Dates: Tuesday 17 May – Saturday 21st May 2022 (5 Days)

Location: At our puppet making studio in Hove

Cost: £450

Patterning and Constructing Plastazote Puppet Heads

Plastazote is a great material for puppet-making: lightweight and versatile, it can be patterned, carved, vac formed, heated, glued, textured, painted or covered to create all manner of puppets for indoors or outdoors, from the very small to the gigantic!

This five-day course teaches a professional puppet making technique which has many applications. Led by Nick Barnes, it offers participants an opportunity to develop invaluable processes and skills for making beautiful and usable contemporary puppets and to learn some of the key principles of puppet design.
Throughout the week we will also discuss and compare other puppet making materials and consider some techniques for constructing puppet bodies and different types of joints, whilst at all stages considering the challenges relevant to constructing puppets for theatre.

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Learn how to take patterns from sculpted forms and turn them into lightweight puppet heads. This useful technique can be used for all sorts of patterning applications.

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?

We will begin the week by looking at free form sculpting in plastazote. You will learn how to work with plastazote in sheet form. How to cut and assemble it to create shapes and 3D forms. You will be guided through the process of constructing simpler shapes and forms in a freestyle way.
You will then learn how to take a pattern from a sculpt (a bear head) which you will be given to work with. We will enlarge the pattern and work through the techniques for assembly, to create a finished head.*

This technique has many uses beyond puppet making including creature or character costumes, masks, and cosplay etc., and offers unlimited sculptural possibilities for anyone looking to create lightweight puppets or wearable forms.

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.

A high level of precision, both in terms of the technique taught and the level of gentle authority”

Course Participant
Moving Parts, Newcastle Puppet Festival


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 five days, with morning, lunch and afternoon breaks. We will work the following hours:

Tuesday 9am-6pm
Wednesday 9am-6pm
Thursday 9am-6pm
Friday 9am-6pm
Saturday 9am-5pm

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.

“Nick Barnes is an incredible puppet designer, with an extraordinary ability to combine technical expertise with artistic vision – breathing life into fabulous creatures. I cannot recommend these workshops highly enough”

Finn Caldwell
Puppet Director
Gyre & Gimble Artistic Director

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