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More about Marionette Puppets

How to work a marionette

How to store a marionette

My marionette seems tangled,
what do I do?

The Marionette making Process

Some of our recent sculpey originals March 2001

About the Process

We make all of our original sculptures with a polymer clay called Super Sculpey.

(In the picture to the left you see many of Debra's original sculptures including a Dragon, our Stone Elf, Clown, Tom Foolery, Jasper the Java Cat, and a couple of Fairies.)

We make molds from the original pieces and then cast duplicates of them in durable material called resin.

The parts are then ground, carved, drilled, linked, dyed, painted, dressed and then strung as a marionette.

 The top mold in Eric's hand, shown in the photo at left, is for a Puss in Boots head.

Controller for Standard Creatures
CONTRO2.jpg (20879 bytes) At left is the standard airplane controller we use for most of our creations.


Controller for Winged Creatures
CONTRO1.jpg (21914 bytes)

At left is our standard airplane style controller for winged creatures, including:

A pair of crossed strings join to a bead near one leg string which causes the wings to flap when pulled.

How to use a Dragon Wings Marionette with standard airplane controller
Hold the wooden controller mechanism parallel to the ground and allow the creature's feet to just barely touch the floor.  Rocking the controller from side to side will cause the puppet to walk (winged beasts will flap as they walk).

If your marionette is equiped to fly, there is also a bead to pull that allows you to flap the wings without walking.

The hands are connected to a removable
control rod.
By placing a finger between the head strings
 and moving it from side to side
 you can make the head move.
The back has two strings, upper and lower, which allow the creature to bend and lower its head.  Tilting the entire controller mechanism forward causes a more severe bow.   Short tugs on the upper back string will cause the marionette to chuckle.
If you own one of our marionettes with a modified or experimental controller it may look and operate quite differently than the description above.  We would be happy to explain, please contact the artists (bottom of page)

NEW Videos of our Knight, Dragon, Jester Cat, Skeletons and Duck marionette puppets dancing can be viewed, at: MD2004PhotosPage

CAUTION: Never lay marionettes down with the strings outstretched.

How to Wrap and Pack your Marionette

When not using your marionette it's best to HANG IT FROM A HOOK!

If no hook is available, wrap it up and set it down as follows:

1.  Hold the controller in one hand and spin the creature around with the other so that the strings twist into a rope. 

2.  Take hold of the rope and pull up and over the back part of the wooden controller mechanism.  Wrap rope around and around overlapping itself until puppet is about four inches from controller

4. Lay marionette down gently and place controller on top of it, making sure the cup hook is facing up.  

5.  To unwrap, unwind the strings from the tail section until marionette is hanging free.  Spin the marionette the opposite direction.

To pack your marionette for shipping or travel
follow 1 through 3 above, then place the creature in center of bubble wrap or other cushiony material.  Fold the packing material over the creature and then lay the controller on top with cup hook facing up.  Wrap this bundle in another layer of packing material and choose your shipping/travel container based upon this size.  For short/local trips a paper bag is acceptable, but a box is best overall.

Marionette Untangling, Restringing and Restoration Services

Should your marionette become hopelessly tangled you may ship it to us and we will make it nice again.  
1st time is free (you simply pay postage - approx. $8).
2nd and subsequent times is $10, plus postage.

2. RESTRINGING of any of OUR marionettes (if the tangle is so bad that we have to cut the strings and start over) is $20, plus postage (approx. $8).

We'd be happy to give you an estimate on fixing your marionette's particular problem(s).   

4. RESTRINGING a marionette made by someone else that is tangled or has broken strings, starting at $50 (plus postage which will depend on marionette size).

5. RESTORATION of old or damaged marionettes made by someone else  is possible, rates vary according to complexity, please contact Eric or Debra to inquire.


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For quickest response please phone us, at:
(410) 770-9057
Hours: 9 am to 6 pm Mon-Fri
Eastern time (Maryland, USA)

For slower response you may contact us by e-mail at:

Debra Hathaway and Eric Heath
Dragon Wings LLC
PO Box 801
Easton, MD 21601

Copyright 1997-2016 by Eric Heath and Debra Hathaway