Marionettes – take two

The marionettes the year 6/7 students are making are nearing completion.

This project has certainly captured their interest and I think the combination of tools use (pliers, side cutters, knives, hot glue guns etc), technical issues (stringing, balance, weight distribution) and aesthetics (painting, costume making and props) has meant there’s been something for everyone.

I’m impressed with the problem solving that’s gone on, the sharing of techniques (inserting eyelets is TRICKY without a power drill) and the support they’ve given each other along the way.

We’ve also covered logic too. So just because your puppet / controller / lower marionette limb has gone missing doesn’t automatically mean there’s a nefarious puppet thief loose in the classroom. Especially when you find the missing pieces not soon after…

Making Marionettes

Rod puppets – easy.

Shadow puppets – easy.

Marionettes – tricky, tricky, tricky.

First up there are the limbs to cut. Each puppet needs eight limbs, so with thirty puppets – 240 limbs. A visit to Bunnings and I’m the happy owner of ten 1m lengths of dowel (which is cheaper if you buy the shorter lengths).

Add in sixty hands and feet, ┬áthirty torsos and heads and – and probably about 600 eye-screws.

Now there was a win. Searching on eBay brought up a couple of possibilities and ten minutes later two 500 piece bags were mine. And only $10.

Another five minutes later and I bid on a bag of 1000 screws. Two days later and the bag was mine, for $1.54.

Yes, $1.54.

Free postage.

Now how can anyone make a profit on 1000 eye-screws for $1.54? Oh, and free postage too.

The students have started their painting. Some have an amazing eye for detail and some just have an amazing imagination. The early finishers have already found the box of cloth and are making shirts and skirts. Next step: cutting out the heads and feet.


Dinosaur Shadow Puppets

Made up some dinosaur shadow puppets for the R/1/2 class to play with as part of their puppet unit. The KNK Maxx cutter is quite amazing once you can stop it ripping the card up on the fiddly bits!

The dinosaurs are from Lettering Delights. they were simplified in Adobe Illustrator then cut out using ‘Make the Cut’ software. Make the Cut is workable but a touch frustrating after using Corel Draw or Illustrator; you really have to approach it with a different headset.

I’m still discovering new features though and since it can readily import ai files, it’s easy enough to do the tricky stuff in Illustrator first.

Sample shadow puppets

Zombie with brain

Sample shadow puppets

Diplodocus and pterodactyl

Shadow puppets of dinosaurs

And two more dinosaurs...


Safari Finger Puppets

Safari Finger PuppetsThese little creatures caught my eye in the Adelaide Airport today. A bit(!) pricey at AUD $10 for just four cardboard puppets but I figured my Year 6 students can reverse engineer them and make their own.

The fact they’re made from cardboard rather than cloth or foam is very clever and the movement mechanism would make a whole Deign & Technology lesson in itself.

I haven’t seem them in shops anywhere else but did locate them online at NPW where they also have some cute Dino and Farm finger puppets.

There are also some intriguing hand puppets there too, all made from cardboard.