How cute is this dancing flamingo puppet you can make from chunky yarn and a few additional bits and pieces. Scroll down for the full tutorial and free printable face details.
This marionette DIY toy idea is suitable for older kids, tweens and teens. Or big kids at heart (like me!).
You might also like these flying pterodactyl puppets
I have a thing for pom pom crafts. They’re just so fluffy and fun! We’ve got pom pom pandas, goldfish, hedgehogs, and turtles already on the blog. Here’s something a little different—a dancing flamingo marionette.
I designed this craft as a DIY toy for the girls years ago (back when they were still little enough to want toys). They loved it. Then I got sidetracked and never got around to putting it on the blog.
Well, I’ve finally got my act together and made the photos and video tutorial so you guys can make one too.
I’ve used very chunky yarn for my flamingo. It’s a pure wool one I found on sale at our local craft store, but this one here on Amazon looks similar. This craft DOES work with ordinary yarn (12ply + recommended). You don’t need to go out and buy the same fluffy one I’ve used. Just be aware that the thicker and fluffier the yarn, the better your puppet will look.
Also, I’ve used heavy wooden beads I purchased especially for his feet. For a more frugal version, replace these with recycled plastic bottle caps. Make the hole to thread them on with by heating a metal skewer over a gas flame and poking it through the indentation in the centre.
Ready to get started?
How to make a dancing flamingo puppet
You will need:
- Chunky yarn in flamingo pink — no specific thickness required but the thicker it is the better your puppet will look
- Wooden beads – ours are 1″
- Thick yarn in a deep pink or grey for the legs
- Ordinary pink yarn for tying the craft together (mine is 12 ply but thinner is fine too)
- Clear jelly elastic (found in the beading section at our craft store) – replace with white embroidery thread if you don’t have any
- A set of disposable wooden chopsticks or 2 dowel rods (get some around the same size as chopsticks)
- The beak and eye graphic printed onto white card stock (or you can draw your own)
- Fabric glue or tacky craft glue
- Hole punch
- Heavy recycled cardboard for your pom pom frames
First make the pom poms by creating your own DIY pom pom maker. Trace the pom pom templates in the free download file onto heavy recycled card stock and cut the shapes out.
Wrap your chunky pink yarn around and around the frame until you have a puffy, squishy, bundle. Tie it around the centre (I’ve used ordinary yarn to do the tying) and slide the bundle off the frame. Tie it tighter and trim the looped ends. You’re going to need one pom pom of each size.
Now for the fun part—trimming the pom pom. Hold it over a piece of paper and use a sharp pair of scissors to trim and shape it. Trim the smaller pom pom into a sphere. With the large pom pom, trim it into a flamingo body shape (the craft will still work if you make it a circle though). It looks like a teardrop with a pointed tail and rounded front.
Use the same chunky yarn you’ve created the pom poms from to finger knit a neck with two finger loops. You can get a full tutorial on how to finger knit here (it’s super easy!). Your neck doesn’t need to be any particular size, but for reference, mine is 20cm/8″ in length.
Now use the chunky yarn in dark pink or grey for the legs. The legs should be a bit longer than the neck. On my bird they’re 28cm/11″.
Find the centre of your pom poms by separating the fibres. Tie the neck between the body and the head using ordinary yarn. Then tie the legs together at one end and tie them to the underneath side of the body.
While you have the fibres separated, cut long lengths of clear jelly elastic and tie one to the body and another to the head. Jelly elastic is slippery so tie about four knots on top of each other to stop it from coming undone—I’m sure there’s a better way to prevent that but this is the technique I’ve used, haha.
Tie large wooden beads onto the end of each leg for the feet. I’ve used ordinary yarn to tie them on because my chunky yarn was too thick to go through the bead’s hole. Tie a very fat knot underneath each bead to keep them sliding off. Tie long strands of jelly elastic to the feet.
Make the face. Cut the rectangular shape around the beak out, then glue it together. Now cut the beak out. Also cut the eyes out.
Punch a hole in the end of the beak and tie it to your head pom pom with jelly elastic. Glue the eyes on with fabric glue (or you can use use tacky craft glue).
Tie the chopsticks into a cross by wrapping yarn around and around the crossed-over part and tying it tight. Then tie the marionette strings onto the wooden cross.
Begin by tying the body shape to the centre first, then use that as a gauge to get the right length for the leg and head strings. Tie a leg string on either side of the body, and the head to the front of the cross.
Now all that’s left to do is to make your flamingo dance!
More puppet crafts for kids
- Here’s a fun set of printable monster finger puppets
- Make a snapping frog puppet from a pair of paper plates
- Use our free printable pattern to sew a cute set of ghost stick puppets from felt
- Kids of all ages will love making these cartoon craft stick puppets
- Make a paper pterodacty puppet that ‘flies’ on a string