Puppet Buying Guide

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Puppet Buying Guide

Plenty to Choose From

When it comes to buying puppets on eBay, there really are plenty to choose from. If you know what you’re looking for, you can make a purchase in just a few clicks. However, if you’re uncertain as to which type of puppet it is you require it can be a daunting and challenging process.

This puppet buying guide gives you a good idea of the different varieties of puppets available, and how to purchase them on eBay.

Varieties of Puppets

Here are some examples of the different varieties of puppets available on eBay:

  • Finger Puppets– This type of puppet is often made from materials such as cloth or felt, and is placed over the finger to control movement. Finger puppets are frequently used in pre-schools and reception classes for storytelling.
  • Glove Puppets – This type of puppet has a cloth body and hollow head, and fits over the hand. The mouth of the glove puppet is controlled by opening and closing the palm of the hand.
  • Sock Puppets – This type of puppet is made from a sock, and is operated by inserting one hand inside. By raising and lowering, opening and closing the hand, the puppeteer is able to give the impression that the sock puppet is talking.
  • Half Body Puppets– This type of puppet is used for behind the stage use, where the hand enters through the bottom of the torso in order to control the use of the hands and arms.
  • Full Body Puppets This type of puppet is large enough to accommodate an adult-sized hand. The hand is often placed into the back of the puppet and up into the head to control the mouth. 
  • Marionettes A Marionette is a type of puppet that is worked from above by strings or wires that are attached to its limbs. These puppets are frequently used in theatre productions.
  • Marotte Puppets – This type of puppet is a simplified rod puppet that has a head, and or body which is attached to a stick. Marottes can also be found with a small string running through the stick to a handle at the bottom which, when squeezed, causes the puppet’s mouth to open. 
  • Ventriloquist Dummies Typically, a ventriloquist dummy is sat on the lap of the performer. A skilled performer has the ability to control the mouth of the dummy with their hand, whilst pronouncing words with as little mouth movement as possible to give the impression that the dummy is talking.  
  • Shadow Puppets – This type of puppet is used to form shadows or silhouettes when manipulated between a light source and screen. Shadow puppets are jointed figures that are controlled by rods or strings attached to the head and limbs of the puppet.
  • Puppet Kits – These contain everything you need to make your own puppet, including instructions. The puppets which can be made from puppet kits are often small, finger puppets or glove puppets. They are assembled using constituent parts, paint, brush, and glue, or can even be made by stitching materials together, also known as needle craft.

Puppets on eBay

Puppets on eBay vary in price from as little as a few to several hundred pounds. As well as the different varieties of puppets available mentioned above, it is also worth bearing in mind that there are different puppets for amateurs and professionals. Amateur puppets, or those for children, are often made from fabrics such as cloth or felt, whereas professional puppets are made from material such as antron fleece. This material was used to make the puppet characters in Jim Henson’s The Muppets.

Top flight puppet makers spend many hours crafting puppets made for professional use. These puppets are made from high quality fabrics and materials; this is one of the reasons why they tend to come with such a high price tag. On the other hand, amateur puppets are made from cheaper materials, less time is dedicated to their making, and the technique used in their crafting is simpler. When deciding on which type of puppet you require, whether it be a professional or amateur puppet, you have to take into consideration what you intend to use it for.  If you are looking to purchase a puppet for children to play with, it is advisable that you opt for a lower cost, amateur puppet. By doing so, if the puppet was to become damaged, it can easily be replaced.

If you intend to purchase a puppet for use in theatre productions or for entertainment purposes, you may wish to consider opting for a professional puppet which is likely to last for many years due to the high quality materials and craftsmanship which goes into its production.

The History and Uses of Puppets

A form of theatre or performance that involves the manipulation of puppets, puppetry is an ancient art form thought to have originated around 3,000 years ago. Although it is not exactly known where puppetry began, many scholars believe that the art form started in China with the introduction of shadow puppets. Today, puppets are largely used as a means of entertaining and educating children, and have become an integral part of the classroom environment.

Puppets are routinely used as a teaching aid in the classroom, as they are believed to help capture and maintain the attention of a room full of children. It is believed that children become more vocal when a puppet is used in the classroom. Puppets often offer a way of engaging with even the shyest of children. When using puppets within the classroom, it is important to consider what reaction you want to achieve from the children. For example, if you want to use a puppet to help the children settle into their new class, a puppet with a friendly and welcoming face would be advisable.

If you’re trying to introduce a new topic to the children in your class, try to opt for a ‘themed’ puppet. This could become an ‘ambassador’ to the children, but remember to ensure the children in your class always see the puppet ‘alive’. For example, don’t let them see you taking the puppet off your hand. Vintage puppets are sought by collectors and dealers alike. Puppets which are in original condition, with no stains or tears, can fetch hundreds of pounds. But it isn’t just vintage puppets that are collectable; character puppets are also highly sought after by collectors.

Why Choose eBay for Puppets?

eBay is a popular place for users to purchase puppets, mainly due to the different varieties available, and low prices not found elsewhere.

How to Search for Puppets on eBay

Now that you’ve found out about the different varieties of puppets, you can begin your search on eBay. To start your search, go to the All Categories link on the homepage of eBay. Click Toys and Games, and then select Creative Toys and Activities, Puppets.

Keyword search

Search eBay listing titles for specific words. For example, if you want to find finger puppets, type the keywords "finger puppets" (without quotation marks) into the Search box. Click, "Search title and description" to expand your results. Visit eBay's Search Tips page for more tips on searching with keywords.

If you can't find exactly what you’re looking for, try browsing eBay Stores or tell the eBay Community what you’re looking for by creating a post on Want It Now, or save a search on My eBay and eBay will email you when a matching item becomes available.

Buy Puppets on eBay with Confidence

Make sure that you know exactly what you’re buying and understand how eBay and PayPal protect you.

Know your item

  • Read the details in the item listing carefully.
  • Remember to add delivery costs to your final price. If you’re buying a high value item, check that the seller will insure it until it is delivered to you.
  • If you want more information, click the “Ask seller a question” button on the seller’s profile or the “Ask a question” link at the bottom of the item listing page.
  • Always complete your transaction on eBay (with a bid, Buy it Now or Best Offer) otherwise you will not be covered by eBay Buyer Protection.
  • Never pay for your eBay item using an instant cash wire transfer service like Western Union or MoneyGram. These are not safe ways of paying someone you do not know.

Know your seller

Research your seller so that you feel safe and positive about every transaction.

  • What is the seller’s Feedback rating? 
  • How many transactions have they completed?
  • How many positive responses do they have?
  • What do buyers say in their Feedback? 
  • Are they positive about the seller?
  • Most top eBay sellers operate like retail shops and have a returns policy.
  • Do they offer a money-back guarantee? 
  • What are their terms and conditions?

Buyer protection

In the very unlikely event that you do not receive your item or it is not as described, eBay Buyer Protection covers your purchase price plus original delivery cost.

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