String Puppet


En Español
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    Here's what you need to make your String Puppet!

    • 3 straight straws (2 narrow, 1 wider)
    • Fishing line (or thin string or thread)
    • Scissors or single-hole punch
    • Tape
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    Notch the straws

    • Use scissors or a single-hole punch to cut notches in the side of a narrow straw. These are the straw’s “joints.”
    • Experiment! Where you cut the notches will change the way the straw moves. Cut notches on the same side of one straw. Then with the second narrow straw, notch on different sides.
    • TIP: If you want your “arms” to bend in one direction… Make sure your notches are along the same side of the straw.
    • TIP: If you want your “arms” to bend in different directions… Alternate the notches on either side of the straw.
    • TIP: If your joints don’t bend easily… Cut a deeper notch (but not too deep!). There needs to be some rigidity for the straw to go back to its normal shape when you let go of the string.


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    Thread the string

    Cut a piece of fishing line three times the length of a straw. Thread it through one of the narrow straws.

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    Tape the string

    • When the string pokes through the end of the straw, bend it over the tip and tape it. Leave the other end loose.
    • Cut another piece of fishing line and thread it through the second narrow straw. Tape it as you did with the first.
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    Make it move

    Pull the loose strings. Watch your straws bend. What ideas does this give you? What type of puppet will you make?

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    Feed the strings

    Pull the loose strings of both narrow straws into and through the wider straw.

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    Wedge the straws

    • Wedge the ends of both of the narrow straws into the wider straw, far enough down that they are secure. Both strings should now hang out of the bottom of the wider straw.
    • TIP: If you wedge the narrow straws too tightly into the wider straw… Back them out a bit. The string needs to be able to slide easily without catching or rubbing.
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    Tape the ends

    To pull both strings easily, tape them together and make a tab that lets you pull the two ends of string together.


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    Give it a tug

    Pull the tab and watch both “arms” (or maybe they are “legs”) of your puppet move.

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    Get creative

    Decorate your puppets! Add a head, body, and eyestalks, arms, and legs.

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    Did you know?

    Ever go fishing? A fishing rod makes clever use of materials so you can cast a lure and reel in a fish. The rod is elastic—it returns to its original position after being bent. Its springiness sends a lure flying. Once you hook a fish, the elasticity makes the fish tired as it works against the rod’s springiness. The fishing line is good in tension—a pulling, stretching force. Because the line holds firmly when pulled, you can reel in a fish. A fishing rod is an effective tool because of the way it combines materials that have different properties.

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    Try this next!

    • Put on a puppet show. How many different types of people, animals, and creatures can you make?
    • Make a backpack dangle. Attach your puppet to a key ring and hang it from your backpack.
    • Make wearable puppets and action jewelry. Make a headband with antennas that can pop up. Make a bracelet or pin that moves with an action feature. Pin a string puppet to a hat.