What is the difference between a hand puppet and a glove puppet?

A very common question we are asked is “What is the difference between a hand puppet and a glove puppet?” 

Here are some of the main differences between hand and glove puppets. Please note that all our puppets are unique, and these features are a general guideline – there are always exceptions to every rule! Contact us to chat about the type of puppet you would like.

If you’re looking for a different type of puppet, just ask – we make all sorts!

Our Hand Puppets:

  • Can be any size, but are usually 50-85cm tall
  •  Have an internal foam structure and a stuffed body
  • Have a reinforced movable mouth
  • Can be gently hand washed
  • Can have a very wide variety of shapes
  • Can have added extras such as moving eyebrows, arm rods, moving ears etc
  • Also known as talking puppets, ventrioquist puppets, muppets, moving mouth puppets. 

Our Glove Puppets:

  • Are usually 25-35cm tall
  • Are flatter and less structured
  • Have a movable head and arms that you move with your thumb and fingers
  • Can be machine washed on a gentle setting
  • Have a basic glove shape


Here are some examples showing hand puppets and glove puppets of the same characters.

A Custom soft toy.
A hand puppet- 85cm tall
A Custom Glove Puppet Cave Troll
A Glove Puppet - 35cm tall
A Hand Puppet - 80cm tall
Custom Glove Puppet Pirate wearing a purple jacket and a black hat
A Glove Puppet - 40cm tall

Find out more about our hand puppets and glove puppets here:

For more information about different types of puppets, here are some great books!

Picture to Puppet on Steph’s Packed Lunch

Yesterday we were lucky to have a spot on Steph’s Packed Lunch, in the unique business market feature. I surprised Steph McGovern with a likeness puppet of herself wearing her favourite red jacket! 

Steph McGovern Puppet on Steph's

I had 2 days notice to get ready, so my Steph McGovern puppet was a bit of last minute effort and a very late night! But it was worth it to see Steph’s face when she saw it. I talked about Picture to Puppet and Leith Toy Hospital, my toy repair service.

It was all a bit of a whirlwind, and especially strange after staying in the house so long in lockdown, but it was really interesting to see how live TV shows are made, and everyone I met there was lovely! 

My Steph’s Packed Lunch Puppet

We can make likeness puppets like our Steph McGovern puppet of anyone – you don’t need to be a celebrity! Even though we have a fair few celebrity clients, we also make lots of puppets for schools, You can see lots of other examples of our likeness puppets here!

Here are some other places you might see our puppets and makers on TV!


Our maker Kiaz Trepte on The Loop

One of our fabulous makers Kiaz Trepte was featured recently on The Loop on BBC Scotland recently, telling the story of how she swapped couture fashion for puppet making with Picture to Puppet. 

Hypothetical Puppets on Dave

James Acaster Puppet and Josh Widdicombe Puppet

Back in 2018 we made puppets of James Acaster, Josh Widdicombe, Romesh Ranganathan, Rose Matafeo, Jonathan and Rachel Parris. Our Romesh Puppet and our James Acaster Puppet keep popping up on TV, so keep your eyes out for them!

New face mask features available!

Here at Picture to Puppet, designing different types of face masks has been a really interesting and fun new venture for us. We’ve constantly been refining the design of our masks based on customer feedback. We’re very excited to announce some new customisable features that we hope you’re interested in trying out!

Cocktail masks

Enjoy a drink while wearing a comfortable mask! These masks have a hole in the middle for your straw which is covered by a flap of fabric.

Lip reading masks

Perfect for people who want their mouths to be visible, these masks have a clear piece of plastic inserted into the front.

Reading glasses buttons

A small button on your mask will keep your reading glasses propped up and secure.

The additional features can be incorporated into any size and design of mask.  When ordering, just select the feature you would like at the check out and we’ll do the rest! All of these masks continue to have the standard features that have made them so popular with customers. They’ve got a wire nose bridge to help shape them around your nose, which helps reduce the amount your glasses steam up. They’ve also got very comfy adjustable ear straps. Pockets are included in each mask so that filters can be inserted if needed.

Have a browse through our different face mask designs here!

Where to Buy a Face Mask in Scotland

Where should I buy a locally made reusable face mask in Scotland?

From Picture to Puppet of course!

Thanks to lots of positive word of mouth we’ve sold over 2000 face masks! They’re all made in Leith, Edinburgh by our staff and our team of 17 local freelance sewers. As well as wearing them ourselves, we’ve been listening to customer feedback since the start and have been constantly modifying and improving the design. 

Our locally made face masks are stylish, fitted and washable to 60 degrees. They’re available in lots of different fabrics and 3 sizes – large, medium and children’s. They’ve got a wire nose bridge to help shape them around your nose, which helps reduce the amount your glasses steam up! They’ve also got very comfy adjustable ear straps. 

Co-ordinating the reusable face mask project has been an adventure to say the least – dealing with this volume of orders is new territory for us, and it’s been a big learning curve. We’re really grateful to our fabulous team of local sewers for stepping up and helping us!

Where can I get a reusable face mask in England, Wales or Northern Ireland?

As well as offering local collection, we post masks across the UK, including, Wales, Northern Ireland and England. 

Have a browse through our different face mask designs here!

Where else can I get a reusable face mask?

Also try our sister company Leith Toy Hospital, who also make lovely face masks! Find out more about their face masks here.

Puppets for Public Health Videos

Our puppets have been busy helping spread the message about how to stay safe during the Coronavirus outbreak. We have had lots of requests to make custom puppets for public health promotion videos and puppet films to engage kids with messages about the Corona virus. 


Puppets can be novel and engaging additions to public health videos, as they help get the message across, and keep kids engaged (they also come in any shape, size or style of your choosing!). 


We’ve also made a few example puppet public health videos of our own! Take a look at what Dr. Phillips has to say about staying safe.

We love making custom puppets for film, and we feel proud seeing them raise awareness, and help tackle the spread of disease. Puppets can help bring public health promotion videos to life by engaging a young audience with a challenging subject matter.

In your video you can have only puppets, or you can mix puppets and humans together. Either way we tend to find it’s the puppets that steal the show!

It can be difficult to find a fun way to explain Covid-19, but here in the studio we’ve become quite fond of our medical puppets!

For more fun and child friendly Covid advice, visit Leith Toy Hospital’s tips from Nurse Nancy! 

For the latest advice on keeping safe in the Coronavirus, have a look at the WHO’s guidance here.


Puppets for Video and Online Chat

Over the past year we’ve noticed that lots of the puppets we’ve made in our Edinburgh studio are going to be used online, either as the star of a video or just for use in skype or facetime chats. We’ve even made a whole team of likeness puppets for one organisation, which would certainly make video conferencing with colleagues working from home more fun!

Custom likeness puppet

Puppets are a great way to engage children (and grown-ups too) when teaching, storytelling or coaching online or remotely, and can really help to get your message across in a fun way.

Our puppets can be used in online videos as well as live chats.

As well as creating  likeness puppets of the human members of your team we can also make your mascot or character into a friendly puppet who can come alive on screen. We’ve made all kinds of mascots and characters into puppets – including a talking tuna can, a troll and lots and lots of different animals, not to mention all of the body parts for the lovely Senses glove puppet!

If you’re interested in a puppet then just email a photo to us at team@picturetopuppet.co.uk or fill in our online form, and we can get back to you with a quote. Our likeness puppets start from £175 for a glove puppet, and from £315 for a half body likeness puppet

Hypothetical Puppets by Picture to Puppet

Watch our puppets on Dave!

Here is a sneak preview of our Hypothetical puppets on TV – we’re delighted to hear them going down so well with the audience:

Who made the Hypothetical Puppets?

The six Hypothetical puppets were made by Mari Jones and Emma Forrest here at Picture to Puppet. Our Josh Widdicombe and James Acaster puppets will be joined by our Romesh puppet, our Rachel Parris puppet, our Jon Richardson puppet and our Rose Matafeo puppet!

We had a great time making the Hypothetical puppets because the comedians were so charismatic and interesting to caricature. We’re proud of our Romesh puppet’s distinctive expression, of our Rose Matafeo puppet’s big smile and of our Jon Richardson puppet’s open face.

You can find out more about our custom caricature puppets, likeness puppets and lookalike puppets here! If you’d like to find out a bit about the process of making likeness puppets, we’ve got a lovely video about it here (video courtesy of Becky Chan):

You can see lots of examples of other likeness puppets we have made here!

Here are some pictures of our Josh Widdicombe and James Acaster puppets:

Our Romesh Puppet

Romesh Ranganathan Puppet

Here is our Romesh Ranganathan puppet! As with all our custom puppets, we worked hard to get the right head shape, and his squint. We even gelled his hair into shape and trimmed his beard to the right length!

Our Josh Widdicombe Puppet

Josh Widdicombe Puppet
Here is our Josh Widdicombe puppet!

In our Josh Widdicombe puppet, we tried to match his tousled curls, blue eyes and glasses.

Our Rose Matafeo Puppet

Rose Matafeo puppet by Picture to Puppet

Rose Matafeo’s joyful expression was a pleasure to capture in our Rose Matafeo puppet. We also searched high and low for a tiny costume to match hers, and the right wig!

Rachel Paris Puppet

We focused on Rachel Parris’s Luscious lips when making our Rachel Parris puppet. Happy to hear her say it was the hair of her dreams! When we make caricature puppets, the challenge is is often to accentuate the person’s most distinctive features whilst retaining a close likeness.

Our James Acaster Puppet

James Acaster Puppet

Here is our James Acaster puppet! Sadly he’d had a haircut by the time the show came around, which reduced the likeness a bit. But it’s mostly in the eyebrows!

Our Jon Richardson Puppet

Jon Richardson Puppet

I got quite attached to our Jon Richardson Puppet, because he has such a friendly face!

Order your own custom caricature puppet from Picture to Puppet!

You don’t need to be a TV production company to order a fabulous lookalike puppet. We make lots of custom puppets, and can make likeness puppets (like these hypothetical puppets) based on anyone you like, just send us a photo to mari@picturetopuppet.co.uk. Our likeness puppets start from £175 for a glove puppet and £315 for a hand puppet. Why not jazz up your best man speech, or surprise a loved one?

For more about Picture to Puppet’s custom puppets, visit www.picturetopuppet.co.uk/custom-puppets or you could also come and visit us in our Edinburgh studio at 64 Constitution Street, where we also run Leith Toy Hospital!

Mini Me Puppets

Recently I have had lots of commissions for lookalike puppets – I’m sent a photo of a person and have to build a puppet based on the picture. Often the pictures are of celebrities and are used in TV shows and stage productions, and often they are commissioned by people who want a mini me puppet to look like themselves.

Charles Barkley lookalike puppet

At the moment I’m working on a bulk load of celebrity lookalike puppets for a TV show called hypothetical. We don’t know when it’s going to air yet, but Ill keep you posted!

Recent Mini Me and Lookalike Puppets

In the mean time, here are some other lookalike puppets I’ve made over the last couple of months. I’m finding that the more lookalike puppets I make, the more I enjoy it, as I am always learning new ways to represent different facial features. Recently I have started making much more detailed facial structures by carving foam shapes and glueing them onto the foam skulls. I’m also figuring out more ways to show different hair styles, and I’m gradually adding hair dressing to the list of random skills I am picking up in the course of my puppet making career!

Mini me puppet custom puppet

I really enjoy working on lookalike puppets of older people because their faces have so much character. Even though I rarely meet  or even speak to the subjects of my mini mes, I find myself inventing personalities for them as I go along. I feel like this lady has a good sense of fun as well as lots of interesting stories and wise words to offer!

Mini me puppet

I think this chap looks very friendly and approachable!Mini me puppets

These mini me puppets were commissioned as a wedding present for the couple in question. Don’t they look happy! I’ve done quite a few puppets for wedding speeches over the years, which Certainly makes for an unusual speech!

Marionettes here I come…

Im just heading down to Devon to start a marionette carving course, so next week’s blog post will be about marionettes! It’s  taking me eighteen hours on a bus to get there, so let’s hope it’s worth it!

Back next Monday at 10am for more puppetry chats! In the mean time, you can find out more about our lookalike puppets here.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival Puppet Repair

Puppet repair in the Edinburgh Fringe

At Picture to Puppet and Leith Toy Hospital, we get lots of different teddy and puppet repair jobs through the door. Nevertheless, last night I was slightly surprised by an emergency call out to mend a huge bear with a broken jaw! Thankfully it wasn’t a real one, but an enormous and very beautiful puppet used in a fringe show, a stage adaptation of Rayomnd Briggs’s “The Bear”. I’ve got very fond memories of having this lovely book read to me as a child, so was excited to have the opportunity to work on the stage version and carry out a puppet repair in the Edinburgh Fringe.

The bear Puppet I repaired for the Edinburgh Fringe
The Bear, now fixed, takes to the stage

When I arrived, the bear’s jaw was hanging open and he couldn’t close it. After a while I figured out that the rod that the mechanism hinged on had snapped, an integral piece of foam had come adrift and the elastic had lost its elasticity over time. It took most of the evening, but thankfully I had the bear roaring happily again in time for his next show! Luckily, spending Wednesday evenings contorting my body into bizarre positions inside the head of a polar bear is all in a day’s work here at Picture to Puppet.

Contact us if you have any puppets in need of urgent attention! Or visit https://picturetopuppet.co.uk/ to find out more about Picture to Puppet.