I'm a puppet maker with a degree in theatre. A former lighting techie, stage manager and producer. And I like to think that with puppetry, the only limit is your imagination. More...
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Erm, because some people might not actually get it: this is a FAQ about freebies in general. If you want the actual free stuff… well, 90% of this site is made up of free info, so you might want to also try browsing first.
There’s plenty of info here to get you started, as well as other websites. Puppets are expensive to make and you won’t ever find one for free unless someone’s doing a competition of some sort. Australian puppet maker, Jarrod Boutcher, who does a lot of fantastic muppet-type puppets, auctions his puppets off for around $500 or more dollars. Professional puppets are labour intensive, require often hard-to-find materials, and a lot of learning. Puppet makers aren’t rich, they just want to get their money back on labour: about 4/5ths of the cost of Boutcher’s puppet would cover weeks or months of work on one puppet alone.
You want a puppet for nothing? Make it yourself.
There’s plenty of free patterns, tutorials, videos, and books at libraries. Recycle materials found in your home or from trash collection days. You can spend practically nothing making a puppet; except of course, when it comes to time.
Nope. And again, too bad. Patterns and books are copyrighted too, and if you’re not willing to spend the minimal amount that these items cost (and remember, you can reuse books and patterns, and in the end, will cost you less than the materials of the puppet/s themselves), then you’re probably not interested in puppet making or learning. (See article on myths to do with free patterns [link to be added]) These items are investments, and you can ask as many times as you like, expecting free copies of patterns or books (that aren’t given as freebies by the copyright owners) won’t make you any friends. You’re asking me, and others, to steal - for you, because you don’t want to spend any money. Want to save some money? Don’t make a puppet. You’ll be spending way more time, labour and money on actually making the puppet anyway, so why bother? Besides, there’s many ways to cut the budget down, simply by recycling materials and tools - you can make a whole muppet-type puppet out of trash, and only spend money on the actual pattern or book - or by using a free pattern, as there are many available. But really, the best instructions, the ones absolutely loaded with info, the ones that get the best ‘professional’ results, are the ones you have to pay for. Those that seek to find free versions of these books and patterns are also invariably looking for ‘professional’ results and it’s ironic that they don’t want to take up a professional attitude to the craft.
Those that offer quality patterns and books do so at reasonable prices, and aren’t making huge amounts of money off them; they do so because they genuinely enjoy teaching the craft of puppetry. It’s a labour of love, and not to be stolen.
I developed this site from a tiny little blog on the Puppets in Melbourne site several years ago. It grew so large I decided it needed its own space, away from my online shop and blog. My site gets about 1500 or more hits per day and hundreds of new visitors - and it’s growing all the time. To keep the site going, I need to ensure my hosting bills are paid each month, and they are getting bigger the more popular the content gets. Puppet makers don’t earn a lot of money so I need to recoup my costs somehow; besides which, I want to create quality content, and that’s hard to do when you’re spending $5 on materials and tools. Sites like Ehow and free video tutorials and free patterns are all well and good: but have you noticed how crap they are? Or how few photos and diagrams go with the instructions? Or how some patterns are actually back-of-the-envelope scribbles? They really don’t teach you how to make something on a professional level, and are really just designed for hobbyists. I write for professionals. My content has to be professional quality, and to do that (or improve tutorials that aren’t), I need to make money from the site. So for the price of a few cups of coffee, you can keep this site going.
Australians may want to buy locally. Where? I explain here.