We use cookies to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. See more about our use of cookies.

This apprenticeship standard is in development and is not yet ready to use

Why is this apprenticeship not ready for delivery?

An apprenticeship standard is only available for delivery when both the standard and assessment plan is approved and a funding band (core government contribution) has been assigned to the standard.

How can I get involved?

If you'd like to get involved and contribute to the development of this standard, please read about developing standards and assessment plans. You can email the trailblazer contact using the details on this page.

Reference Number: ST0476

Details of standard

This apprenticeship standard is currently in development and its contents are subject to change

Occupation summary

Puppet Makers (PM) support the design, manufacture (making) and performance of puppets for theatre, film, TV, carnival, animation, applied puppetry and outdoor arts.  They may work for a single Senior Puppet Maker or as part of a wider technical and performance team led by a Creative Director.  They are responsible for the care of their puppets at all times, including how they are handled, stored, transported and used during a performance/production.  They must know how to repair puppets and choose appropriate materials for manufacture to aid their preservation.

PMs must know how to design puppets suitable to the performance/production using appropriate technical drawing methods, and must be able to manufacture puppets to their own or others’ designs, selecting the most suitable materials for the conditions the puppet will be used in, for example: weather tolerant if used for outdoor performances, of sturdy structure if used for immersive/audience interactive performances, or resistant to heat and light damage if used in close proximity to theatre lighting.  PMs must understand the best application and likely lifespan of different materials and be confident making puppets from a range of materials such as paper, wood, papier mache, foam, wire, metal, rubber, acrylic and soft materials.  They must understand the required movement of puppets depending on the performance, and apply design and build methods to ensure said requirements can be met.  This may include the application and use of traditional strings, robotics or digital programming.

PMs must be confident in the use and maintenance of hand and machine tools and materials relevant to their puppetry setting(s) such as those outlined above. Detailed understanding and adherence to Health and Safety requirements at all times is vital.

Alongside the design and manufacture of puppets, PMs must also have awareness of the performance of puppets for live and recorded productions, and as such must have knowledge of creative performance principles to ensure puppets can be animated in line with performance scripts.

Typical job titles

Puppet Maker, Assistant Puppet Maker, Puppet Technician.

Occupation duties



Duty 1 Make puppets perform in line with production requirements

S2 S3

Duty 2 Make puppets from a range of materials suitable for the environment/type of performance they are intended for

K6 K7

S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9

B2 B3 B4 B5 B6

Duty 3 Design puppets in response to a given brief

K8 K9 K10

S10 S11

B2 B3 B5 B6

Duty 4 Meet Health and Safety compliance requirements


S12 S13 S14

B1 B5

Duty 5 Preserve and conserve puppets to aid their desired longevity and use

K12 K13

S15 S16

B2 B5 B6

Duty 6 Work as part of a team to agreed deadlines

S17 S18 S19 S20


Duty 7 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding about puppet making as a craft and puppetry as a creative performance aid

K1 K2 K3 K4 K5






K1: Understand the history of puppet making and performance including the contexts within which they have been used and how audiences engage and empathise with puppets

K2: Have awareness of the types and scales of organisation that commission, use and/or apply puppetry

K3: Know how to operate as a freelance puppet maker which may include project management, utilising online platforms, networking

K4: Understand the costs associated with different materials, where they’re sourced from and how these are selected to meet budget requirements.

K5: Understand how to minimise waste when using materials to comply with the organisation’s sustainability policy.

K6: Know which materials to use appropriate to the nature, purpose and frequency of the puppet’s use such as paper, wood, papier mache, foam, wire, metal, rubber, acrylic and soft materials

K7: Understand building techniques and materials used in the production of protective cases for the safe storage and transport of different puppets before, during and after a performance, to aid their preservation

K8: Understand basic anatomy and bio-mechanics such as skeletal structure, muscles, and tendons in humans and wildlife

K9: Understand the use of joints and mechanisms appropriate to a puppet’s planned usage/purpose

K10: Understand the most appropriate design method(s)to use to best respond to the design brief which may include technical illustration, CAD and/or Virtual Reality design

K11: Understand health and safety requirements associated with the environments within which puppets are used such as outdoor settings, film and TV sets, Theatres and other indoor venues, which may include audience and staff safety and security, compliance with noise regulations, working at height, basic electrics and handling workshop equipment

K12: Show understanding in a range of conservation methods to support the sound restoration of puppets relevant to different materials e.g. wood, metal, acrylic

K13: Propose how to safely handle puppets according to their build to minimise general wear and tear or long term damage to them


S1 Build joints and mechanisms suitable for the type of puppetry and performance environment which may include leather hinge joints, wooden pin joints and plastic pipe joints

S2 Demonstrate the mechanics of puppetry such as the relationship/separation between puppeteer and puppet, focus, reaction, use of breath and expression to give life to an inanimate object

S3 Technically operate specific types of puppet such as rod, table top, bunraku, glove, shadow, muppet-style, large scale, and digital to ensure it is suitable for its intended purpose and environment

S4 Select and use the most appropriate materials for construction such as paper, wood, papier mache, foam, wire, metal, rubber, acrylic and/or soft materials for the puppet’s desired use, weight, balance and longevity

S5 Undertake construction methods such as carving, foam patterning, mould casting, soft sculpture, seamstressing, metalwork, assemblage, large scale construction, animatronics, paints and finishes.

S6 Apply relevant mechanics such as push pull cable and rod mechanisms, basic digital robotics, hydraulics

S7 Use and maintain hand and machine tools appropriate to the type of puppet making, which may include pillar drills, hand drills, belt sanders, bandsaws, glue and air heat tools, hammers, pliers, grips and vices, knives and scalpels, files and abrasives, spanners, chisels, sewing machines

S8 Make costumes for puppets using machine and hand crafting tools, that allow for necessary movement and withstand the frequency and environments within which the puppets are used

S9 Modify puppets to respond to design and/or environmental changes

S10 Work to agreed briefs and/or designs by creating accurate technical drawings of puppets using graphic illustration techniques that are to scale, which may include the use of CAD design software such a Rhino of Fusion 360

S11 Build appropriate maquette and/or prototypes in line with the agreed project timeline to assess the puppet’s suitability for the intended performance/environment

S12 Select and use the most appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

S13 Comply with Health and safety regulations including IOSH and COSHH

S14 Apply relevant H&S considerations to a puppet’s build to prevent injury and aid safe, comfortable and efficient manipulation of the puppet by the puppeteer

S15 Select and use necessary building and finishing techniques and materials to ensure the puppet’s appropriate resistance to damage caused by different conditions such as weather, heat and light, performance wear and tear, audience interaction and pest corrosion

S16 Build and manage appropriate storage cases to aid puppet conservation before, during and after performances to reduce damage/corrosion, including during transit

S17 Confidently work alongside and support others as part of a project or permanent team to ensure the successful completion of a brief

S18 Clearly present ideas and methods to aid the design and construction of puppets

S19 Stay focused on the task at hand to fulfil tasks within agreed timeframes

S20 Organise workload effectively to ensure time is used wisely and tasks are completed in agreed priority order


B1: Be pro-active about learning new techniques, ways of working and improving personal knowledge

B2: Work with colleagues to trouble shoot in a methodical way

B3: Respond constructively and maturely when things don’t go as planned

B4: Remain calm under pressure

B5: Take and respond to instruction

B6: Seek solutions to problems and takes advice from those with relevant expertise

B7: Friendly and approachable at all times and open to sharing learning


English and Maths qualifications

Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment.  For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL.

Additional details

Occupational Level: 3
Duration (months): 18


This standard will be reviewed after three years.

Crown copyright © 2019. You may re-use this information (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. Visit www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence

Status: In development
Proposal approved Standard approved Assessment plan approved
Level: 3
Reference: ST0476
Version: 1
Date updated: 06/03/2019
Route: Creative and design
Trailblazer contact(s): Slavka@littleangeltheatre.com
Employers involved in creating the standard: Little Angel Theatre, Horse and Bamboo, Norwich Puppet Theatre, Blind Summit, Theatre Rites, Green Ginger, Folded Feather, Silent Tide/Curious School of Puppetry, Significant Object Theatre Co and Chair of the Puppet Centre, Little Chair, Smoking Apples Theatre, City of Wolverhampton College, Sad Lucy

Version log

Version Date updated Change Previous version
1 06/03/2019 Standard first published

Not available