T-Stick Puppets

Puppets are a great way for students to become a character, act out a story, or role play tough situations. There are endless ways to make and use puppets.

Suggested Reused Materials:

  • Base: a dowel, chop stick, frame piece, natural wood or cardboard tube
  • Arms: Popsicle stick, skewer, chop stick, cardboard strips, straws
  • Head: Styrofoam ball, plastic Christmas ornament, model magic, felt, fabric, ping pong ball, large beads, belt buckles, tassels, paper, paper maché
  • Hair: ribbon, zippers, yarn, raffia, trim, paper, fake flowers, fake fur, beads, pins, brass brackets
  • Eyes: beads, buttons, jewels, clay, paper, fabric, felt, tape
  • Mouth: tape, beads, buttons, felt, ribbon, chording, pins
  • Clothing: fabric scraps from all types of materials-wool, silk, cotton, felt, velvets all work great-cloth should be cut into in rectangular strips to make a simple tunic
  • Belt: ribbon, trim/yarn/leather

Applications Across Subjects:

  • Measuring materials
  • Engineering/construction of puppet
  • How-To books (about making the puppet)
  • Non-fiction writing about the puppet character
  • Fiction writing about the character (inventing a character)
Social Studies
  • Acting out fiction and nonfiction stories with the puppet
  • Acting out a character from history and what they life/situations where like
  • Exploring puppet materials, what they are made of, where they are found
Social & Emotional
  • Role-play tough situations, common issues among students/youth


The T-stick armature is made from a piece of wood that is a base and anther that becomes arms. Attach arm piece ½ to ¾ inch from top of base with hot glue. This small space will become the neck of your puppet (If you don’t want to use glue you can wrap telephone wire or pipe cleaner around the arm piece to attach to base). Wrap wire around stick tightening with pliers until wire is secure enough to be manipulated. Then,  wrap with duct/gaffer tape to strengthen hold.

You will need a head, a piece of clothing to become a tunic and material to make a belt with.

Take your chosen fabric and fold it in half long-wise. The amount of fabric you begin with depends on what you are making, for a shirt, the fabric will fold into a square, for a dress the fabric will fold into a rectangle.

Pick up your fabric with folded material facing you and fold the material width wise.

Make a tiny cut in center of fold.

This is the neckline for costume-you only need a tiny slit just enough to slip over stick.

Open fabric up and slip over stick.

Cinch in fabric where the puppet’s waist is and tie with yarn or trim to make a belt. Attach head.

Additional T-Stick Puppet Ideas:

Queen of Hearts: If you replace the cross stick with a plastic tube or strong straw you can run wire through allowing arm movement. You can also glue some tubing at waist point of base stick for the skirt to flair as if the puppet has hips. The felted heart head took almost two hours to create stabbing carded and cleaned red wool with a felting pin into the heart shape.

Materials reused: T-shaped armature made with a plastic tube shoulders and hips;  Felted Heart head; Wire; Satin fabrics; Lace; Trim; Ribbon; Velvet flower; Purple gem.

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