When I was a young boy I found these instructions for making a Punch and Judy Show in a magazine. I cut them out, stuck them in my scrap book, and have kept them all these years. They were written by a very famous puppeteer called Francis Coudril and I remember his famous television character puppet called Hank. The very nice puppets in the above picture illustrated the original article, so I assume that they were the author's own set.

Over the years I wonder how many boys and girls have been inspired to have a go at Punch and Judy by reading Mr Coudril's concise instructions? I found them very useful, perhaps you will.


Perhaps you will need the help of Mum, Dad or an older brother if you tackle this project. diagram
Materials required: Thick unglazed paper ("sugar-paper" from a craft shop is ideal, or some newspapers), cold water paste, cardboard, poster, acrylic or oil paints, mixture of whitening and glue.

Head roll a strong tube of cardboard – 14cm long for Punch, 10cm long for other characters. Cover this with layers of paper which have been torn (not cut) into small pieces and soaked in cold water paste (surplus paste should be squeezed out). When you have formed a rough head (B) insert a peg of wood in the position of the nose: this can be built up into the required shape for each character by using more paper. When the head has reached stage C, dry it slowly in the oven: a mixture of glue and whitening will give the bead a smooth finish. Hair and whiskers can be made from crepe hair, odd bits of fur and wool. Paint the heads with bright colours, using poster, acrylic or oil paint.
Hands make two tubes of cardboard large enough to fit your thumb (D). Press one end of each tube flat and mark out the shape of the hand; cut away the unwanted parts (E). Cover the whole of the tubes with a layer of paper until a strong pair of bands is formed, then dry and paint them.
Body Make a shirt of any strong cloth; fix the head and hands in position with thread sewn through holes pierced in the neck and wrists. The puppet can then be dressed in character and worked by inserting your index finger in the head and thumb and second finger in the arms.Fig. 1. Shows you how.
Stage and Fit-up The Fit-up is made of three sections shown in G. The measurements shown are for a full size fit-up for an adult. The height will vary considerably depending on how tall you are. The shelf or stage should be about level with your wrists when you hold your hands in front of your face. The material is any wood about 4cm thick (clothes props will do), a shelf 1m 7cm long and 9 cm wide and 12mm thick is required for the stage. The corners of the frames should be fitted with 15cm angle brackets, and two are used to support the shelf. The three sections are bolted or tied together, and covered with cheap curtain lining or coloured hessian, The pelmet and curtains shown here are made from hessian and are hung from the top rail of the stage.
A curtain of muslin, 69cm deep and the width of the inside of box is hung on a rail about 30cm behind the stage opening. You stand behind this and because the box is covered in, you can see through the muslin, but the audience cannot see you. For this to work properly most of the available light should be from the front, and the curtains covering the fit-up should be as lightproof as possible.
Of course a fit-up is not absolutely necessary. You can do a very entertaining show over the back of a settee or from behind a clothes-horse draped with blankets.


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