building a puppet armature

This is my method to create a wire armature for a new puppet.

I take a loop of aluminum wire and put the ends into the cordless drill. I think it is about 16 or 18 gauge.


I put the loop of wire around a pencil and hold it while I use the drill to twist the wires together. Don’t over twist the wires.


I make two strands like this.


I wrap these wire strands together to form the spine.


The top of one wire forms one arm, the bottom part forms a leg. The top of the other wire forms an arm, the bottom forms the other leg.


I form another wire and wrap it around the hips and back down the legs. Below it is ready to be put into the drill and twisted.


Lay the third wire over the hips, and wrap down towards the feet. This will give the legs more stiffness.


Begin to wrap down the legs.


This gives you four strands down each leg. I unwind the wires about the knee level, so they are easier to bend at the ankle level. Cut the wires a little bit long, and begin to untwist them back to the knee level.


Below you can see the four wires at the ankle joint ready to be glued into the feet blocks. Having these wires un twisted together makes the ankle move easier. Below shows the first three wires.  Wire one formed left arm and left leg, wire two formed right arm and right leg, wire three goes from one foot, up the leg, across the hip, down the other leg, and to the other foot.


I cut the arm wires about elbow level. (I use a lot of smaller twisted wires for fingers so I cut the arm wires at the elbow to prevent the wrist from getting too big and thick and bulky). I  twist some smaller gauge wire  (about 22 gauge or 24) together to form fingers. I make a twisted wire, wrap it around the shoulders, and down the arms. In the below photo, it is the smaller black wire. Notice the wire starts at one hand, goes over the shoulders, and down to the other hand all in one piece.


I twist another wire, and start again to form the second fingers. Again start at one hand, run all the way over to the other hand with one unbroken piece of twisted wire.  Then do it all again to form fingers number 3.  Again if you want four or five fingers.


So, the fingers will get cut to length, finger tips formed with green stuff putty, and the ankle wires attached to feet blocks.

This is my current method and seems to work fine for me.

5 responses to “building a puppet armature

  1. looks like a nice easy method. Do you use epoxy putty for hip, head and bones? Thanks for sharing this. I am going to try your method out for my first human puppet.


  2. Great tutorial. Thanks for posting here!


  3. so cool how much information is available freely on the internet these days!!

    good post man.



  4. I like it a lot. Looks very similar to what my basic armatures will be, i always get stuck on the heads. But nice to know that with a few tweeks i can get something a little easier to make. By the by, what gage do you use for the wires? Or is that determined by the final size of the puppet?


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