Planning is very important step for any work, puppet show or puppet making is also planned well in advance and the puppet characters are pre-visualized depending upon the show it is going to performer, each story requires a unique set of puppets to represent the idea of a puppeteer which may depicts daily/modern life style the puppets or mythological puppets. It is also important to plan out the venue of performance. If the performance is for the school children and inside the school, the puppets can be simple and light weight but if the performance is outside for the general public, puppets have to be well decorated and highly durable to the weather and climatic conditions. Depending on the story to be performed, it may take about a week to a month to construct a puppet.
Puppet making generally consist of 3 elements: a puppet carving, attachment of strings and puppet control device. Puppet figure of the puppet is a representation of a human, animal and any other elements which is found in nature and can be used in the puppet shows. Using mechanical design, it is easy to determine the types of joints required to connect each parts of puppet such as limbs, features like blinking of eye, movable mouthpieces and palms of a human figure. The difficulty increase when puppet consist more segments, adding torso helps in turning a bowing motions. Due to the versatility of marionette joints, degree of freedom (DOF) is provided like one degree, 2 and 3 degrees of freedom respectively is allowed.
Main body part of the puppet is built using Milk wood (alle mara), small blocks of milk wood is chiseled to make the required body parts like face, hands, feet and are attached to other body parts with help of nails. Area between shoulder to palm and waist till foot is filled with soft material like cushion/used cloth or cotton waste as filler for hands and legs. Colorful cotton fabric is used as clothing and ornaments to dress as per the plan and strings are attached to control
Attachment of strings: With the help of strings, puppeteers control the puppet remotely. Strings help in producing life like movement to the puppets that behaves like actuators. Earlier, leather was used as a string to control the puppets, but due to the elasticity nature of leather, accurate movements could not be made, hence multi thread embroidery string replaced and helped in producing the accurate movements.
Strings are classified based on their functions, strings for support, strings for controlling the movement and strings for extra effects. Supporting strings holds the weight of the puppet and helps to keep the puppet stationary during the play, these strings are attached to the torso of puppets. The remaining strings are connected based on these strings to arms, legs and head helps in controlling the movement of the puppets. Few puppets, which have more joints and moveable parts may consist up to 50 strings, with help of these strings extra effects like picking cups, drinking of tea, pulling out and holding back the sword, etc can be achieved. These strings are attached to the puppet with helps of nails.
Puppet controller: The strings of puppet are attached to the wooden control, with the help of wooden controller, puppeteer controls the puppet. Controller is made of simple wooden plank (small and handy) or any other complex form, depending upon the number of strings to be attached.