Magazine article Sunset

These Puppets Are Home-Baked

Magazine article Sunset

These Puppets Are Home-Baked

Article excerpt

Whimsical puppets, molded easily and quickly from plastic modeling clay, offer their young creators theatrical and artistic diversion.

You can find materials at art supply or hobby stores. The foil ball keeps the puppet's head a manageable weight. The chopstick keeps it upright.

For each puppet, you'll need:

* I yard heavy-duty foil

* Plastic modeling clay (don't buy nonhardening clay) in different colors, about $5.50 per 16-ounce block, $1.60 for 2 1/2 ounces

* Chopstick or 1/2 -inch dowel

* A 10- by 16-inch piece of fabric or felt

Optional materials: * A puppet platform made from a wood scrap with holes drilled in it, or a 2-inchthick,8-inch-diameter styrene foam disk (to accommodate chopstick supports)

* Acrylic paints, $3 to $7 per 2-ounce tube, and brushes

* Clear polyurethane Other tools and materials include thread, craft glue, rolling pin, knife, sewing machine, baking pan, and foil to line it.

Preparing the clay

To make the clay malleable, knead the amount you plan to use (a chunk about the size of a golf ball) until it's soft and pliant, about 10 minutes. For a marbled effect (we did this for a tabby cat's stripes), twist different-colored strands of kneaded clay together. Modeling the clay

Preheat the oven to 2500 (2750 if you're using only dark-colored clays; at 2750, pale colors tend to scorch). Beginning with step 1, mold the foil into a 2-inch-diameter ball, rolling it over a hard surface until ball is round and smooth; to hold the chopstick support, punch a hole into the base with a screwdriver. …

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