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Organisations all over Britain which work with abused, neglected or bereaved children have   asked Knit-for-Nowt not only for “Worry Monsters” (see separate pages of the website for those), but also for hand and finger puppets. These are used in therapy to help children heal by expressing their feelings.  Children often will open up to a puppet during role play, when they feel they can't speak to an adult worker.  Children will project their feelings and thoughts onto the play therapy puppets.

So this is very important work.  We have had many requests from Social Workers for these as they are expensive to buy, and there is currently a very limited budget for them. In any case, our happy/sad sided puppets and some of the professionals puppets are not available in the shops as far as we’re aware.

For more info on why puppets help CLICK HERE

Please choose from the following list and knit whichever you prefer. See the bottom of this page for links to the patterns, however before making any items please get in touch first via the Contact form to see what's needed at the time, giving brief details of your knitting, crocheting or sewing experience.  CLICK HERE for the contact form

  •          Families of hand puppets consisting of Mum, Dad, Gran, Grandad, boy, girl (and extra siblings if you wish).           They should each have a smile on one side and a downturned mouth on the other, to indicate happy and             sad.  Please sew the mouth near the bottom of the face using 3 strands of embroidery silk (rather than               knitting yarn, which is too thick to get a good expression!) For details see the male/female basic pattern,             which can then be adapted to make the other characters. NB. all hand puppet in a family set should be               the same size, to fit an adult therapist's hand, so please don't make the boy and girl smaller.

  •          Families of different ethnicities – exactly as above, ie. happy/sad sided, but using any shade of brown for              the face, (but no pure black yarn thanks.)

  •           A set of “professionals” consisting of 7 puppets: doctor, nurse, police, judge, social worker, teacher and               "professional in a suit".  These don’t need to be happy/sad sided, just a happy smile, and can be mixed                   ethnicity.  Please make them all the same size, to fit an adult hand.

  •           Finger puppets – use any pattern you like, we’d like the ones which represent people (see pattern on the           “Patterns for Hand Puppets” page), but also any other characters or animals you can make.

  •           Animal puppets – both friendly ones and some more scary ones are useful eg. shark with teeth,                              dinosaur,dragon etc.  Dogs and cats are the most popular ones.

  •           Fairy tale puppets eg. from children’s nursery rhymes and current popular children’s characters.

  •           Specific ethnicities eg. Muslim and Asian/Hindu – see patterns on the “Patterns for Hand Puppets” page.

  •           Transgender puppets – just make it male one side and female the other (in whatever way you like!)


  •            Pregnant puppets - see pattern on the Patterns Page


  •            The Bully and the Internet Groomer hand puppets - please be very careful doing the faces, as the facial                expression is crucial and can be tricky!


  •             Pairs of identical puppets, happy/sad sided.  Just make two exactly the same - these are used in a                          technique termed, "mirroring".  They could be animals or people.


  • You’re welcome to use any pattern found on this website, as permission has been granted for each one that appears.  Unfortunately copyright restrictions apply to commercial patterns, so they can’t be put on the site, but if you wish to knit from those and send them in we’ve never had a problem with that, as long as it’s for charity and NOT FOR SALE.  A good source of free patterns online can be found at


  • Synthetic yarns are fine, in DK or Aran (according to the pattern). Bright colours are best. Chunky yarn in stuffed items tends to show the stuffing through so is best avoided. Please avoid using very hairy yarns such as mohair, or any yarn which would be able to be pulled out in tufts by a small child. It’s easy to test it yourself by picking at it and seeing if it’s firm. If bits come off in your fingers we can’t use it.


  • Please make them all, including the boy and girl, to fit an adult hand size, as they are used in role play.  If they are very small this would mean that the adult therapist couldn’t use them.


  • Some patterns do include instructions for stuffing the head, some don’t.  Stuffed heads on hand puppets do always make them look really special, but please ensure that the head is made in 2 sections (as per the patterns on this site) so that all the stuffing is completely enclosed and can’t get out, and the stuffing used MUST be approved toy stuffing with a BS safety number on it.  If you’re not sure which stuffing to use please contact Clare.


  • Safety Guidelines are on the patterns page – these must all be adhered to when making your items and everything is checked again this end before being sent out.  Knit-for-Nowt has full Product Liability Insurance cover.

CLICK HERE to take you to the Patterns Page for suggestions of knitting patterns to use. 

CLICK HERE if you’d like to knit a Worry Monster or animal worry eater

CLICK HERE to take you to the Patterns Page for all fabric items ie. sewn puppets and sewn Worry Monsters.

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