or two toilet paper rolls stuck together)
- one toilet paper roll
- googly eyes
- chestnuts (or similar objects/material)
- Paint your toilet paper rolls your desired color. We chose black.
- Shape your dog’s head by cutting four parallel slits, two-thirds of the way down, into your short toilet paper roll. Then squeeze them together by pressing on the ends of the roll so that each of the four sides slightly overlaps and they all push inward. This forms a pointy nose for the dog. Add some glue and hold in place with an elastic band or piece of string—but make sure you don’t glue the band on by accident.
- Trim a little off the long roll to make the ears. Cut ear shapes and glue onto the head.
- Add the eyes by gluing your googly eyes to the head.
- Add the feet and tail. Pierce a hole in each chestnut. (Note: I recommend adult participation for this step if you use a hard material like a chestnut. If you use something softer, children can poke their own holes.) Then make holes in the long roll—one for the tail (a twig) and four for the feet (the chestnuts). Thread one piece of string through a chestnut, then through the body, and then through the second chestnut for each pair of feet. For the tail, stick the twig through the hole and secure with glue.
- Attach the head by piercing it twice – once at the top (roughly between the ears) and once below. Pierce a hole at the front end of the long body roll (at the opposite end to the tail). The string will run from your hand piece (see next step) right through the head and then connect with the body.
- Make the marionette hand piece by tying two twigs together with string into an X. Attach one end of the string to the back of the long body roll (make a small hole near the tail, thread the string through and secure with a knot), run it up to and across the center of the hand piece and attach at the other end, as described in step 6: running it through the head and into the front of the long body roll and again securing it with a knot.
Once you assemble, play away! Put on a puppet show or showcase your marionette for friends and family.