Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Most MLB teams are in Spring training the month of March. So a green baseball bat puppet can serve duo-roles as an Irish slugger!

Something fishy here...

When Ron Havens sent me a small wooden toy hand puppet, asking if I could rig it so it worked like "Jose Jalapeno", in new he wanted some sort of trigger control in the back of the headstick. But the stick was too short so I added an extension. Then a string was attached to the top rear of the head (which was already hinged), threaded through a hole I drilled in the lower half of the head and tied to a "U" shaped control lever I made. It worked well - just noisy when the mouth was closed since the halves of the head were wood. So I gave the talking-swimmer a felt tongue (I know fish do not have tongues, but it's a puppet!), and problem solved. Ron plans to use it in a classroom setting, and for that purpose, I believe it will work very well. Just another pocket puppet variation

Cupid's Puppet Pals

This is just another variation of the gift box puppet. The mouth is opened and closed from the bottom of the box (which becomes the back of the box when tilted upright for performance).
Face is hidden until the lid is removed.
A unique expression of love!

Probably the most unique construction feature of this puppet is the mouth which is built with a sliding up and down design, allowing it to be used on a flat surface. No strings. Just a knob on the back side. The knob is mounted directly to the moving piece which is moved up and down manually. The entire face surface and mouth unit is made of lightweight (yet durable) 1/8" foam core board.

#444 Crazy Bird

Probably one of the top 3 or 4 best novelty puppets I created. Seven animations:

1) Turning head
2) Open and close Beak
3) Winking eye
4) Blinking eye
5) Flapping wings
6) Wiggling feet
7) Squirts water from beak!

If it didn't take so much time and hand work, I'd be tempted to hatch out a few more! Sold first through Maher Studios, and then by my brother-in-law, Jay Yoder, through his business, Redoy Puppets.

Rise and shine, mates!

This plastic skull was actually designed to be used in a serious manner in the science classroom. And probably (in my opinion) too realistic to be used as a puppet for entertainment if you work with kids. But the owner wanted a vent figure to be used with his walk around act at Renaissance fairs, and it that setting, quite appropriate.

Cheap character!

Taking a $5.95 (on sale) Fall yard decoration and turning it into a ventriloquist figure with head on post, lever controlled mouth, and hollow body had its unique challenges. The biggest I believe, was installing a mouth in the head which was made of a chuck of styrofoam. But when it was completed, you couldn't beat the price!

At his best after dark!

This was a left over Halloween clearance item. An animated singing, twisting wolf-man. I purchased him, I removed the head, opened it and removed the mechanics. Then I installed a head post, added side to side moving eyes, built a body (using the original hands), crossed my fingers and offered it for sale. Hoping I could find a buyer. Much to my pleasant surprise, I soon had a list of people wanting to purchase a wolf-man vent figure! So I hurried to the outlet store to see if I could purchase more to rebuild, but - no luck. Sold out. So he ended up "one-of-a-kind"!

Garden hands

"Can you dig it?"

"Cleanup Pals"


Installing an effective moving mouth into a Christmas Tree was a bit of a creative challenge. But I found a method in which I was quite pleased. Several were sold and it is still one of my favorite holiday novelty puppets.

The "Puppet Gift" became more of a project that I expected when a number of blog readers asked if they could purchase one!

Don't try to peek into this stocking before it's time - he'll tell!

Nutcrackers often are used as puppets. I cut off the handle on this one, and installed it at the ankles as a lever, making it much more effective as a holiday puppet.


Stick-em up! Water gun made into puppet. Pull trigger to open mouth. Fairly easy conversion but it was made of clear plastic so I had to hand paint the pistol to make it effective as a puppet. Too much time involved so this was a one-and-only.

Elmo is recognizable by every tot. This version was sold as a "Trick or Treat" pail. I bought several of them and made one into a puppet with open and close mouth. It worked out nicely. But I only made one due to time restraints. The remainder of the pails await in the darkness of my storeroom!


This huge Styrofoam 2-D skull came from Wal-Mart. It's mounted on a bulletin board which I painted black. The mouth is now animated but not hinged. Rather, it is made to slide up and down to open and close. I put enough time into this project I decided not to sell it - yet. I'm thinking of mounting it on my front porch post some Oct. 31 with remote control and small speaker with wireless mike ... or should I find a friendlier face for such a door greeter? Probably ...


One of my grandsons informed me that the best looking Jack-O-Lanterns should look ferocious and have teeth. Since I'm not a big fan of "ferocious" jack-o-lanterns, I decided to try a compromise. A friendly character with teeth. This was the result. But he's one-of-a-kind ... getting the mouth positioned so it would open and close smoothly with those big interlocking teeth was a surprisingly challenging job. Once is enough!


Some people looked at this puppet and asked me, "Why?" Well, why not? I thought she was sorta cute. Sold as a yard decoration, I converted her to a vent figure with hollow body, head on head post, lever control for the mouth. The head is actually one of the Styrofoam carving pumpkins sold by Michael's. After installing a moving mouth into the pumpkin, I put it on a headpost and then covered it with the original head material, "unstuffed".


The Styrofoam skull is on a head post with a trigger to control the moving mouth. The cape is a net from another cheap yard decoration being closed out by Wal-Mart. I purchase items after the holidays and save them for puppet-building the following year (or as it often works out - the following years).


I knew it would be relatively simple to cut out the mouth on this Styrofoam yard decoration and hinge it for a moving mouth. But I was disappointed in it's visibility. Too small, and the white on gray did not provide the needed contrast.

"Ahh ... much better!"


Another child's candy pail animated. I'm tempted to greet the older tricksters that come to our door with this some year!


The Styrofoam carving pumpkins are a puppet makers dream!


I'm sorry, I need to stay out of the seasonal aisles of stores come Fall of the year!


Finding a child's 3 -pc. garden set in Wal-Mart (rake, shovel and hoe), I decided they'd make a great set of classroom instruction puppets, especially on the subject of being helpful., eliminating the "weeds" from lives and actions. I sold several of each the rake and shovel puppets. But the Mr. Hoe ended being one of a kind because of an unexpected problem. It seems a couple folk misunderstood "Hoe" for "'Ho" (and there's a huge difference!). So
until someone educates folk, I decided just to hang this one up. As a novel helper prop to illustrate garden tilling and cleanup, puppet was ready to serve. But for the record, it's definitely not a street walker!


Just pull the string under the handle to open the mouth. This one squirted water out the end of the upper beak, too!


"Talking Baseball Bats" were fun to build; fun to use. Every time I saw a new color or variety in the store, it called out to me (even without a mouth!) But the game is over for this team, I fear. Cost of shipping for importers for such lightweight bulky products pretty much has ended the production of this style of toy products. "So long, Slugger..."
(Too many puppets; too little time!)

Take a look at this page, too:

Clinton's Novelty Creations 1969-1989