Felt Finger Puppets — Kokeshi Doll and Robot

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Finger puppets are a fun and easy project to make. Wool felt is one of my favorite things to work with because it’s easy to cut, easy to sew, and easy to glue. I have a thing for robots and kokeshi (a traditional Japanese craft wooden doll), and I thought it would be fun to do versions of both. The red robot was machine- and hand-sewn, and the yellow robot was only hand-sewn. The kokeshi puppets were glued together, and then accents (faces and cherry blossoms on the kimonos) were added with hand stitching.
- wool felt scraps in various colors; 5½" × 3" (14 × 7.6 cm) largest needed
- fabric glue
- Handy the Robot and Sakura Kokeshi (see templates below)
- 1⁄8" (3 mm) hole punch (to punch eyes)
- 7-mm sequins (I used 28 in head band)
- 9-mm sequins (I used 4 in head band)
- 3-mm sequins (I used 16 to make a circle detail on the yellow robot and 5 on the red robot, 3 on his front, 2 on his mouth)
- cotton embroidery floss in various colors, double and triple strands
- backstitch, blanket stitch, French knot, straight stitch

Step 1

a) Download the PDF template for the felt finger puppets.
b)Transfer Methods include: tracing with water-soluble pen or freehand drawing or wax-free transfer paper. If the pen won’t show up on felt use permanent marker; cut inside the lines or stitch over them.

Step 2

For Both Puppets
a) Trace the templates and cut out all your pieces. If you traced the templates with permanent marker, cut just inside the lines. Freehand draw or trace the accent designs using wax-free paper on your pieces as needed.
b) Stitch the puppet front and back panels together with a 1⁄8" (3 mm) seam allowance; turn right side out. Or sew the pieces together with a blanket stitch; no need to turn right side out.

Step 3

Handy the Robot
a) Cut or punch holes for the eyes; glue in place using pins to secure until dry (see A). Assemble the front panel. Option A: Cut and glue a star, and then attach three sequins on the left side with French knots. Option B: Create a circle of glue and place sequins in the glue (see B). When dry, add French knots in the sequin centers (these add a great detail and help to secure the sequins). Make (approximately) three cross-stitches in contrasting colors on the left.
b) Stitch the mouth with a straight or a running stitch; feel free to accent with sequins or make a different mouth shape.
c) Fold in the upper arm edges to overlap in the center, making the arms skinnier at the top, and pin. Tack the edges together with a running stitch, or machine-sew (see C). Tack the arms onto the
body using French knots.
d) Tack the panels to the body using a blanket stitch or French knots in the corners.
e) Feel free to decorate more; add a star to the back, or a head decoration. For the head decoration I created, thread a needle and pull the needle from the inside through the top of the robot’s head. Layer your sequins in order: fourteen 7 mm, four 9 mm, and fourteen 7 mm. Pull the thread back inside of the head and tie off.

Step 4

a) Start by embroidering the face and the flower detail on kimono.
b) Glue hair together, placing the small dots on top of large dots; let dry. Place them at an angle on
the main hairpiece and glue.
c) Glue the face onto the body and then glue the hair onto the face.
d) Glue kimono to the body, making sure the flower detail shows on the outside. I found it easier to add glue as I went around the body. Immediately wrap the obi (belt) around the robe about 1" (2.5 cm) from the bottom and have it overlap in the back; glue. The belt helps keep the robe in place as the glue dries. Now that you have all your finger friends, have a puppet show!

Step 5

Reprinted with permission from "Knot Thread Stitch: Exploring Creativity through Embroidery and Mixed Media" by Lisa Solomon (Quarry Books).

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