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...
Unless specified, all text, images and files are © by School of Puppetry, 2007 onwards. This means you can not use any of the text, images or files without my permission, unless specified.
Everyone has heard of The Muppets. So what are muppet-types? Strictly speaking, they are basically the same thing. The Muppets is a trademarked design, so we can’t actually use the term Muppet (more info here). So on this site, I will use either the term muppet-type puppet, or the term ‘moppet’. What’s the difference between a muppet and a puppet? Find out here.
Already, you don’t need to be told what a muppet-type is - just picture Miss Piggy or Kermit, and you’ve got the basic idea. But here’s an easy explanation:
A muppet-type is a mouth puppet, a design which allows the puppeteer to move the mouth open and closed. It is generally best used when the script calls for a lot of dialogue, and is easily used in both theatres and TV or film; in fact, the design is most suited to use with cameras. The reason for this is that a puppeteer will use either rods or their own hands (generally for close-ups) to move the puppet’s hands, and another puppeteer will operate the mouth from a gap at the bottom of the puppet’s body. This means that the puppeteers can easily be hidden from view - ideal for filming. This type of puppet is therefore also referred to as a ‘rod arm puppet’ - although it shouldn’t be confused with rod puppets themselves - or ‘glove arm puppet’ (or ‘human arm puppets’), especially when used in combination of gloves and the puppeteer’s own arm is used for the arms of the puppet. This type of puppet may also be referred to as ‘wide mouth puppet’, since it’s an easy description that avoids trademark infringement of the ‘muppet’ term.
So a muppet-type is usually a half-bodied puppet, with access to the inside of the head in order to operate the mouth. They are made of foam, which is then covered in materials. The hands are usually operated via rods, and other facial features can also be designed to be manipulated; such as eyes, eyebrows, hair, and so forth. These puppets work the best in small to medium-sized venues, outdoors or in film/TV settings, and are great for a variety of shows, from stand-up comedy to cabaret, from children’s shows to adult genres.
Read about how to make a muppet-type puppet here or here. Find out what materials you should use, read a book review on making them, view a list of patterns. Find out why there are no Sesame St/The Muppets patterns. You may also want to read about mouth puppets.send feedback / have a question?
Australians may want to buy locally. Where? I explain here.