Likeness puppet Valentine’s day: Is it likeness or is it love?

February 2018, Leith

It was a dreary February day in Edinburgh, and I was catching up with my old friend Debbie, when she suddenly said, “You aren’t seeing anyone right now, are you?”

“No, why?”

“Well you know Valentines Day is coming up… there’s a friend of mine I want you to meet, I think you’d really get on!”

“Valentines Day is just overhyped consumerism designed to make people feel bad about being single. But who’s your friend?”

“His name is Tim, and he’s a likeness puppet too, so I just know you’ll get along! We do yoga together every week and he’s really friendly.”

“Okay… but I don’t really think being a likeness puppet is the most interesting thing about me. I’d like to have more in common than that.”

“Just tell me you’ll meet him and give him a chance!”

February 14th

So that was how I ended up sitting in a nice cafe in Leith over fancy hot chocolates, on Valentines Day. I hadn’t meant to arrange the date for that day, but as it turned out, it was the only afternoon we were both free for a while. He certainly seemed nice enough, pretty cute and clearly fit from all the yoga! But as we got talking, it didn’t seem like romance was in the air.

A likeness puppet man and woman sitting in a cafe with drinks

“So, you’re a likeness puppet too?” He said. “Who’s your lookalike person?”

“You know, I don’t really think about her. Sure, I was made to look like some woman named Elizabeth, but that’s not who I am. I go by Liz, I have my own life and interests. Don’t you?”

He looked confused. “No? I’m Tim’s puppet likeness, so I’m just him in puppet form. He does yoga, so I do yoga. This is his favourite place for hot chocolate. I can’t imagine what I would do if I wasn’t Tim.”

I didn’t know what to say. This is honestly why I’ve kind of given up on dating other likeness puppets. So many of them have no personality outside of who they were made to resemble, and that just seems so sad to me. I was willing to give this guy a chance for Debbie’s sake, but it was starting to look like a waste of an afternoon. I sighed and made another effort.

“If you could do anything, not worrying about Tim, what would you do? Anything at all?”

He stared into his whipped cream, stirring idly.

“I dunno…” he said eventually. “I’d kind of like to travel, but Tim is such a homebody. I think we both secretly love the idea of just getting on a plane and going somewhere new, but he’d never actually do that. I couldn’t do that.”

“But why not?” I lit up. “You’re not stuck being as boring as this Tim guy sounds! Where would you go if you could pick anywhere?”

He smiled, almost to himself, and it was the most genuine he had looked since we met. It was pretty cute.

“Italy maybe?” He sounded hesitant, like it might be the wrong answer. “I love the food, and there’s so much cool archaeology…”

“All the Roman ruins, just in the middle of everyday life! Did you know that Rome’s cats have been designated as part of the city’s cultural heritage?”

“Really? That’s awesome!” He was gaining enthusiasm, and his grin was contagious. “I always thought I’d like to have a cat. Tim’s more of a dog person.”

“Not this Tim!” Impulsively, I reached across the table to squeeze his hand. “You are your own person, and I like him.”

So, long story short, we have another date for next week: Roman Holiday and dinner at my place. I think I owe Debbie a thank you! And whether or not you’re a likeness puppet, remember the most attractive thing you can do is to be yourself.


Want your own likeness puppet, with or without its own personality? Check out our likeness puppets page:

Or, there are more options for custom puppets:

Cuddly Tamandua

This cuddly tamandua was handmade in Edinburgh by Picture to Puppet. He’s made of lovely soft high quality fur fabrics with felt features. He’s about 20 inches long.

Tamanduas are part of the anteater family. His long toungue is for catching ants and termites, and his bendy claws make him very good at climbing trees. He’s originally South American and likes to live in forests and grasslands. Tamanduas sleep in the day and go out and have fun at night time. They can’t see very well but have amazing senses of hearing and smell.

He is ready to add an exotic note to any soft toy collection!

All my toys are safe for children and they are hardwearing enough to withstand many years of love and hugs. I believe this so much that all of our toys and puppets come with a 5 year guarantee – if they become damaged, I will repair them free of charge.

You can buy one below!

At Picture to Puppet, we also make custom puppets to order based on any animal – it could be your favourite animal, your pet or your child’s drawing!  Contact Picture to Puppet to place your order.

Find out more about our custom soft toys

Find out more about our custom puppets based on kids’ drawings




Singing Puppets perform the Boar’s Head Carol with Castle Chorus

The Boar’s head carol, performed by a motley mixed crew of humans and singing puppets!

Edinburgh’s Legendary Castle Chorus is joined by some puppets from Picture to Puppet.

You can get tickets for Castle Chorus’s Christmas concert here:…

It is THIS SUNDAY December the 17th!

Picture to Puppet makes custom puppets to order, in quantities from 1-500! We also make custom soft toys, from your logo, mascot or children’s drawings. Some of the puppets you can see in this video are likeness lookalike puppets – people send me a photo of themself or someone else and I make it into a puppet or cuddly toy. A lot of them are for educational resources, the dancing wizards in the front are for a reading scheme.

Visit to find out more.



Facing reality with likeness puppets

If you’ve seen the likeness puppets I make, you might be curious about how I construct them and make them look like specific people. Or you might not, but I’m going to tell you a bit about it anyway. I’m going to focus on likeness hand puppets, which have three-dimensional heads, and a movable mouth that you operate with your hand. They can also have other movable features; check out the link below for some fun videos showing examples I’ve made!

Mechanisms button

The head starts as a foam base, which can be adjusted for different shaped heads. When people send me photographs to make likeness puppets, I spend a lot of time staring at the shape of their head and trying to match it in foam. This gets covered in a fabric ‘skin’. The mouth is built into the outer fabric, and is stiffened with plastic to hold its shape. The eyes, nose, ears and any other features such as facial hair are sewn on separately.

Custom hand puppets Mari and three foam heads
Heads will roll, says the Puppetmastress


Custom hand puppet face and foam heads
Insides and outsides: a face with all features attached, ready to be put on its foam base.

There are a couple different ways to make the eyes, depending on what effect I’m going for. One method is to make eyes from half ping pong balls. This makes them three-dimensional, and they can sit behind the fabric for a more realistic effect. Realism is a fine line with puppets, which can easily cross over into creepy. I use this technique for my Donald Trump likeness puppets, for whom deranged and terrifying is perfectly appropriate. However, if you’re trying to make your puppet look like a normal person, it can turn out less well. Try not to stare into those pale blank eyes for too long…

Picture to Puppet Gallery Donald Trump hand puppet
Run away


Custom hand puppets scary puppet on the shore
Run away screaming

In the above instance, I ended up replacing those eyes with two-dimensional felt ones, which I hope take the puppet out of the realm of the uncanny valley.

Custom hand puppet man in blue shirt
Much better!

A lot of the work I do involves this sort of decision making, to produce a unique likeness that my client will recognise. Even slight adjustments to the shape and placement of features can dramatically change how a puppet looks, and the choice of technique can take it from cute to caricature. Aside from the actual construction, that’s part of what makes it such a specialised skill. I’m always experimenting and trying new things in an effort to produce fun and accurate puppet likenesses.

Ever wonder what you would look like as a puppet? Why not send your photo along and order your own likeness puppet, or get one made for a friend or loved one? I promise it will be flattering, unless you’re Donald Trump!


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Puppets of Edinburgh: Mr. Mushroom

“What can I say about myself? Well, I like to think I’m a pretty fun guy…. get it? Fungi? Sorry, that one gets me every time.

Mr mushroom 2

At the moment I’m enjoying growing in Leith community garden. I sprouted here about a month ago, in this nice sunny spot, and I really like it. The sunflowers are friendly, although these poppies here are a bit stuck up- don’t tell them I said that. Some cute flax flowers came through recently, and we had a nice chat, but they were off to Northern Ireland and couldn’t stay! I’m not quite that adventurous, but I’d like to see a bit more of the world.

In fact, I’d just put my hat on with the intention of taking a stroll around town, when you asked to take a picture. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s a pretty small hat… you could say there’s not ‘mush-room’ in it! Except that I’m wearing it. Never mind, that joke worked better in my head. As I was saying, I was just going for a walk. I’ve heard the local market might be a good place to meet some other vegetables. Maybe even a fruit, who knows?!

…Sorry, what was that? Try not to get eaten? Hahahaha, you’re a funny one. ‘Don’t get eaten,’ what a laugh. Anyway, I’ll be off. Catch you later!”


[Note: Puppets of Edinburgh returned to the garden the next day, and Mr. Mushroom had not been heard from since his departure. We fear the worst.]


Dress up your mini me for Halloween!

Happy Halloween! Many people will have big plans for dressing up tonight, but have you ever considered getting a custom made puppet or soft toy that can be dressed up however you want? We make personalized puppets and cuddly toys based on a photograph of you or someone else, and you can request whatever fantasy version of yourself you can imagine!

Paul and his girlfriend recently ordered custom ‘mini me’ soft toys, and it was a fun challenge to make their tiny selves look exactly how they wanted. He wanted to be wearing a Lotus shirt from Formula 1 Racing and she wanted to be dressed in Hogwarts robes, from Harry Potter. This is the set of inspiration pictures he provided to base the dolls on.reference pics

I made the bodies and faces using my usual technique. It always takes a bit of experimenting with the size and placement of facial features to get the puppet or toy to resemble the person as much as possible. These are soft toys, so they’re fully stuffed with no puppet mechanism. They don’t move, but this style allows for a lot of creativity in dressing and decorating. It’s also possible to make ‘mini me’ hand puppets, with movable arms and heads.

I always try to find clothing to match the image that a client sends. In this case, I had to get child-sized branded garments, and cut them down to puppet size. It’s also possible to get fabric digitally printed with a custom image, so depending on whether you want an existing design or something from your imagination, the sky’s the limit!

Here are the finished mini mes! I had a lot of fun taking pictures of them in appropriate settings- did you know Leith has its very own castle?

Finally, here are Paul and his girlfriend with their custom likeness soft toys. Don’t they look adorable?

mini mes 8

If you could have a puppet or stuffed toy version of yourself, would you want to look like a character from a book or movie? Show off your favourite band or sport? Or would you invent a completely unique persona? I’d love to hear you ideas and make them reality!

Custom Puppets Buttonclick here to find out more about Picture to Puppet’s custom puppets

Custom Soft Toys buttonclick here to find out more about Picture to Puppet’s custom soft toys

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Safer Internet Day Toy

I was commissioned to make this toy based on Safer Internet Day’s logo. At Picture to Puppet I make custom soft toys based on clients’ own designs. This made from a big block of foam which I covered with fabric, and the wee globe I had digitally printed.

Custom Soft Toys button

Click here for more about Picture to Puppet’s bespoke service making custom toys and puppets based on logos or mascots.

safer internet 2safer internet 1

For more about Safer Internet Day visit

Contact Me button 2


Or email

Likeness Glove Puppets

I was commissioned to make these three likeness glove puppets based on three bridesmaids for a wedding. Caricature puppets are always fun to make because they’re always different, and I like making or customising tiny clothes to fit them! Sometimes people ask for tiny mini me puppets of themselves or sometimes it’s a loved one.

Bridesmaid 3Bridesmaid 2Bridesmaid 1

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Find out more about my custom puppets



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Find out more about my custom soft toys



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Custom puppets video

If you’re looking for custom puppets or custom soft toys based on your own characters, Picture to Puppet can help! I often make puppets for educational or advertising purposes.  They could be your logo or mascot, or a character from your book, a franchise character or your child’s drawing. I also make likeness or mini me puppets based on photos.

I made this 40 second video to show a few examples of characters I’ve made up.


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Find out more about my custom puppets


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Find out more about my custom soft toys


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