30 Days of Dolls:
Paper finger puppet dolls for storytelling
No. 12: A Finger Family for Nursery Rhyme Fun
In my quest to make a variety of dolls in this 30 days of dolls series, I wanted to be sure to make dolls out of all kinds of materials. Doll making doesn’t have to be limited to using fabric or felt, and I love to use paper to make all kinds of things so a set of paper dolls was on my mind. Luckily, I recently bought a how-to book showing how to draw cute Japanese illustrations using ball point pen, and there was a body shape just the right size for this project. I snaffled it!
These finger puppet dolls for storytelling are proving to be a big hit with baby Jack. I think it is because they are a bit colourful, but also small enough for him to see easily and focus on. He has been cacking himself when I put them on my fingers and jiggle them about. Ned has been a bit in love with them too. I made them as a little surprise for him on Saturday when he was off at the farm with his daddy, but I think we’ll be making a set of his very own, featuring his own drawings (or at least colourings) too. They are a little fragile but the great thing is that they are easy to make, and don’t take much time at all.
Why not make a family too? You could make your own family and tell family stories using them as little props. Add your dog and cat, or grandparents, or special aunties and uncles, or friends. Make as many people as you need, and swap them around.
I think it would be a pretty cool way to tell folk tales such as the Three Bears, Three Little Pigs, Rapunzel, Briar Rose, and Little Red Riding Hood too. Imagine the fun you might have drawing up those characters.
Finger Puppet Dolls For Storytelling
Top to bottom, left to right:
1. Draw the outline of your person in fine line marker pen. The character needs to be no longer than the first two sections of your finger as shown.
2. I used some characters from an illustration book as my inspiration and added my own elements, such as hair, and handbags and colours and designs on clothes.
3. Trace your original outline onto new paper, then colour your pictures in using pencil.
4. I use Lyra pencils as they are nice to use and vibrant.
5. Complete your family of characters.
6. Glue each character onto a sheet of cardboard.
7. Cut out the character carefully.
8. Put them aside.
9. Cut a shadow background for each character. This is a second piece of plain cardboard that will be used to fix the character to the puppet holder.
10. To make the puppet holder, cut a strip of cardboard and wrap it around your chosen finger. Push a needle through the cardboard to make a hole for the paper fastener/brad. Push the fastener through from inside the ring.
11. Use the needle to prepare the hole for the fastener in the shadow piece.
12. Push the paper fastener through the shadow piece and open out the wings to hold it all in place. Glue the character onto the shadow piece and allow to dry. Be sure to match the puppet to the right puppet holder. Eg Ring finger puppet on ring finger puppet holder.
This is my little family.
Daddy, Mummy, Brother, Sister, Brother.
Here’s a traditional finger play song you could use with these finger puppet dolls for storytelling.
Here is the father, short and stout
Here is the mother, with children all about
Here is the brother, so tall you see
Here is the sister, with dolly on her knee (as lovely as can be)
Here is the baby, sure to grow
And here is the family, all in a row.
Have you any other finger plays you might use?