Puppetry – make a talking puppet with Isobel Smith

Automata, puppets and clocks

Ref: S1D11599

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About this course

Transform a large soft toy into a simple and very effective moving mouth puppet and understand the puppetry techniques to make it talk. A perfect puppet making technique for story tellers, theatre makers, play workers and those working or playing with early years children.

Course Description

On this informative and fun one day course you will use sewing, gluing, painting and sculpting techniques to transform a soft toy into a puppet with a moving mouth.

You will carry out necessary surgery on the toy to turn it into a puppet, make a simple moving mouth mechanism and understand the theory behind it before integrating it into the toy and finishing the puppet. Finally the tutor will demonstrate the puppetry techniques required to get your puppet talking … singing … shouting … breathing … and encourage you to have a go.

You will learn how to:

Transform a soft toy into a fantastic puppet

Make an effective talking puppet

Make your puppet talk convincingly

Make a simple moving mouth mechanism

Integrate the opening mouth into the toy

Learn basic puppetry techniques for talking mouth puppets

You will leave with:

A ready to work talking puppet

Knowledge of techniques transferable to ongoing puppetry projects

Confidence in puppetry techniques for talking puppets

This course is part of our 50th anniversary celebrations – learn a traditional skill with a selection of 50 special one-day courses inspired by original 1970s subjects or focusing on heritage crafts.


Timetable for one day courses

Students should arrive by 9am for registration.

Classes are from 9.15 - 5pm

Lunch is included.

Course Materials


  • On this course the tutor will supply some of the materials including:
  • Stuffing, spare soft toys, cardboard fabric scraps and tights.
  • On this course, the College will also supply some of the materials including:
  • Felt squares and glue guns with hot glue sticks.

What students need to bring

  • A soft toy large enough to get your arm inside
  • A sewing kit if you have one (basics will be provided): needle, thread, scissors
Wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. Safety boots, if specified.


Isobel Smith

Isobel Smith lives and works in East Sussex, UK. She completed her MA in Sculpture/Performance at the Royal College of Art in 2017. She has exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery, and performed at the Tate Modern and Performance Festivals in the UK and abroad. Her practice crosses sculpture, performance and moving image.

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