Dates: Friday 13th May – Sunday 15th May 2022 (3 Days)

Location: At our puppet making studio in Hove

Cost: £300

How to design a one person puppet

How to Design a One-Person Puppet

This three-day course is a wonderful opportunity to create a one person operated rabbit puppet, inspired by one of the puppets we created for Dr. Dolittle. Led by Nick Barnes and Caroline Bowman, the course covers a range of puppet making techniques using a variety of materials, including plastazote assembly from a given pattern, basic plastazote sculpting and simple armature construction in wood and aluminium. The course offers an opportunity to learn about and develop invaluable processes and skills for making beautiful and usable contemporary puppets.

The course takes place at our puppet making studio in Hove, right next to Brighton on the south coast. Surrounded by puppet prototypes, it is a great place to explore and discuss puppet making of all kinds, and over the three days, we will delve into other aspects of making led by the puppets hanging around and the interests of those participating!


Share this course

Explore the key principles of puppet design.

Learn techniques for constructing puppet bodies and different types of joints.

Consider the challenges relevant to constructing puppets for theatre.

Who’s this for?

People who love making and people who love puppets!

Those who will benefit most will have some basic making skills and experience. Whilst aimed at industry students or professionals, we welcome serious enthusiasts who are making for interest and pleasure. 

What will we learn?

You will learn how to work with plastazote in sheet form, how to cut and assemble it and some techniques for creating shapes and 3D forms. You will be guided through the process of constructing a puppet head from a given pattern.

You will then be introduced to sculpting from a block of plastazote to create arms and legs. Finally, using the tools in the workshop and working from technical drawings provided, you will construct the head support and armature for the finished puppet.

When you leave you will take a completed puppet with you which you can work on further to finish or modify for future use.*

What about Covid?

We intend to run these courses safely and with all possible measures to ensure that the working environment remains Covid free. More details about how we will do this can be found here.

“We all learned a great deal and it has changed how we approach design and making for puppetry on our BA Production Arts course, considering new materials and how best to construct with them”

Meriel Pym
Scenic Crafts Tutor
Bristol Old Vic Theatre School


We are approx an hour by train from London Victoria, or 80 mins from King’s Cross.

Click here for a map and travel details.


The course will be held over three days, with morning, lunch and afternoon breaks. We will work the following hours:


What will I need?

All tools and materials will be provided, but you are welcome to bring your own tools if you prefer. You will need your own respirator mask, if you are unsure whether your mask is suitable please read the information here.

*Whether you complete the puppet will depend on a number of factors, such as your own making experience and what degree of finish you are after. However, if you don’t leave with a finished puppet you should at least get to the point where you have everything you need to complete the project in your own time.

Please also note that you won’t make the exact rabbit puppet shown in the photo above. This took us 4 weeks to make! Your puppet will use the same head pattern but with a simplified body….and it will still be great!


“Under the patient and professional guidance of Nick Barnes, I have greatly enhanced my skills as a maker.”

Scarlet Turner
Work Experience student
Northbrook College


Share this project

    I’d like to reserve a place on the One Person puppet Making Course