Puppet building


New Member
Sep 23, 2017
United States, Michigan

I am working on a production of "Tuck Everlasting", which calls for a toad puppet. In our instance, we're looking for a rather large one, maybe 18-20" long/wide, 10-12" high? I've built puppets before, though never anything with a body similar to a frog.

It's meant to be a very stylized depiction of a frog, certainly doesn't need to be life like or terribly realistic, but I'm wondering where to start. The hope is to have the head "moveable" so that the actor using the puppet can indicate the direction the frog looks. Other than that, the body can be pretty rigid.

Anyone have any creative thoughts or advice on how to go about this? We have a 3D printer in house, I wondered at the idea of printing the toad? I'm just not quite sure if that would work well though, or if it's worth the print time for such a large object. Might I be better off carving it or sculpting it somehow?

Unfortunately, a hand puppet isn't really what the director is thinking of right now, it's more of a marionette-type puppet we're hoping for here, one hand holding the controller with four strings and one operating the head with some sort of rod or handle.

Any thoughts are much appreciate, thanks folks.


CB Mods
Premium Member
Jul 27, 2006
Portland, Or.
I would certainly look at EVA foam over a ratten armature, then perhaps an Air-brushed Spandex covering. the Spandex would allow you to leve loose areas around the neck and chin so you could leave the mandible loose, basically have it slip inside the the top of the torso belly piece. Since it needs to be Marionette style you really can't go with a spring loaded open or close mouth, you'd need to have it gravity operated with the operating string to pull it shut.
EVA foam covered dowels would work well for arms and legs just use screw-eyes for joint. You could easily sculpt the hands and feet from EVA an, again cover everything in Spandex or Tricot and airbrush the details.
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Active Member
Feb 10, 2010
Upstate NY
Does anyone have any other ideas regarding the toad for Tuck Everlasting? My director would really like something that can hop, but not a marionette... At this point all other options are being considered, but obviously budget is an issue as always!



Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.
May 28, 2009
Phoenix, Az
A good start would be something like this.
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Well-Known Member
Aug 10, 2009
Denver, CO
Warning: brainstormed, not well-thought-out idea follows:

Might be interesting to play with a polagonal design (i.e. computer game-type figures). We did this recently for a stylize tree for a permanent outdoor installation. In our case, we modeled it out in vectorworks, then had each face CNC-cut from plate steel and welded them all together. The nice thing is, the polygons define the shape in 3D as you assemble like a puzzle; no real layout to do.

Now, you could use a lightweight but relatively rigid material like coroplast, if you can find a good way to bond the edges. Perhaps strong tape.