PDFPrintE-mail

Toolbox!

Milk Jug People

These are life-sized "puppets" that make great extra characters in story-telling and drama skits. They are so big that you can have them wear regular clothes or costumes.

Warning: Milk jug people find their way to unusual places! Once, one dressed in a Pharaoh's outfit was left sitting at the church's organ after a children's ministry workshop as a joke. Unfortunately, he wasn't found until after the Sunday worship service had begun the next day! Oops!

A few more pictures from a recent modern-day use of milk jug men in the life of someone special to us...

Now how do you make him?

Materials

  • 1 gallon or ½ gallon plastic water, juice or milk jugs
  • 1" PVC pipe and 1" SCH 40 fittings (4 45 degree connectors, 2 3-way (looks like a "T") connectors, 4 90 degrees connectors, 2 cross connectors
  • Hack saw
  • Felt, hair, jiggly eyes, costume for decorating your man, once assembled
  • 2-4 Brown Craft foam sheets (for hands)

To make him stand on his own, you will also need:

  • Another gallon milk jug/bucket and sand or quik-crete
  • or, a PVC cap and 3" x 1 1/2" bushing (found with the other PVC fittings), a , "Tough as Nails" glue, and a 10" section of 2" x 10" piece of wood

Instructions

  • Clean out your empty milk jug with water.

Now, identify your man:

  • Turn the jug upside down with the handle facing you. The handle is the long nose of the man. The flat upper parts make the forehead, with the ridge between the flat upper part and the curved in part, the eyebrows. Do you see your man's face now?
  • You can use fake fur or felt for beards and hair. You can attach jiggly eyes or leave the eyes blank (though it is a little spooky looking)
  • Red felt works well for lips, glued in place just above where the lid would usually go.
  • Cut out simple hands from the brown craft foam and glue them onto the ends of the lower arms with a glue gun. If you want to get really fancy, you can glue pipe cleaners to the bottom side of the foam with a glue gun and the fingers can bend!

Now, to build the rest of your man:

  • Saw the PVC pipe into "bones."

You need: 2 shoulders, 2 upper arms, 2 lower arms, one back, two hips (same length as shoulders), 2 upper legs and 2 lower legs...and a standing piece, if you want him to stand (more on that below)

  • Connect the pieces together as follows:
  • Connect the 2 shoulder pieces into the sides of the cross piece and the back into the lower opening of the cross (the head will fit into the top opening of the cross)
  • Connect a lower arm piece to an upper arm piece using the 45 degree bend. Repeat for other arm; and for the upper and lower leg pieces.
  • Connect the two hip pieces into the sides of the other cross fitting. Connect the legs to the hips with the two 90 degree fittings.
  • Connect the torso to the lower body by putting the back piece into the top of the cross fitting used for the hips.
  • Connect the arms to the shoulders with the other 2 90 degree fittings.
  • Add the upturned milk jug into the top opening of the cross piece (where are the shoulders and back are connected) and voila! A milk jug man.
  • You can pivot around the milk jug man's legs and make him sit.
  • You can pivot his arms and make him wave, hold things, put his arms around someone, etc.

But to make him stand... there's a couple more steps!

Cut one more piece of PVC pipe, the same as the height of the hip cross piece to the ground. Measure carefully! This is going in the concrete and it won't be coming out again!

Mix up the quik-krete in the bucket or the extra milk jug. (If using the milk jug, you will want to cut out part of the top so you have a bigger opening). Stick the PVC pipe in it and hold it in place until it sets straight.

Alternatively, you can just stick the pipe into the milk jug filled with enough sand to keep it upright. Not as permanent, but a bit easier.

If you choose the wood, bushing and cap stand, then simply glue the bushing onto the middle of your wood. Put the cap on the end of the PVC pipe that will be his stand and push it firmly down into the bushing. No mess and easy to take down and transport....not quite as sturdy as the quik-krete version, though. The choice is yours!

Now all you have to do is insert the top of this pipe into the bottom of the hip cross piece and your man will stand.