After several years of the kids playing Minecraft, the love for Creepers is still strong in our house. When I was browsing through some vintage craft books, I saw a pop-up puppet tutorial and instantly thought, “Hey, the kids would love it if these were Minecraft-themed!”
I decided to try my hand at it. If people end up loving and using this tutorial, I think I might add an Enderman, a Zombie, a Skeleton, and maybe Steve.
Want to see how it’s made? Let’s get to it.
- Tiny, tiny paint brush*
- 12″-24″ dowel rod that’s 1/4″ diameter
- 1″ wood cube
- Paint in Creeper colors*
- Fabric of your choice
- Pellon Peltex (preferably 71F, but I used 72F because it was immediately available)**
- Glue gun and sticks
- Sewing machine OR needle and thread OR fabric glue***
- Iron and ironing board
When I say tiny, tiny paint brush, I mean this little guy. It’s like painting with an eyelash. Ha. I know it seems tedious, but even with my far-sightedness and shaky hands, it went just fine. Kids don’t want perfection. They want fun. They want originality. Don’t stress.
Now before we go further, let’s talk about options.
*Instead of the paint and brush, you can use Sharpies. BUT BUT BUT, the markers will bleed into the wood if you don’t treat the wood first. Treating it can be something as simple as clear fingernail polish or something from the hardware store. Just make sure your markers will work on the dried surface if you decide to go this route.
**Instead of the Peltex, you can use a paper mâché cone. Or poster board. Or a cardboard party hat. If you go that route, you can cover the cone in fabric using Mod Podge or spray adheasive. You could also just paint the cone. Don’t ya just love options?
***Instead of machine-sewing the fabric, you can use fabric glue or just sew by hand. There’s hardly any sewing involved.
Time to make out the grid that creates the magic of the Creeper!
As you can see, my cube was a bit less than 1″ in any direction, but again….we’re not going for perfection. Make little marks (roughly) 1/8″ apart along the edges.
Continue marking the first side of the cube until all 4 edges are marked.
Then extend those lines down to the adjacent sides to save yourself some time.
Continue until you’re able to connect your marks to create a grid like this.
Note: I left the bottom and back unmarked to cheat and save time.
Now, let’s put a face on that Creeper! Sssssssssss…..
It’s time to start filling in the grid around the face and on the adjacent side as you see fit. I used 3 shades of green and a gray/silver color.
On the back and bottom, I just painted solid green. You can cheat, too, or fill in the grid like you did on the other sides.
On the bottom, I made an “X” to find the center and then I hot-glued the dowel rod to the head.
To keep the rod in place while the glue dried, I just propped it on a book.
Set the Creeper-head-on-a-stick aside for now.
It’s time to make the cone.
If you’re using a paper mâché cone, just nip off the tip to make a hole wide enough for your dowel rod to slide through.
If you’re going the Peltex route:
Cut a 9″ square of Peltex and your outer cone fabric. If you’re using 72F (double sided) like I did instead of 71F (single sided), you’ll need a second square of fabric.
Using a compass or pencil tied to string, draw an 8″ radius quarter circle on your Peltex.
If you’re using 72F and need inner fabric, cut one of your fabric squares to exactly fit the Peltex quarter circle.
For both 72F and 71F, you’ll cut your outer fabric 1/2″ bigger in every direction.
In the photo below, you’ll see my inner fabric on top, Peltex in the middle, and outer fabric right-side-down on bottom.
If you’re using 71F, you won’t need the top layer. Ignore it in the photos.
Following the directions that came with your Peltex, fuse your layers together with the wrong side(s) of your fabric against the Peltex.
Here’s my fused fabric-Peltex sandwich.
Now you’re going to fold the edges of your outer fabric to the backside (will become inside of cone) and hot glue them into place.
Do the same with your top edge.
When you flip it over, the top (outside of cone) will look something like this.
Tricky part that made my hands cramp…coming right up!
Shape your cone and hot glue it section-by-section being sure to leave an opening at the bottom just wide enough to slide your dowel rod through. Apply a good deal of pressure to each section until it is completely dry. You don’t want this thing popping back open.
Time to sew. Or not sew. Whatever your heart desires.
Note that you may have to adjust your measurement along the bottom edge of the fabric to accommodate the circumference of the top edge of your cone.
You’re going to make a paper pattern like the one in the photo below. The top (neck) is .625″ across. The height is 5″, but you can make yours taller if you go with a longer dowel rod. I used a 12″ rod. The bottom is 3.75″. Again, you may need to adjust this to fit your circumference. I did radius + 1″ for ease + 1″ for seam allowance.
Once you’ve made your paper pattern, cut two pieces of fabric with your vertical straight edge along the fold of the fabric. When you unfold them, they should look like the photo below.
Press the top edges under about 1/8″.
Please forgive the sloppy sewing and poor tension. I was fighting with my machine and my machine won.
Top stitch (or glue down) that top folded edge.
Sew or glue 1/2″ from diagonal edges.
Now. I messed up. I was so excited to be nearing the finish that I forgot to take photos of a couple of steps. Please forgive me.
I’m going to try to describe the steps as clearly as possible, so please bear with me.
Turn your triangle right side out.
Slip the bottom of your fabric triangle around the top of the cone so that your raw fabric edges overlap the top of the cone about 1/2″. Hot glue into place.
Cut a 1″ strip of felt (I made one long side kind of wavy to look a bit like the grass on a Minecraft dirt block) the circumference of the top of your cone plus 1″.
To cover the ugly, raw fabric edges, hot glue the felt around the top of the cone, overlapping the edges of the felt in the back of the puppet.
Now slide your dowel rod down through the neck opening of the fabric and then through the bottom hole of your cone.
Glue the neck-edge of your fabric do where the dowel meets the Creeper head. Do not glue the bottom as the dowel need to slide up and down through the cone to get that awesome pop-up puppet action!
Voilà! You are now the proud owner and creator of a Minecraft Creeper Pop-up Puppet. Let your kiddo set up a puppet show and enjoy!