How to Make a Punch Puppet (Kasperle)

Get a fast start on your next paper mache project or hand-made gift with Jonni’s easy downloadable patterns for masks, animal sculptures and faux trophy mounts. The patterns help you create a beautiful work of art, even if you’ve never sculpted anything before.

Dunja Richter, one of our readers from Germany, offered to show us how to make traditional hand puppets that are used by children (and playful adults) in Europe. Irini, another reader, helped with the translation. Dunja also sent a document that shows what the different characters look like, along with their personalities. You can see it or download it here (pdf). Thanks, Dunja, and Irini, for sharing this fun project. I can imagine a group of kids having a great time putting on a play with these puppets.

How can I make a paper mache hand puppet for the Kasperle puppet theater?

What you need: Fantasy and good ideas!

Head:

  • Wallpaper paste
  • Kasperle Hand PuppetNewspaper
  • Plasticine
  • Decoration (buttons, lace, collar, etc.)
  • Knife
  • Color and colorless varnish
  • Glue
  • Wool for hair
  • Decoration as desired and fantasy (Hat, cap, glasses, etc.)

Dress:

  • Marking Plasticine FormColorful fabric of choice
  • Thicker fabric or felt for the hands
  • Needle, thread, scissors

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1.Mix some wallpaper paste

2.Snip some pieces of newspapers into small pieces of about 1 – 2 cm  and mix them into  the wallpaper paste.

3.Let it soak.

4.Molding the Puppet Head Take some plasticine and mold an oval, approx. as big as you can see on the photo. Incise a cross as ledger lines. They indicate lines in. The horizontal line defines the position of the eyeballs.

5.Mold a head. Take into consideration that there should fit a finger inside the head. Don’t forget to mold a small neck and a little torus.
Maybe something like this. Not too many details:

Cutting the Puppet Head6. Now put on the soaked news paper snippets. Each piece of paper separately! Use a pencil or something like that to work out the slots well. Make 5 or 6 layers at least.

7. Now the paper layers have to dry well. Are you sure that the layers really dried well?

8. Now cut the head lengthwise into two parts through the middle of his nose (so you have a right part of the face and a left side of the face). Use a sharp knife.

9. Remove the plasticine from the paper carefully and try not to damage the head. The head of the punch puppet should be hollow.

Kasperle Puppet Fitting on Finger10.Put the two halves of the head together and put  another 5 or 6 layers of paper pieces at least on it. Allow it to dry very well. Now the head should be hollow and should fit on a finger.

11.If you’d like to mold more details, please use Jonnis paper mache clay. Don’t forget to sand the head or make some small holes into the paper mache head to make sure that the papermache clay will stick to the puppet. Allow to dry thoroughly. Paper mache clay look here: http://ultimatepapermache.com/paper-mache-clay

12.Now you can paint the head according to your ides. Hair or hats can be glued. There are many suggestions in the internet for a Kasperle-Handpuppet.
You can find them here for instance.

613. Now, your puppet needs something to wear! What does Kasperle like to wear? Have a look by clicking this link.

  • You need one cut for all dresses, but you can use different fabrics and colors.
  • Extend the cut according to the grid and cut the pattern out. (1 square = 1,5 cm, picture 1)
  • Fold your fabric in the middle so that you’ve  got two layers and put your cut upon it. Think of the seam allowance of ~ 1 cm
  • 7All additional things like patches, suspenders, buttons,  medals, ect. should be sewed onto the fabric before you sew the parts together.
  • In case you haven’t got selvages on the fabric,  hem the seams close to the edge.
  •  Lay your fabrics correct side up and sew the dress. Cut the seams close to the hem and turn the dress inside out.
  • Finger Puppet with Hand Inside The hands (picture 2) are made of felt or a tighter fabric and are cut twice, sewn and pushed into the sleeves. Fix them with a few stitches on the sleeves.
  •  Slip with your hand into the dress and put the puppets head onto your forefinger. Fix it well with the neck, e.g. with a double faced adhesive tape. When the kids play with the Kasperle puppet, he may slip off their little hands, so you do well to fix the dress well on the head.

Or simply: Kasperles clothes should be as tight as possible on your hand, so that he might not slip down. Just sew a  rectangle and fix at the top corners his hands. Pull in a cord which you can tie tightly around his neck. Remember, someone else might have larger hands than you have, so tailor it not too tight.

Kasperle Finger Puppet in ActionKasperle Finger PuppetsFinished is the Kasper hand puppet!

And now:
Tri tra tralala!
Lets play for the kids! Have fun!

 

 

 

 

 

Note from Jonni: Thanks again, Dunja, for putting this together for us! And thanks also to Irini for helping. I went out to YouTube and found a video showing these guys in action. I don’t speak German, so I sure hope they aren’t saying anything naughty!

8 thoughts on “How to Make a Punch Puppet (Kasperle)”

  1. I totally love this project! I especially love the clothing pattern! I plan to make a bunch of these for fun! Thanks again for the post!

  2. How do you use the translator in Firefox? I tried it and do not know how to transfer it to this site. I would like for Dunja to be able to read my comments too.

    • Hi Christine. I didn’t know about the Google translator add-on until your comment. I just now added it to my Firefox tools, and it’s working great. Thanks!

      It looks like Dunja would need to have the add-on downloaded to her computer and attached to her browser. If she does, she could highlight your comment, right-click, and choose the “translate selection” from the dropdown box. I’m pretty sure she already uses Google translate, but I don’t know if she has the add-on, or if she uses the Firefox browser. But I do know she’ll figure it out. 😉

      • Hello Jonni, Christine and Irini! I understand all the words (almost). And i use different translators. But to write all the text in Englisch was for me to mutch. Irini help me for this. I am pleased that it appeals to many people. Thank you!
        Warm greetings to all. Dunja 🙂

  3. I used to watch Mr. Rogers in the 70’s and growing up in the Philippines I used to play with these puppets, but that was eons ago. Now, I can make the puppets of my youth. I will try my hand at this, thanks Dunja.

  4. I just watched the Kasperletheather. No Jonni, it isn’t naughty at all! It’s just,that Seppl should play some music and Kasperle wanted to dance with his grandmother 😉

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