This spring we made some puppets for a community theatre production of The Wizard of Oz. The Ottawa School of Theatre’s production at the Shenkman Arts Centre will feature over 100 performers—and three puppets. We had a lot of fun making these puppets.

If you’d like to see bigger images of the puppets, we’ve set up a little gallery here.

Can you tell how John used these ….

The Tin Man

  • A coffee can
  • A martini glass, upside down with the stem cut off
  • Four spoons
  • A bicycle washer (part of a brake)
  • A fitting from an old lamp
  • A funnel from Preston Hardware
  • Aluminum tubing given to us by our puppet mentor Felix Mirbt 40 years ago
  • Four large jewelry beads
  • Big lug nut that John found by the side of the road many years ago
  • Shock cord
  • A metal truncated cone shape modeled on a paper cup

…. To make these?

  • The head
  • The neck
  • The shoulders
  • The nose
  • The mouth
  • Knees and elbows
  • A way to hold leg parts together
  • Leg and arm pieces
  • The chest
  • Hands and feet
  • Hat

The Lion

I made the Lion puppet from fun fur fabric that was given to us by another puppet mentor, Noreen Young. I reworked the pattern that I used for Moustache, our cat puppet from The Flying Canoe. I made the body the way I make bodies for all of our puppets—cutting out rectangles, first in paper then in fabric: the torso, the arms, the legs, the feet, the hands. I bought the mane at Fabricland – in the ribbon department. They sell fluffy fur in long strips, perfect for making puppet manes!

The Scarecrow

Scarecrows are often made by stuffing a pillow case with straw, so I sewed a small pillow case shape and stuffed it with fiberfill. I sewed bits of raffia onto long strips of the same fabric to look like straw. The hat is like a witch’s hat, similar to the hat in the original book illustrations. I put the mouth on at an odd angle, so that he could be happy/sad/perplexed depending on the situation. The coat was a Salvation Army Thrift Store find—it’s just like the coat that the actor playing the Scarecrow will wear in the show. It was a child sized shirt, put I cut it down to become a puppet sized coat.

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