How to construct a puppet:
Create a set of stencils for each body part. Ours were card cut outs that slotted together.
Use the stencils to cut the wood to size. I think this was one of the most difficult parts of the task. The slots that allow the wood to slot together need to be precisely cut. This was difficult due to how small they were. Mine were slightly too large which means that the two pieces did not slot together well.
During this step it is important to remember to drill holes in each bit of wood. This will be how the whole puppet is joined together at a later stage. It is also easier to do this whilst the puppet is still at a 2D stage.
Cut out blocks of polystyrene to fit with the wood to create one large block. This is the basis of the whole body part. The material that will be shaped to create the curves of the body.
The polystyrene is then stuck to the wooden structures using a contact glue. This glue is applied to both surfaces, left to dry, and then stuck together. The glue is strong and so will withstand any shaping that will occur.
Using various files and other tools, shape the polystyrene. Try to make sure that it is as realistic as possible. For example I added a spine to my abdominal.
Take a piece of sandpaper and continue to shape. Make sure that the polystyrene is flush with the wooden pattern pieces. Using sandpaper creates a smoother surface with less indents, making it easier to paper.
Line up the piece with the body parts it attaches to. Make sure that it fits well, and can achieve its purpose. That it can bend and move correctly. If anything needs to be rectified this is the stage to do it.
When the piece is completed, the time comes for it to be covered. We decided to use brown paper for this; however some groups used news paper, and even muslin.
Use elastic to fit all pieces of the puppet together. It is important to think about how a body moves at this point, this will allow you to know how tight to fix each joint. Also it is important to remember that elastic stretches, so the tighter the better.