Monday, May 30, 2011

How I Made a Cable Operated Bird Puppet Part 3 - Wings

or how to make a Cable Puppet part 3

I liked the other bird puppet so much that I decided to make one with moveable wings.  At first I had very complex designs trying to get the wings to just move up and down.  Then I went for a walk.  As I was walking I worked on the problem, and a simple solution presented itself.  I already had the basic idea from the other bird's head, so I just used the same concept for the wings.

I had a few cables left over from the original bird puppet so I used them.  I am waiting for the push rods (which are what model airplane enthusiasts use to control various switches and such) to come in.

I borrowed one of my son's Mr Potato Head for the body.  (He has a bunch and I am going to buy him another one so don't get all high and mighty on me.)

I put a piece of twine through the top hole (I believe it is the ear hole.) and tied a large knot.  Then I hot glued the twine to a Popsicle stick.  This lets the stick move around but keeps it attached to the shoulder.

I fed the cable jacket through the bottom hole (arm hole) and then pushed the cable up through it.  I threaded a button on the cable and then bent the cable into a 90 degree angle.  I hot glued the button to the bend and at the same time glued the button to the stick.  I originally did it further down the stick but once again it didn't have the desired effect, so I repositioned it. 
I can turn the cable and the wing moves forward/backwards.

Push the cable in and the wings go out.

I didn't take a picture of the inside of the head last time so here it is.  I used the same button technique that I used on the wing and glued the button to the cable & the Easter egg that is used for a head.

Here he is so far.

This is a back view.

I am going to make a handle for the not shown ends of the cables. Mainly because I have a good bit of difficulty operating the cables without some kind of end. 

Continue on to part 4 - How to make a cable puppet control handle



  1. Did you ever finish this? Your work in progress pictures have helped me a lot!!! But now I'm stuck where you left off...

    1. I am sorry I haven't added any more to this post. I fully intended to but I am in the process of moving so most of my stuff is hiding in a box in a storage shed. I will try and update this as soon as I can.

  2. Using a Mr. Potato Head body is genius. GENIUS!
    Thank you for posting all of these tutorials, I am very inspired to have a go myself. :D

    I'd love to see how the winged puppet turned out, if you have any pictures or video...

  3. So if I understand the wings use 2 cable controllers (one for the left wing, one for the right wing) Do you group the ends together so you only need 1 control handle, or do you have to fiddle with 2 control handles?

  4. So far I have only figured out how to do one controller per cable. If they were hooked together both wings would do the same move at the same time. I am working on a handle to try and move both wings and head with one hand.