Marionettes

Marionettes have been around for hundreds of years, and for good reason. They are wonderful - simply wonderful. And there is a whole lot to this hobby because you can collect them, you can make them, and you can perform with them. Doesn't get a whole lot better than that! So, maybe one or two of these aspects appeals to you or maybe the whole realm of marionettes and what they are about appeals to you. Either way here is some great information about how you can start in the hobby of marionettes.

You know, I love marionettes. They just harken back to a time gone by, a time of traveling minstrels. And I have made a couple of them along with a traveling marionette theatre. I have even written and performed a little marionette show.

Making a marionette

A marionette of a knight

This is a picture of a marionette I have made. It is a knight. You really don't need a lot of materials to make one yourself. I will give you an overview of this process on how to make a marionette. And I have a more extensive tutorial on my other website here: How to make a marionette. I also have a youtube video you can watch

 

 

 

 

Masking tape and paper marionetteThis picture shows you a lot about how a basic marionette is made. It is alll just either crumpled or rolled newspaper that has been wrapped in masking tape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making the legThis picture shows you a couple of important things. First off I did another marionette that I covered in paper mache. This is a leg segment, just covered in paper mache and set aside to dry. But it also shows you how to connect the various body parts together. I used wire to form hoops. This way I could connect the parts of the body. You could use wire or you could use paper clips. Just make every joint with a hoop.

 

 

 

 

The joint of the marionette

This picture shows two joings with paper clipss. There is a green piece of wire that connects the two of them together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stringing the MarionetteStringing up the Marionette

This picture shows you an easy three string method of connecting the marionette. Just form a cross with two pieces of wood. You could even use long pencils, paint stirrers, yardsticks or rulers.

From the longest end of the long stick send a string to the top of the head This supports the whole marionette.

From each side of the cross you connect a string to each wrist. And there you go. You can manipulate the marionette. The blue lines in the picture show how the strings go.

 

How about a marionette theatre?

Marionette Theatre

You can have a lot of fun with just the marionettes. But adding some kind of a theatre will really add some pizazz to it. It is just a whole lot more fun. You can get a big box like a refridgerator box and use that. or you can make one with a little bit of thin plywood. This picture shows the theatre that I made.

 

 

 

 

 

Back of the Theatre

This picture from the back gives you a good idea of how it is build. I have it all hinged and even the front piece is hinged right in half. This way I can fold the whole thing and put it in the back seat of the car.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Storytelling with Marionettes

 

For me this is the most fun - telling a little story with the marionettes. This is very creative and it doesn't have to be spectacular. With a little bit of though you can come up with something fun. Maybe an adventure or something. I made a knight marionette, a princess marionette and a dragon marionette so you can probably see what my story was about!

 

Advanced Marionette stuff

 

There are a couple of wonderful things about marionettes that I should point out. First off they can be remarkably expressive in many different ways. Once you start learning how to manipulate one you will see just how amazing and life-like they can be. You can spend many hours working on the movements and gestures that they can make.

And, of course, they don't all have to be human. You can make and use all kinds of animals and mythical creatures just as I did with a dragon.

 

 

Books

 

Making and Manipulating Marionettes

Making and Manipulating Marionettes is a superb guide to a craft and performance art that has fascinated audiences for over 2,000 years. Handsomely illustrated throughout, it presents precise instructions for the making of marionettes, both for plays and for acts in the variety tradition. All aspects of marionette design, construction, and control are covered, and there are rare insights into specialized designs and stringing techniques. Contents include an introduction to the marionette tradition and the principles and practicalities of marionette design; advice on materials and methods for carving, modeling, and casting puppet parts; detailed explanations for marionette control, stringing, and manipulation; step-by-step instructions for the construction and jointing of human and animal marionettes; and professional secrets for achieving a wide range of special effects.

 

Book on how to make and work marionettes Marionettes: How to Make and Work Them

This is the complete book of marionette craft, covering every step from conception and construction to performance. More than 400 illustrations supplement easy-to-follow directions for making puppet heads and bodies, stringing marionettes on one- and two-hand controls, operating the puppets, and putting on your own show. Great for beginners.

 

 

 

Marionettes on amazon

 

Red Riding Wooden Marionette

Red riding wooden marionette. -Individually boxed in a window presentation box. -Approximately 15'' tall excluding strings. -Age 5 +. Specifications: -Material: Wood. -Height: 15''.

 

 

 

Sheep Dog 18" Animal Marionette

Operating this marionette is very easy and the marionette will quickly come to life in your child's hands. Great as teacher's helper and wonderful birthday gift. Promotes the development of fine motor skills.

 

 

 

Wizard Marionette WB1902

Here is our Wizard marionette. This innovative string puppet will hop, skip, and dance simply by moving the control bar and strings. The feet on this marionette are weighted to make these actions easy to maneuver.

As with all of our people marionettes the puppet itself is approximately 16" tall from head to toe. The strings connected to the control bar are around 8" in length. Total length from the top of the "T" control bar to the toe of the marionette is approximately 24".

The control bars we use offer a "tangle free" feature. Simply pop out the peg on the control bar to remove and untangle the strings if need be.

 

Sunny Grey Goat Marionette

  • Animal measures about 10", with the strings and control stick 18"
  • Operates with four strings attached to the plastic crossbar
  • Durable
  • Washable
  • Great addition to the puppet theater

 

 

Girl Marionette

Each puppet is 17 to 18 inches tall plus another 7 inches of string to the control totals 24 to 25 inches in all. Just rock the control from side to side like an airplane dipping its wings to make your marionette walk, skip and hop.

 

 

 

Cool Boy Marionette

Cool Boy has brown hair. He wears black jeans, a navy blue sweatshirt with "COOL" in white, & blue sneakers with white stripes. Stands approximatly 25" tall from the bottom of the feet to the control. Suspended by black cords attaching to the head, each hand, & each foot.