In this week’s Martin & Sylvia: Saturdays! story, “Like Cats and Dogs”, Martin and Sylvia try to decide if they are a “cat person” or a “dog person”…or a bit of both!
What kind of person are you – which do you like better, cats or dogs? Today you get to create your very own perfect pet marionette – or string puppet – whether it’s a cat or a dog (or both!)
You Will Need
1-2 Cardboard Tubes
1 Piece of Thin Cardboard
Large Beads, Bells, or Buttons
Pipe Cleaner, Yarn, or Fabric Scrap
Markers, Crayons, Paint or Fabric Scraps
Blunt Needle (optional)
Choose & Decorate Your Pet
Start by deciding whether you are a cat person or a dog person – now, which will you make? One cardboard tube will be for your new pet’s body. Decorate it with markers, crayons, paint – whatever you’d like!
Have a grown-up draw the outline of your pet’s head on a piece of thin cardboard and decorate that too!
Once your pet is fully decorated, it’s time to put your marionette together!
Assemble Your Marionette
Attach the Head. Start by attaching a small piece of your cardboard tube to the back of your pet’s head. Cut a 2-inch piece of cardboard tube. Then clip small notches along one edge so that it can flare out flat. Place this on the back of your pet’s head and tape it down securely. Cut a piece of cotton thread about 18-inches long and thread it onto your blunt need, tying a knot at the end. Thread your needle up through the tube – this will be the thread attaching your pet’s head to your control sticks. Make sure you thread up through the tube close to your pet’s face so that the face tips up and straight, instead of down (if the thread is strung up through the back part of your little tube piece.) Tape down the extra thread and knot left inside your tube.
Attach the Feet and Legs. Cut another piece of cotton thread about 15-inches long and thread it onto your blunt need. On the dangling end of the thread – the part furthest from the needle – tie on a bead, bell, or button to act as a foot. Run the needle and thread through one end of the tube (through both sides), leaving a bit of the thread dangling for the legs. Tie on your other foot and clip the excess thread. Repeat with the back feet and legs.
Attach the Tail by cutting a small hole in the top of the tube and insert a bit of the tail using a pipe cleaner, yarn, or bit of fabric. Be sure to tape down the bit of the tail that is inside the tube, so that it doesn’t fall out.
Attach the Head to the Body. Cut a piece of cotton thread about 6-inches long and thread it onto your blunt need, tying a knot at the end. Thread the string through one end of the body (where the neck would be) and tape down the knot and string left inside the tube. Thread the other end through the back bottom part of the tube attached to your pet’s head – leave a little bit of string between the body and head – it’s your pet’s neck!
Attach the Body to the Control Sticks. First, lash your two sticks together using this tutorial or, if you’d like, you can make a simple marionette with just one stick controlling the body and head (two sticks will control the body, head, and two or four feet). Tie the string that you threaded through your pet’s head up and to one end of your control sticks. Cut a final piece of cotton thread about 18-24 inches long and thread it onto your blunt needle, tying a knot at the end. Thread your string up through the middle or end (towards the tail) of your pet’s body, again taping down the knot and extra string inside the tube. Tie the other end to the other end of your control stick, opposite to where the head is tied. If you would like to have your marionette’s feet move, tie more string running from each foot to the perpendicular control stick (the one crossing the stick where the head and body is tied). Tie either the two front feet to each side of your control stick, or all four of your feet!
Now it’s time to PLAY! Take your pet for a walk, feed it, play – whatever you’d like to do, your pet can too! So which will you make – a cat, a dog, or one of each?!
Does your pet marionette look like a dog or cat you know? Could you make a marionette version of your own pet? What would it look like? How would you decorate it? Give it a try!
Think about the different qualities and traits that Martin, Sylvia, and Daddy talk about that make you either a cat person or a dog person. What traits do you have? What do you like about these traits? What would you like to learn?
About the Authors
Andrea Folsom describes herself as a writer, editor, creative maker, and eternal optimist. She is passionate about learning and sharing new creative techniques, making beautiful spaces, and talking about the social-emotional benefits of creativity and art. She runs Crafting Connections - a website providing inspiration, practical advice, and projects for creative families - with her close friend Danielle Reiner.
Danielle Reiner describes herself as a creative, a maker, and a mama. At the heart of her story is creativity, though that hasn’t always been the case. She rediscovered her deeply hidden creativity early in adulthood – with a ball of yarn and a couple of knitting needles – and hasn't stopped since. Danielle also runs Crafting Connections - a website providing inspiration, practical advice, and projects for creative families - with her close friend Andrea Folsom.