Now that my foam was ready, it was time to turn a yard of colorful fleece into a puppet. I had my choice of aqua, periwinkle, sky blue, Kermit green, neon green, grassy green, electric pink, neon pink, light pink, yellows, oranges, reds. Every solid color of fleece that Joann Fabrics had was now in my house.
I nailed the puppet color combination down to three combination choices and left it up to my lovely family and friends to decide. The votes were in. The puppet was to be cyan blue and lime green with aqua hair. Perfect colors for an Earth Protector. I laid the cyan blue fleece out on my dining room table, which was now deemed my workstation and started constructing the body piece. I took my scissors and started cutting. If dull scissors were terrible for cutting foam, they were no match for fleece. I eventually got two pieces cut out.
It was time to come up against my nemesis-the sewing machine. I had never used a sewing machine before. The most experience I had with one was when I opened the box after Christmas and spent two hours trying to figure out what a bobbin was. Luckily, I had 20 yards of fabric left in case I messed this up. Who cares if the puppet ended up multi-colored! Actually, that’s not a bad idea.
I slid the fabric under the needle, put my foot on the presser foot and let it rip. I became one with the machine. My hands gliding in perfect harmony with the fabric. Once done, I pulled on the fabric, snipped the thread, and held the fleece in the air. It was holding together!
I took the body piece downstairs. But before I could cover the foam, I first had to cut out a space for the neck. The only way to do this was to use a razor blade. Side note, be sure to have a few bandaids standing by because if you are anything like me, you’ll need them.
My first try at cutting out a neck hold was awful. It was off center and uneven. I should have been more careful at the beginning, but eventually I kept trimming a bigger hole until it matched. Let’s just say this puppet will have more neck than shoulders, but that’s okay.
I then slid the fabric over the foam and used fabric tack to adhere it together. Other than a few dried glue marks, it looked good.
Next up was the head. I started cutting but I could barely get the scissors though. At that point, I had had enough. I dropped everything, downloaded a 50% coupon, got in my car, and went to my local Michaels craft store. When I was there, I searched for the sharpest scissors known to man. The ones I picked were so sharp in fact they came with a cover.
I got home, took the scissors in one hand and the fleece in the other. I cannot describe the pleasure of that first cut. It was like slicing through vegan cheesecake. So smooth.
After hand sewing the head piece, I was pleased. Not too many bumpy and wobbly bits. Another whiz of the sewing machine and the neck was attached. It looked more like a hooded shroud than a part of a puppet but I trusted that my dear puppet teacher, Adam Kreutinger would not lead me astray.
Next up, the mouth. Oh, the mouth. I didn’t think a piece of five inch oval fabric could give me so much trouble but it did. I had to redo it three times before it fit right. Ripping out the seams, resewing, ripping out the seams, resewing over and over again. Once I had it attached to the head, I realized I never made the mouth plate.
I journeyed to the basement to find a lid from a Tupperware container, as Adam suggested. I had Tupperware bins galore that were full of trains, trinkets, and trucks but no lids. Where were all the lids?? I finally found one buried underneath a stack of waffle blocks. Bingo! I got out my new scissors and started cutting. I opened my contact cement once again, but this time I was smart. I applied the adhesive in the basement and left the door open. Me vs Fumes... Me: 1 Fumes: 0.
Once everything was dry, it was time to slide the fabric over the foam. Instead of gently slipping it on like I hoped would happen, I had to forcibly stuff it over the foam. I pulled so hard I thought it might fall apart in my hands. It took a few minutes of finagling, but I eventually got it on.
And viola, it was now looking less like a warrior from the middle ages and more like a puppet. Lots of work left to do but I feel I’ve overcome the biggest hurdle! Let’s hope anyway.