No-Sew Wooden Marionette Puppets

Hi guys!  So we're in the middle of major puppet craziness at my house right now.  There's nothing like puppets to combat a bit of summer boredom, right?

Today I've over at Make It and Love It showing how to make felt animal puppets (you can see the dragon puppet above, but I show how to make 3 more great puppets too).  

Right now though I'm going to show you how to make these wooden new sew marionettes!

There's something about wooden marionettes that I find so incredibly charming...but you don't have to use wood!  You could easily substitute with cardboard and metal washers. 

The faces are just made with marker, and the clothes are just glued on.
They truly are easy to make, and a great project to do with your kids, especially if they are a bit older.  My 5 year old LOVED these guys.  My 3 year old had a bit of a hard time when the arms and legs got tangled.
but even my 3 year old loved watching them come together (and she loved taking pictures of me making them too!) 

Are you ready to get started?
Here's what you'll need:
  • Wood doll pin heads (mine had a 1/2 inch hole)
  • Wooden washers
  • Yarn
  • Dowel that fits your doll pin heads 
  • 1 inch wooden blocks
  • Something to cut your dowel, either a saw (or pruning sheers!)
  • Drill
  • Hot glue gun
  • Beads for the "hair"
  • Fabric scraps for the clothes
-I bought most of my wooden pieces either online here or at JoAnn's.

Cut your dowels so they are 3-4 inches long (or however long you want your body to be!)

Then use a small drill bit to make holes in the dowel and the wooden blocks.  I thought this might be hard to do (since the pieces are so small) but it was actually pretty easy.  I just made sure to drill each piece on top of a scarp piece of wood.  That way if if accidentally went through it wasn't a big deal (and I wasn't drilling into my picnic table or something).

Make sure that you leave enough room for the head to go on (so it doesn't cover the hole!)  Drill a hole both for the arms and legs.
Use a needle to thread a piece of the thread through the dowel.
Then tie on the arms and the leg pieces:

The horse just gets four blocks for legs:
Then it's time to embellish, embellish, embellish!  Grab your glue gun!  No real secrets here.  I used markers to make their faces and hair.  I glued on fabric for clothing.  The only thing I actually sewed was the horses mane!  It's just yarn wrapped around and sewed onto a piece of felt. 

The top part of the marionette is just two Popsicle sticks glued at the center.  I tied yarn around the center of the "X" and then tied that string around the neck of the dolls (and then center of the horse's body).  Then it was just time to attach the strings to the top of the marionette.  I just tied the strings right to the leg blocks and the hand rings.

I only attached the strings to the dolls' arms, because it was a lot easier for my kids to manipulate the puppets that way (fewer strings to get tangled!!)  Here they are all finished!

My kids mostly played with them holding them, but we also made a makeshift theater out of a couple of bricks and a few dowels (to rest the puppets on).  This made it easier to play by oneself. 

So much fun!  I loved these puppet projects and I hope you did too!!  Don't forget to head over to Make It and Love It to learn how to make these felt puppets too!!


  1. Hi Jill,

    I was at Makeit-Loveit and saw your puppet tutorial which I am so gonna make for my almost 5 year old's birthday coming up next month. Then I saw these!!! I cant just stop at puppets right:) He would love to play with these. Thanks for a wonderful tutorial.


    1. Hi Pruthu! I hope your son loves them and has a great birthday! They are so much fun to make!



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