Little Red Riding Hood Hand Puppet
She wears a red cloak and hood over the basic cloth underskirt. Her hands are of felt
sewed over wire frames and fixed to cuffs of cardboard which have been sewed and glued to
the sleeves of the underskirt. Her head is made of quick papier-mache.
Quick Papier-Mache A quick papier-mache head can be made at one sitting of an hour or so, dried overnight and painted the second day. Papier-mache is cheap, takes paint well and is pretty durable. Its flexibility is an advantage. A plaster or plastic wood head, when banged sharply, might break; a papier-mache head will only dent and can be repaired. But it does dent easily, whereas it takes quite a crack to break a plastic wood head. You will need flour, water, salt, newspaper, a prepared head shape and some kind of stand to hold the head upright. For this you can use a store spindle, a three-inch stick thrust into a platform of modeling clay, a small board with a big nail driven through it - anything that will hold the head in position so that you can work on it from all sides.
Prepare a head shape by securing a tight wad of paper around a neck tube with string or paper tape as shown - by fixing a neck tube to a small rubber ball as was suggested with Baldy Ball (No. 31), or by fixing a neck tube to a toilet tissue tube, as with Miss Muffet (No. 17). Place the head shape in position on the stand. Cut the newspaper into strips of a quarter inch to an inch wide. Pour water into the flour, mixing slowly, until you have a paste about the consistency of thick soup. Mix in a teaspoon of salt. Select one of the wider strips and drag it through the paste, squeezing off the excess between your thumb and forefinger but making sure there is a thin coating of paste on both sides. Lay this around the head shape. Soak another strip with paste and lay it on. Cover the head gradually, making sure the strips overlap at all points and cover it entirely. Add another layer.
Now build up simple features by pinching and adding little wads of saturated paper, which are then overlaid with bits torn from the narrower strips. Remember that most details can be painted on. Concentrate on forming the proper head shape, pinching out a suggestion of the nose and forming the two shallow depressions for eye sockets. Smooth out air bubbles and cover over unwanted pits with little bits of soaked paper. Dry in a warm room on a radiator, in the sun or on the opened door of a low oven. Further repairs can be made the next day if you wish. Paint with poster paints. After the paint is thoroughly dry, you can spray the head with clear plastic from a pressurized can for protection. Red Riding Hood's hair is made from red yarn glued in place strand by strand after the paint has thoroughly dried. Details on more advanced use of papier-mache are given further on.