Today we are exploring the world of wearables with 3 LEDs mounted on finger puppets. Each puppet will represent one of Santa’s helpers.
- 3 5mm LEDs, various colours
- Coloured felt
- Conductive and normal thread
- Coin cell battery + holder
- An old glove
1) Designing the puppets
There is a lot of inspiration for Christmas-themed finger puppets you can find on the internet. I picked the elf from Rust & Sunshine.
Before we get started, let’s list the parts we need for each elf: a body with a belt, a head and a hat (same colour as the body). The tip of the hat will be the LED. I am going to use a different colour of felt for each elf, each one in the greens/yellows.
To make the body of the first puppet, draw the outline of your index finger on the felt (as shown on the image below). Cut out two of those shapes, leaving a small margin for sewing. Start sewing the two pieces together, leaving the marked side visible; we’ll turn it inside out once sewn. Add a little belt on the front of the body (made mine out of chenille wires, you can sew felt instead), put the puppet on your finger to adjust the height of the belt.
Then, draw a head with pointy ears on one layer of thick felt, and sew a smiling face (make sure you leave some space between the mouth and the chin, we’ll use this to attach the head to the body). Repeat the operation to have three heads ready.
Next, in the same felt as the body, cut two identical triangles for the hat. Curl the legs of the LED as shown above, making sure you know which one is the longest (if not, the flat side of the LED shows the negative lead). Now we can start assembling the first puppet with conductive thread.
2) Stitching up
With conductive thread, start sewing one side of the LED (putting the thread through the circle we formed on the legs) and the triangles for the hat together, end with a stitch between the hat and the head, to keep it in place. Then, having your thread at the back of the head, put it through the body and save it for later. Repeat with the other side of the LED and hat. Make sure the two sides never touch or it will create a short circuit.
Now, put the glove on your hand, to adjust the thread, and sew the rest of it to the + and – signs of your battery holder, as shown above.
Being right-handed, I found it useful to put the glove on my left hand for sewing the back. Don’t stop your conductive thread yet, it will need some adjustments when the other puppets are up.
Test that the first LED lights up and repeat the whole process for elves number 2 and 3, using your middle and ring fingers.
3) The final touch
Once all three puppets are in place and the LEDs lighting up, we can stitch the bodies to the glove, stitch the chin to the front side of the body, and draw (or stitch) the eyes.
I’ve also made a little hat with a bell for the little finger, and wrapped up and stitched some chenille wire around the thumb.
That’s it for today, I will be back tomorrow, day 4, for a more technical challenge…