One of the challenges I face as I teach my “Intro to Puppets” class at the Tuscarawas County Center for the Arts is where to find the supplies for the kids to create their puppets. Luckily, the internet has a lot of vendors that are absolutely fantastic to work with and offer quality supplies at reasonable prices.
These are my top three vendors I use for patterns, materials, and supplies. I hope you will use them as well!
Mendel’s on the Web – a San Francisco, CA based company that offers LOADS of art supplies for those of us on the bohemian trek. I have ordered puppet fur from them and absolutely loved the quality material they have sent. For my puppets, I use their Punky Muppet fur and absolutely LOVE the results. You can find them on Facebook.
Project Puppet– ProjectPuppet.com is where I buy all my puppet patterns (to date, I own 6 of the ones they offer… I’m close to investing in the last three). They are easy to use, understandable, and best of all, affordable! My students have no trouble using their website to order and print their patterns for class, and in the unlikely event that we’ve had an issue (to date there’s only been one and I’ve used this site for three years), the customer service team at ProPup is amazing! I can’t say enough good about these people. They’re fabulous. 🙂 In addition to patterns and supplies, they also offer video tutorials and a photo gallery of finished puppets for inspiration. Talk about awesome! 🙂
Speaking of Tutorials, I HIGHLY recommend this video series from Creature Works’ Tom Stewart. He uses the Project Puppet.com Roly Poly pattern for his video demonstration that covers basically everything you ever wanted to know about puppet building but were afraid to ask, including a blinking eye mechanism tutorial. (It’s so great he’s inspired me to make my own video series in the next class that I teach.)
Puppet Planet – This website is from Michele Acquin in North Carolina and has a lot of resources for puppeteers. There’s a great FAQ page that helps explain about copyright issues regarding puppets as well as a supplies page where you can purchase a variety of items. I personally love the ability to purchase post-and-washer attachable eyes. (If you’re lost about that, watch Tom Stewart’s tutorials. He’ll explain.) Reasonable and fantastically friendly, I love Michele’s site, her creativity, and willingness to share her puppets with the rest of us!
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So there is a little bit of background and logistics for finding puppet materials nad supplies. I hope this has inspired you to make some puppets of your own!