Monday, December 30, 2013

How I plan a puppet song

I'm currently in planning mode and thought I would share a bit of the process I use to choose, plan and produce a number.

It begins with a lot of prayer actually. I am in constant prayer and asking God for direction, inspiration and a message/reason for the show or song.

Sometimes a song comes on the radio and I just see it "puppetized" in my mind.  Sometimes I have to work a little harder.  I almost always have to work a little harder. :)  I think God doesn't want me to ever take this ministry for granted .

Right now I have several projects and performance ideas in my head but I'll focus on just one song I'm working on right now.

1. Purpose/Venue

  • Annual Valentine Fund Raiser Banquet at church. We need entertainment for the banquet and our puppet team, PIT Crew, is always a big hit. 

2. Message & Style

  • Naturally, I look for a song about "love" since it's Valentine's Day.  I have several Righteous Pop Music albums and decide to look there first because they are familiar tunes to the audience and they keep it a little light for using puppetry to music. I chose "Put the Love of God in Your Heart" from RPM Vol. 4

3. Theme or "look" of the song:

  • I decide after getting some inspiration from another puppet team to go with flowers, shrubs, animals etc. as the setting for the song.

4. Props & Puppets:
  • The lead singer is a female, and I am going to use this puppet for the singer. She'll need a new dress (she's currently wearing a peasant dress from VBS ;)) and maybe some ribbons for her hair. 
  • I am going to use the bunny puppet I'm working on, and a flower puppet we have (I may make another one) as well as any other animal or nature type puppets I have.  It's time to do a little digging in the Rubbermaid tubs and a lot of painting and foam core cutting!
5. Choreographing the number:
  • I use an excel file to add the lyrics, prop list and make a column to add the entrance/exits, choreography instructions etc.  This is very helpful from practice to practice so we don't forget what we did!  I print the sheet out and make any changes with pen.  Sometimes, when I remember, I  go back and add the changes to the file so that if we use the song again we will remember it with the changes and additions and we can print out a clean copy.
Here's what the file might look like, this one's still in the works:

When it's done, all entrances and dancing moves will have been named and written down in the file.

6. Practice
  • Next comes actually working with the team to make sure what I want to do can actually be done!  This often results in change. :) You have to be willing to make adjustments or even ditch something entirely. I always go for simple and excellent rather than complicated and a mess.  Know what I mean?

7. Perform
  • After all the planning, prop making, and practice then we are ready to perform the number. There are several smaller steps in between all of this but this is the basic formula. And once a year we do a complete show with scripts and songs all strung together.  This one is just one song.  I'm still pondering adding a skit. But I'm not sure yet. 
These are the basic steps I go through in planning a puppet performance. I hope this helps you plan a performance for your team! 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Props for Valentine Performance

We have an annual Valentine banquet as a fund raiser for kids to attend pre-teen camp and we are going to need a little entertainment. So I started planning a song for our puppet team, the PIT Crew, to perform.

I'm planning to use a song called "Put the Love of God in Your Heart".  It's a parody of "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" from Creative Ministries RPM collection.

I decided to keep it simple with the props and just a few puppets.  The new bunny will definitely be involved!

We have to have a Jesus in a heart prop, naturally...
jesus heart prop

Here is the heart with the first coat of red paint on the outside...
heart paint drying
It doesn't seem to show up in the picture but there is a hinge of tape in the middle so the heart can open up and you'll see Jesus inside.

Here is a shrub I just cut out with an x-acto knife...
cutting out shrub 1

Here is a close up of the shrub.  Not sure why I drew all the details because when I put the base coat on, they will disappear.
close up of shrub

I'll post new pictures when they are all done.  I love making things with items I already have and so far these are made with leftovers from previous projects. :)

props almost done
Some of the props - almost done!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Rabbit Puppet Update

I finally got his head covered!

Sometimes a puppet comes together quickly, as in the case of the lion.  But with this rabbit puppet that hasn't been the case.

I just needed time to decide the "look" of him.  Here's what I have so far:

white rabbit head

He still needs whiskers, a body and arms.  Soon! (I hope)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Organizing Small Signs for Puppet Songs

I started a new blog over at and it has inspired me to blog more here at  I don't know why I have struggled with this blog.  I think it's because I couldn't find just exactly what I wanted to say and show here.

I'm just going to blog about anything puppet related that I think, do or see. :) After all, the blogs are really for me to journal what I do and what I learn along the way.  If it helps somebody else well then I'll be doubly blessed.

This week I was doing some organizing and cleaning behind the stage in our children's dept at my church and came up with a simple solution for our small signs.

I took some paper clips and duct tape and taped the clips at the end of the paddles, then I put hooks back stage and hung the signs on the hooks.  Fast.Simple.Cheap.Easy.

adding paperclips to signs

sticks with paperclips

hooks 2 

hooks backstage

The signs themselves are just clip art enlarged, printed on our color printer, laminated then mounted to foam core board trimmed to fit.  They are then taped onto paint stir paddles that are spray painted black.  Again fast.Simple.Cheap.Easy


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