Pete and Penelope


It feels like forever since I last updated this blog. 2014 was a whirlwind of a year with lots of crazy activity–both personally and professionally. But the Thistledown Puppets blog is now back for 2015–and with an amazing new project! Thistledown Puppets has been tasked with building the puppets for a new television show that is in development called Pete and Penelope– created by Adam Bush and Stephen Posey. This show, featuring puppets, will be geared toward preschool kids with the goal of helping them develop character and their Emotional Quotient. This from P&P creator Adam Bush:

“Our show is all about helping kids develop great character. Throughout the show we’ll deal with themes like being kind to each other, controlling our emotions (even when we’re upset), and making the decision to be happy even when things aren’t going our way. There’s no better way to tackle character development then to create two characters who embody the true character of little boys and girls all over the world.”


Adam and Stephen have been developing the concept for this show for over a year (check out their blog) and now it’s time to bring the characters to three dimensional life. I’ve begun the preliminary work of doing character turnarounds and developing patterns and such. In subsequent posts, I’ll introduce you to the characters and give you access to the workshop, letting you follow along as the puppets come to life. Happy New Year and stay tuned!

New Batch of Thistledown Puppets for Sale!

We’ve gotten a jump on our annual Spring Cleaning and would like to see some puppets go to good homes where they will be used and enjoyed. They are for sale on a first come, first serve basis at prices that are much lower than they would be if they were being commissioned as custom puppets. If you are interested in any of them, please email me at I accept payments via credit card or PayPal.

Aslan the Lion puppet: This guy was created for a Narnia event that we did several years ago. He is 30″ from top of head to bottom of mane and has an 18″ paw that you can put your arm into to add life to the character.

Big Goat puppet: This goat was used in our video “Space Trip”, an homage to Star Trek. He can also be seen in Crabtree Furniture’s Sid’s Black Friday commercial. He is 24″ tall and has rod arms.

Mouse puppet: This little lady was a star in Alex Lucas’ Give: A Christmas Musical. She is 17″ tall and has a rod arm.

Little Goat puppet: This little guy was used in a live Three Billy Goats Gruff show we did several years ago. He is 14″ tall and has a rod arm.

Girl puppet: This puppet also starred in Give: A Puppet Musical. She is 24″ tall and has a live glove hand.

Lil’ Beards

I’ve always toyed around with the idea of opening an Etsy shop to explore some fun things on the side. Well a couple of weeks ago, that became a reality. I combined my love of puppets with my enjoyment of beard growing and created Lil’ Beards, a place where the beard and moustache can be immortalized in a fun way…specifically with finger puppets. I plan to fill the shop with all kinds of puppets of famous bearded men through history, but my favorite aspect of the shop is my Custom Lil’ Beard where I make finger puppet versions of clients’ beards and staches. It’s been quite a hit so far, and I’m having the time of my life. Check out the About page for more info. If you or someone you know has a furry face, consider getting a Lil’ Beard for yourself! You can see a few samples of what I do below:

Eric Bandholz from Beardbrand

Mark Twain

Jim Henson

Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty(puppet not for sale).

Sy Robertson from Duck Dynasty (puppet not for sale).

Each puppet comes packaged in a specially printed box

Thistledown puppets (and puppet parts) for sale! PRICE REDUCED

Most people do Spring cleaning, but here at Thistledown Puppets, we do Summer cleaning. As part of that, and to make room in the constantly expanding workshop, we’re selling several puppets. This is your chance to own a Thistledown puppet at a fraction of the cost. Below is the breakdown for each–if you are interested in any of them please e-mail me at and I’ll be happy to send you a PayPal invoice and discuss shipping details.

1) A large girl puppet with one live hand. This puppet includes two costumes–one sweater and one pajama shirt. This character was used in Give: A Puppet Musical, produced here in Roanoke a couple of Christmases ago. (This girl and the following boy can also be sold as a set for $900)

2) A large boy puppet with one glove hand. This puppet also comes with two costumes–one shirt and one pajama shirt (custom sweater not for sale). This puppet was also used in Give: A Puppet Musical. (Can be sold with the above girl puppet as a set for $900).

3) A cat puppet. This was the Alley Cat from Give: A Puppet Musical. He has one glove hand and an intentional “shabby” or “mangy” look.

4) A smaller redheaded boy puppet. This puppet includes arm rods and one costume.

5) An owl puppet. This little guy was used in our “Countdown to Harry Potter” YouTube video several years ago.

6) A puppet head. This head is the same size as the redhead boy puppet. It was intended to be created as a companion, but we never got around to completing it. All you would need to do is build a body with arms and maybe add a hair feature and this puppet would be ready to go.

7) A box of vinyl scraps. There are three solid colors (about a half yard of two, a quarter yard of gray) and two “snakeskin” colors (about one yard of each). These scraps are sold as one box–not separately.

I will sell these on a first come-first serve basis, so get in touch as soon as you can!


This is a time of transition for us here at Thistledown Puppets. After recovering from a website problem (which is now fixed) there is some work to do on the blog. There’s lots of work going on in the workshop right now, so please be patient with us as we revamp the blog over the coming weeks.

We’re also in the process of moving in to a larger studio space. This is really exciting. We’ll post pics of the new digs once we’re all settled in. AND–we can’t wait to show off some of the latest puppet creations, so stay tuned!

Thistledown Puppets For Sale

As we kick off the New Year, I’ve been organizing the workshop to make room for some new projects. As a result I’ve decided to sell a few puppets that have been hanging around for a while. They are all a part of Thistledown’s history and I’d love to see them go to good homes where they will be appreciated. If you are interested in any of them, send me a Contact Form and I’ll send you a PayPal invoice for them. If you are interested in the entire set, you can purchase them all for $1700 total.

First up is the Red Panda from the Building the Red Panda video series. He was originally built for a local auction, but he was a little out of place there and never received a bid.

Red Panda

Next is Little Red Riding Hood. She was part of one of our early live shows.

Red Riding Hood

Red Riding Hood

The next puppet was one of the top ten finalists in the Once Upon a Puppet Contest held in 2007 at Project Puppet. It’s Mr. Toad of Toad Hall, inspired by the Kenneth Grahame classic The Wind in the Willows.

Toad Sold

Mr. Toad

And finally we have a little female sheep that was used for a few years as Mrs. Cratchit in our production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol that featured a motley group of Thistledown’s puppets.

Sheep Sold

If you haven’t been able to afford one of our custom creations, this is a great way to get one of our puppets to add to your collection or puppet show cast!

The Critters Have Shipped!

Christmas Critter 2011

I’m glad to announce that the Christmas Critters have all been shipped. So if you ordered one, then you can expect it in the mail really soon. And if you didn’t order one…that’s okay. We plan to make the Critters a Christmas tradition here at Thistledown Puppets. Expect a brand new one next season!

Critters at the tree

more Critters at the tree

Critter close-up


first batch of boxes ready

Now it’s back to work for a bit until Christmas, then we’ll be taking a mini vacation the last week of December to rest and relax…

The Thistledown Puppets Christmas Critter

christmas critter

This Christmas season, I want to share my love of puppets with you. So without further ado, I’m proud to introduce the Thistledown Puppets Christmas Critter! He is an adorable little monster puppet made by myself right here in the Thistledown Puppets workshop. He’s just over 12 inches tall and sure to bring smiles to the faces of the little ones in your life. The Critter would also make a great beginner puppet for those of you who are young at heart and have wanted to get started in puppetry.

This quality hand-made puppet is available to you for just $79. This is a limited edition—only 25 puppets are available, so it’s first come first serve.

How do I purchase one?

Simply fill out a Contact Form on the Thistledown Puppets site and you’ll receive a PayPal invoice (You must pay in full to reserve your puppet). All orders placed before November 18th in the Continental US will receive free shipping, so get your order in early. For those outside the US, international shipping rates will apply. When ordering, please include, your name, e-mail address, and shipping address.

All orders must be received before November 30, 2011. The puppet will arrive at your door in time for Christmas.

So what are you waiting for? Get your order in for your Christmas Critter today! Here’s looking forward to Merry and Joy-filled Christmas season!

Philip Hatter

christmas critter

christmas critter

christmas critter

christmas critter