I do some work every summer for a great charity, where I organise the craft group.
This year the entertainment group remade The Lion King. They asked me to come up with some bird puppets for the opening scene. I had to make them simple enough for my group to make, but I decided that I wanted the bird’s wings to be flappable.
Some toilet rolls, elastic and fun foam later…
Here’s how I did it…
Tailors awl or sharp instrument
Craft knife (you get a much nicer finish if you cut the foam using a knife instead of scissors)
Hot air gun (optional for tail)
Cutting board or surface
Pins (optional for tail)
Funky foam/fun foam* – including one sheet of a3
Toilet roll tube/wrapping paper tube or similar tube
Fishing line* – the thickest/highest strength you can get
1cm elastic cut into 6 lengths of 15cm (any colour)
2.5 cm elastic, 50 cms long. (any colour)
pencil* or piece of dowel cut into 2 (maximum length of 12 cm)
wooden strips/looly sticks/anything that doesn’t bend under pressure x 2
feathers, googly eyes, fabric etc for decorating.
Cheap fishing rod (bought from ebay at £5)
- Cut out your wing shapes (with the base a maximum of 12cm wide)
- Cut the tube so it is around 12 cm long.
- Cover the tube in fabric or funky foam, with the seam on the top.
- Punch a hole in each wing -7cm in, in the middle.
- Cut 2 x 3metre lengths of fishing line.
- Thread a length through one of the wings holes and around the wooden strip. Tie in a knot around the wood.Hot glue the wood to the foam so that the end is flush with the end of the wing which will be closest to the body, catching in the loose fishing line end of the knot in the glue.
- Cut 3 slots into the sides of the tube (where the wings will attach). Thread the 1 cm elastic lengths into the slots, around the pencil and back out the same slot.
- Put a dab of hot glue on each end of the pencils to stop them slipping out.
- Glue the elastic lengths to the wings, top and bottom so that the wing is sandwiched between the elastic.
- Measure 25 cm and mark the 2.5cm elastic with a pen. Glue each end of the elastic to the end of the wood furthest from the body, over lapping it so that it is glued to the foam wing as well for added strength. This forces the wings into an ‘up’ position.
- Glue the central point (which you found just now) to the centre of the tube body.
- Cut 4 strips of foam 1.5 x 7cm and glue these over the elastic, to the foam wings – 2 on each wing (as guides for the elastic).
- Glue the foam ball to the tube. I glued the tube first and pushed the ball to it. Then I ran a line of glue around the join and smoothed it flat with a wet finger. *be very careful –its very hot hence the WET finger!
- Bend the end of fishing rod so that its at a right angle to the rod.
- Make a hole in the bottom of the body/tube and poke the loop end of the rod you’ve just bent into the hole.
- Hot glue the rod to the inside top of the tube and around the hole opening so that its very secure.
- Thread the 2 bits of fishing line through all the loops on the rod and tie in a knot at the bottom. (you might want to tie a piece of ribbon or something similar to the bottom to stop it coming out of the loops and so you can find it easily)
- Decorate the body. To make the beak I made, cut 2 shapes, and hot glue them to the head, at an angle.
- To make the same curly tail I did, cut strips of foam and wind them into a coil. Pin the end so it stays shut. Point a hot air gun at the coil for about 20 seconds, moving it around as you do so as not to concentrate in one area. Unpin the coil and hot glue it to the back of the body for a tail.
- Use fabric and more foam to cover all of the elastic etc and add feathers for added texture. When decorating your bird remember not to glue anything to the elastic as it needs to run smoothly through the ‘runner’s’ you made earlier.