Now, how do we begin? Designing the puppets will be easy, so I will start with my search for a box to accommodate the puppets both for storage and display. I had very good luck in my visit to Michaels and found an unfinished wooden shadowbox in the best size for the job (11" x 14") with a glass panel on the front and wonderful hidden magnets which hold the display case door closed.
With that done, I moved on to cutting my main puppet handle rods from a dowel (cut 2 ; one for each character) and painting them with 2 coats of acrylic paint; one red, one blue. I also painted the finials to match the respective rod. As you will note, I didn't have anything clever to hold my dowels and finials while they were drying, so I improvised by using a mini cupcake pan. I wadded up a ball of aluminum foil into a cupcake section and jammed the dowel down into the middle of it. It held the rod like a charm! As for the finials, I fit them down on the end of the handle of a sponge applicator brush (which I always have handy) and used these nifty sponge handles to hold my finials as I painted them. When it was time to let the finials dry, I left the very tip of the finial (which is flat) unpainted and propped the brush up against my twine drying line until they were dry. By the way, I have included a picture of my twine line which is simply a length of twine tied up to two rather tall candlesticks and stretched. My pic shows how I hang little doll legs with painted boots up to dry in between paint and sealant applications. Pretty neat, eh? If you have longer legs to dry, just raise the candlesticks by setting them up on stacks of books so that the item you are drying does not touch the surface of the table, etc.
As you can tell, I have adapted my dining room table as my studio annex for painting projects, etc.
When the finials were dry enough, I placed craft glue on the bottom of the rod and some into the opening at the end of the finial and carefully pressed them together and let them rest until the glue was completely dry. Then I coated the rods and finials with at least 2 coats of sealant (I like to use Modge-Podge "Satin finish").
So, I hope these little hints have given you some food for thought as well as letting you assess my progress so far. Now I must go back to the drawing board and begin assembling the puppet heads and attaching the rod mechanism.
Be back with Part III shortly....