Foundation Course to Puppet Mastery with Bernd Ogrodnik

Turn wood into a puppet character of your own imagination

The 4-week online workshop with a holistic approach to puppetry.


Step by step you will learn about the nature of wood and the necessary tools you need to transform a block of wood into your first highly functional puppet.

"It was a self-journey for me to realize that I have abilities that I didn’t really believe I have."

Yael Kandelman

"Incredible learning experience."

Charles Hoffman

"It was a self-journey for me to realize that I have abilities that I didn’t really believe I have."

Yael Kandelman

"Incredible learning experience."

Charles Hoffman

Light up your puppetry dreams by learning how to carve wooden puppets

Maybe you've been fascinated with marionettes and puppets since you played with one as a child.


Perhaps you've made puppets before from different materials, like paper mâché or sponge foam and fabric.


Or maybe you've discovered puppetry as a way to combine all your artistic passions into one giant ball of fun!


You want to learn about the art of wooden puppets, but you might have always felt intimidated by the tools and how to safely work with them.


Like hundreds of our past students, joining this Foundation Course, you might have never carved anything before, you might not know what wood you should use or which techniques you would need to get started.

If that's the case — the Foundation Course will confidently guide you into the heart of wood so you can learn how to transform a block of wood into a highly functional puppet.

Let us show you the secrets of creating puppets out of wood

The Puppet Mastery with Bernd Ogrodnik Foundation Course is for anyone who:

  • Has looked at a piece of wood and desired to make something extraordinary
  • Wants to start creating new characters that help tell stories
  • Wants to learn more about working with wood as a medium
  • Wants to expand puppetry knowledge and skills
  • Wants to learn from one of the most renowned masters in the field as he shares his proven techniques, systems, and secrets of the trade
  • Wants to gain more confidence, spark their creative side, and immerse themselves in their own imagination

What you'll learn during this workshop:

  • What are the basic, traditional, and modern advanced tools of the trade, and how to safely use them
  • The secrets of wood
  • How to design a strong and clear character
  • The designing and making of a wooden table-top puppet
  • How to create proper patterns for the various body parts and transfer them to your carving blocks
  • How to carve the individual parts using a variety of possible tools
  • What if you have only basic tools? How to get started carving your puppet with a minimum of tools
  • Breathe life into your creation – how to manipulate your puppet

PLUS: An overview of various highly functional puppet styles, featured in the advanced follow-up courses

Light up your puppetry dreams by learning how to carve wooden puppets

Maybe you've been fascinated with marionettes and puppets since you played with one as a child.


Perhaps you've made puppets before from different materials, like paper mâché or sponge foam and fabric.


Or maybe you've discovered puppetry as a way to combine all your artistic passions into one giant ball of fun!


You want to learn about the art of wooden puppets, but you might have always felt intimidated by the tools and how to safely work with them.


Like hundreds of our past students, joining this Foundation Course, you might have never carved anything before, you might not know what wood you should use or which techniques you would need to get started.

If that's the case — the Foundation Course will confidently guide you into the heart of wood so you can learn how to transform a block of wood into a highly functional puppet.

Let us show you the secrets of creating puppets out of wood

The Puppet Mastery with Bernd Ogrodnik Foundation Course is for anyone who:

  • Has looked at a piece of wood and desired to make something extraordinary
  • Wants to start creating new characters that help tell stories
  • Wants to learn more about working with wood as a medium
  • Wants to expand puppetry knowledge and skills
  • Wants to learn from one of the most renowned masters in the field as he shares his proven techniques, systems, and secrets of the trade
  • Wants to gain more confidence, spark their creative side, and immerse themselves in their own imagination

What you'll learn during this workshop:

  • What are the basic, traditional, and modern advanced tools of the trade, and how to safely use them
  • The secrets of wood
  • How to design a strong and clear character
  • The designing and making of a wooden table-top puppet
  • How to create proper patterns for the various body parts and transfer them to your carving blocks
  • How to carve the individual parts using a variety of possible tools
  • What if you have only basic tools? How to get started carving your puppet with a minimum of tools
  • Breath life into your creation – how to manipulate your puppet

PLUS: An overview of various highly functional puppet styles, featured in the advanced follow-up courses

You'll transform a block of wood into a table-top puppet:

Puppet made by Miguel Rojas

Puppet made by Anna-Maria Lawrie

Puppet made by Philip Millar

You'll transform a block of wood into a table-top puppet:

Puppet made by Miguel Rojas

Puppet made by Anna-Maria Lawrie

Puppet made by Philip Millar

Meet Our Team

JIM JER SEY

JIM JER SEY

JIM JER SEY

Your Instructor — Bernd Ogrodnik

Bernd Ogrodnik has been a prominent figure in the world of puppetry since 1986. He is the artistic director and co-founder of "Worlds of Puppets" and has served as the Master Puppeteer for the National Theater of Iceland.

He has a track record of over 7,000 live performances and has toured all over the US, Canada, Europe, Africa, and Asia as a performer and lecturer at international theater festivals, universities, and conferences.

He has been creating marionettes, puppets, and masks for stages around the world, and his work is frequently featured on TV and in film.

The global pandemic took his teaching online. Now he shares his highly-functional techniques developed over the years, in the online classes available to watch from the comfort of your home.

This course will not only leave you full of knowledge and enthusiasm for the art of puppetry but also enrich your life way beyond the realms of the puppet.

Assistant Instructor – Mark Blashford

During the course, Mark will assist you and encourage you on this journey. You will see him a lot as he posts new lesson updates and hosts some of the Q&A sessions.


Mark is a professional puppeteer/builder specializing in traditional puppet performance forms, including marionette, shadow, rod, and hand puppetry. As a trained puppet builder, he received his Master of Fine Arts in the Puppet Arts from the University of Connecticut in 2017.

He has also studied in Germany, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, and Iceland with one-on-one instruction from Bernd Ogrodnik.

Mark has worked with many theaters in addition to the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival as an associate artist and Chicago Puppet Studio Coordinator. He now lives in Iceland and works full-time with Bernd in the studios of Worlds of Puppets.

He also manages and performs with his own company – Rootstock Puppet Works.

His mission is to craft and perform puppet theater rooted in stories that promote mutual kindness and ecological awareness for the good of people and their environment.

Meet Our Team

JIM JER SEY

JIM JER SEY

JIM JER SEY

Your Instructor —
Bernd Ogrodnik

Bernd Ogrodnik has been a prominent figure in the world of puppetry since 1986. He is the artistic director and co-founder of “Worlds of Puppets” and has served as the Master Puppeteer for the National Theater of Iceland.

He has a track record of over 7,000 live performances and has toured all over the US, Canada, Europe, Africa, and Asia as a performer and lecturer at international theater festivals, universities, and conferences.

He has been creating marionettes, puppets, and masks for stages around the world, and his work is frequently featured on TV and in film.

The global pandemic took his teaching online. Now he shares his highly-functional techniques developed over the years, in the online classes available to watch from the comfort of your home.

This course will not only leave you full of knowledge and enthusiasm for the art of puppetry but also enrich your life way beyond the realms of the puppet.

JIM JER SEY

JIM JER SEY

JIM JER SEY

Assistant Instructor –
Mark Blashford

During the course, Mark will assist you and encourage you on this journey. You will see him a lot as he posts new lesson updates and hosts some of the Q&A sessions.


Mark is a professional puppeteer/builder specializing in traditional puppet performance forms, including marionette, shadow, rod, and hand puppetry. As a trained puppet builder, he received his Master of Fine Arts in the Puppet Arts from the University of Connecticut in 2017.

He has also studied in Germany, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, and Iceland with one-on-one instruction from Bernd Ogrodnik.

Mark has worked with many theaters in addition to the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival as an associate artist and Chicago Puppet Studio Coordinator. He now lives in Iceland and works full-time with Bernd in the studios of Worlds of Puppets.

He also manages and performs with his own company – Rootstock Puppet Works.

His mission is to craft and perform puppet theater rooted in stories that promote mutual kindness and ecological awareness for the good of people and their environment.

"If you want to learn how to make beautiful puppets, then you cannot get better than Bernd. He takes you gently by the hand and passes on his vast experience in puppeteering and wood carving. This course has helped me find my confidence and sparked my creative side. You won't be disappointed. There is at least one puppet striving to get out of all of us. Let this course help it emerge."


Mary Nagler, Professional Puppeteer, Artistic Director of Whorls of Wonder Puppet Theater

"This course has broadened my horizon in puppet building. A very finely tuned teaching concept, enriched with all the craftsmanship needed at this stage, integrated into a philosophical superstructure to "understand" the material wood and bring it to life. Whether beginner or advanced, everyone can find their level. It was a very pleasant journey. Thank you."


Andreas Kurrus, Puppeteer, Puppet Builder

Foundation Course to Puppet Mastery with Bernd Ogrodnik Curriculum

This workshop starts on the 1st of the next month and stretches over four weeks with two weekly classes. Pre-recorded classes are released every Wednesday and Friday for a month, and you can watch them whenever you want, until the end of the program.


In completing these carefully designed steps, you will be able to carve your own wooden table-top puppet and approach more advanced styles of puppets.

Week 1

  • Discovering the relationship between puppet, performer, and audience
  • Character development
  • Discovering the qualities of wood
  • First experiments with the carving knife

Week 2

  • Learning the tools of the trade, both traditional and modern
  • Making technical patterns from character drawings
  • Pre-cutting wooden blocks for various body parts

Week 3

  • Creating the head
  • The art of drilling and carving
  • Creating body, arms, and legs

Week 4

  • Assembling the body parts
  • Painting and clothing options
  • Manipulation
  • Vision quest for the future

Here's what the former Foundation Course students have to say:

"As someone who had never carved wood before, I was somewhat nervous undertaking the challenge of creating a carved wood puppet. Bernd's lessons and encouragement kept me going and gave me the tools/methods and inspiration required to complete my first carved piece. With what I've learned, I feel confident to tackle more carved projects and have a few more puppets in mind that are calling out to me to be made."

Anna-Maria Lawrie, Artist, Art Educator

"This course gave me a true appreciation and respect for the art of puppetry. Bernd is an inspiring instructor. I will take with me not only the skills I learned during the course but also a deeper understanding of the meaning of creating a character. I felt encouraged and supported by a whole community of creative artists. Thank you!"

Professor Céline Perron, Theatre and Dance Department, Keene State College

"Thank you for offering this wonderful course. I feel like I have been waiting for many years to make some artistic and technical progress in my work as a puppeteer. You have been a very inspiring teacher in many ways by asking the participants to consider how we approach puppetry as an art, and in the way, you approach the craft of wood carving as well. This course has given me the needed confidence to start new projects after many years of stagnation. I also liked getting to know the other participants in this course. There are many very talented and very inspiring people in this class."

Antony Chapman, English Literature and Drama Teacher

What's inside this Foundation Course:

  • 8 pre-recorded online classes which you can watch whenever you want (released twice a week on Wednesday and Friday for four weeks)
  • One extra month of access to the online platform in order to catch up and work at your own pace in the comfort of your home
  • Ongoing assistance from our team throughout eight weeks
  • Live Q&A sessions every Monday with Bernd or Mark for two months (if you can't attend live you can watch the recording)
  • 1 live interactive Zoom Celebration Call at the end of the course
  • 2 months of access to a Private Facebook group where you can join fellow wooden puppet explorers for further insights, support, and share learning experiences
  • Detailed diagrams ready to print out
  • Certificate of completion after submitting your complete Buddy Puppet

Bonus: Sharpening Course

Available instantly when you join the Foundation Course

Learning to properly sharpen your knives and chisels could be a workshop all by itself. It’s a vital skill for the successful woodcarver to learn. In fact, Bernd believes that the lack of this skill is the major reason we find so few puppet artists working in wood.


This bonus class gives you detailed instructions on sharpening your tools. It will be available before the first Foundation Course classes will be released. Once you buy the course, you will instantly get a confirmation email with the link to access this bonus class.


We hope you will appreciate the pleasure of cutting your wood with a razor-sharp blade!

Turn your dream of making puppets come alive a reality

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Questions fellow puppet enthusiasts asked before joining the Foundation Course:

When does the course begin?

The Foundation Course to Puppet Mastery with Bernd Ogrodnik starts on November 1st.

Do I need any woodworking experience prior to taking this course?

No, the course is designed in a way that everyone can participate.

What happens after I join the course?

You will receive an email confirming your purchase. In the same email, you will also get instructions on how you can access the bonus class: the sharpening course.

The day before the course starts, we will send you via email detailed instructions on the class schedule and the link to join the private Facebook group.

Will I benefit from the course if I have already built wooden puppets?

Definitely! The course not only teaches the making of one of Bernd's most treasured puppet designs but offers a tremendous wealth of tips and trade secrets that even advanced builders will benefit from. Bernd shares what he has meticulously studied and discovered in his 36 years as a successful puppeteer! You do not want to miss out on that! 😊

Do I need to watch the lessons at certain times?

No! The lessons are pre-recorded, released every Wednesday and Friday during the month, and there for you to watch any time you want.
Every Monday there’s a live Q&A session in the Facebook group, but if you can't attend you can leave your question beforehand and watch the recording whenever you can.

I'm going on a vacation with my family. Will I be able to catch up later?

Absolutely! The Motto of our Courses is: Working through the Material in our own time!

After the initial four-week run of the course, you have an extra month of access to all teaching material, together with Monday's Q&A sessions.

What if I'm not fluent in English?

Don't worry! We're not native English speakers either 😊 In the pre-recorded classes, Bernd explains everything slowly so anyone can understand. However, if you don't understand something, you can always pause the video, rewind, and watch it again. Plus, you'll have a community of fellow students who will be eager to help you if you have any questions.

What if I want to jump to the advanced course immediately as my dream is to build marionettes?

It takes patience and tremendous knowledge to build a highly functional marionette. We invite you to follow the steps Bernd carefully designed for you to best reach your goal... there are no shortcuts to mastery. 😊

I have physical challenges/I have arthritis, would it still be possible for me to take the course?

We have many participants struggling with such health challenges that we have actively supported and considered.
The use of various tool handles, constant reminders of correct posture, etc., are just a small part of this process.
Bernd will also introduce you to specialty tools and special rigs and devices that support participants with such physical challenges.

I don't have any tools. How can I start?

We've had people like you with us that have made amazing puppets with an absolute minimum of tools.
We want to make it possible for EVERYONE to take part in this course with readily available tools. Although you will learn about basic and advanced tools, all you need to start is a utility knife, coping saw, fine handsaw, and a drill.
One person built his first puppet with just a utility knife and a coping saw.
So you don't need to buy many tools in the beginning. Start only with the utility knife, which you can buy at the gas station. And build your toolkit at your own pace.

If you have any other questions concerning this course offer, please send us an email at info@worldsofpuppets.com and we will answer as quickly as possible.

Questions fellow puppet enthusiasts asked before joining the Foundation Course:

When does the course begin?

The Foundation Course to Puppet Mastery with Bernd Ogrodnik starts on November 1st.

Do I need any woodworking experience prior to taking this course?

No, the course is designed in a way that everyone can participate.

What happens after I join the course?

You will receive an email confirming your purchase. In the same email, you will also get instructions on how you can access the bonus class: the sharpening course.

The day before the course starts, we will send you via email detailed instructions on the class schedule and the link to join the private Facebook group.

Will I benefit from the course if I have already built wooden puppets?

Definitely! The course not only teaches the making of one of Bernd's most treasured puppet designs but offers a tremendous wealth of tips and trade secrets that even advanced builders will benefit from. Bernd shares what he has meticulously studied and discovered in his 36 years as a successful puppeteer! You do not want to miss out on that! 😊

Do I need to watch the lessons at certain times?

No! The lessons are pre-recorded, released every Wednesday and Friday during the month, and there for you to watch any time you want.
Every Monday there's a live Q&A session in the Facebook group, but if you can't attend you can leave your question beforehand and watch the recording whenever you can.

I'm going on a vacation with my family. Will I be able to catch up later?

Absolutely! The Motto of our Courses is: Working through the Material in our own time!

After the initial four-week run of the course, you have an extra month of access to all teaching material, together with Monday's Q&A sessions.

What if I'm not fluent in English?

Don't worry! We're not native English speakers either 😊 In the pre-recorded classes, Bernd explains everything slowly so anyone can understand. However, if you don't understand something, you can always pause the video, rewind, and watch it again. Plus, you'll have a community of fellow students who will be eager to help you if you have any questions.

What if I want to jump to the advanced course immediately as my dream is to build marionettes?

It takes patience and tremendous knowledge to build a highly functional marionette. We invite you to follow the steps Bernd carefully designed for you to best reach your goal... there are no shortcuts to mastery. 😊

I have physical challenges/I have arthritis, would it still be possible for me to take the course?

We have many participants struggling with such health challenges that we have actively supported and considered.
The use of various tool handles, constant reminders of correct posture, etc., are just a small part of this process.
Bernd will also introduce you to specialty tools and special rigs and devices that support participants with such physical challenges.

I don't have any tools. How can I start?

We've had people like you with us that have made amazing puppets with an absolute minimum of tools.
We want to make it possible for EVERYONE to take part in this course with readily available tools. Although you will learn about basic and advanced tools, all you need to start is a utility knife, coping saw, fine handsaw, and a drill.
One person built his first puppet with just a utility knife and a coping saw.
So you don't need to buy many tools in the beginning. Start only with the utility knife, which you can buy at the gas station. And build your toolkit at your own pace.

If you have any other questions concerning this course offer, please send us an email at info@worldsofpuppets.com and we will answer as quickly as possible.

Ready to turn wood into a puppet character of your own imagination?

Ready to turn wood into a puppet character of your own imagination?