Ok, I've never posted these on this blog before but my friends and family can all tell you that I went through a good 6-8 month period where I made TONS of these puppets! So much FUN! I've done these with girls and boys, although the older the boys get, the less likely they are to want to make them....but I have convinced my teenage son to make one for his little cousin.
I get my templates (free to print at home) from the website Phee McFaddell, from which you can get many different puppets from fairies, to elves, to mermaids, to dragons and more....
You will need:
Card Stock (in the beginning I printed on paper then glued them to old manila folders or other thin card board I had around the house)
Mini Brads (find these in the scrap-booking section of any craft store. They come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. I tend to have a package of mini-colored brads and a package of mini-metallic brads because I prefer different ones depending on the project)
Large Safety Pin
Coloring utensils - I personally prefer colored pencils but you can use anything
Glitter *optional....but looks really wonderful on fairy wings
X-Acto Knife *optional....can make cutting around fingers and little details easier. (Obviously this is not a tool for children to use. Mom may need to help.)
Once you've picked out a template that you like, print it out. I have found it much easier to print right on card stock.
Color each section before cutting the pieces apart, between kids, glue, and even the slightest breeze, these little pieces can get lost or stuck to something else easily.
Once you have completed the coloring process, I like to open the large safety pin and use it (over a cutting pad, cutting board, or thick cardboard) to poke the holes (they are marked with dots on the puppets) in each of the pieces. There are usually quite a few!
The next step is to cut the pieces out using sharp scissors (it just makes cutting through card stock easier). For little children you might have to help with this part as some have very intricate detail to cut around. For kids who do not have long attention spans or the patience to wait for either you or them to cut around all the tiny curves, just come close and take a black marker/crayon/pencil and color the parts on the outside of the figure....it should still turn out great and be fun once finished!
Once all the pieces are cut out, this is when I will typically glitter any pieces. I find that the very fine glitter works best. I just run my glue stick over the piece I want to glitter and then sprinkle the glitter over the glue. I like to gently press down with my finger to be sure it gets in the glue good and will stay around for a while. You can use any color glitter you like, however I personally like to use the clear/white glitter because then the color that you just spent so much time putting into your project will show through. A mistake I made in my first attempts at making these, was that I used too much glitter....it can clump up and it doesn't look as nice. Also if you have too much, your color won't show through in addition to the fact that more glitter will fall off your project because it's too thick.
Using glitter can cause a week or so of glitter on your face, in your hair, on your table, in spite or repeated washings. *wink*
Once I'm done glittering (best if it has had time to dry), I get out my brads and begin piecing the puppets together. The website usually has an instruction page for the puppets, however I have noticed some do not, therefore if this is your first time and your choice didn't have an instruction page, I suggest you pull one up from another puppet to see which part of the leg goes on time...it's a bit like putting a puzzle together.
I will tell you that I've put them all together before only to discover I had the placement off, the wings in the wrong holes, or the bottom of the let being used as the top of the arms....that is why rushing isn't a good idea.
Push the brads through from front to back so you can see the nice side of the brad when looking at the puppet. Gently bend the metal legs back once you've gone through both layers of card stock (sometimes 3 layers as I've done one where the arm and wing went through the same hole)
Once this is done, you should be ready to play! I like to take photos before too much play happens since these are only on card stock they don't last forever.
This year and last year I placed the few remaining fairies that I had (most are always given away as gifts) into our Christmas tree. I had colored an ice fairy in blue and silver with glitter that looked great on my tree (which happens to be in silver, white, and blue). Kids had fun finding the fairy when I told them she was up there. It was almost like 'Where's Waldo'....
Here are a few that have been made by me, my son, and my little elementary aged cousin.