Okay, maybe not instant, but way faster than it could have been.
I'm working on a production of Pinocchio and in this script there is supposed to be a real marrionette on the table through the first few scenes. It is only when the blue fairy appears and that the doll is replaces by an actor. The doll didn't need to be life sized, but the other marrionettes I had purchased on ebay weren't big enough. Apparently the theatre used to have one (they have done this show before) but it seems to have been lost when they moved to a new space last year. I looked online and in toy stores for things that I might be able to alter, but eventually it became clear that I was going to have to make this thing. Turns out that it probably should have been the first thing I tried.
Here he is, pre-paint and clothing.
In a move that would make any costumer cringe, I didn't sew any of the clothing. I hot glued all of it together, but since it won't be worn by any actors that will be exposed by wardobe malfunctions, and since hot glue really does stick fabric together really well...it was easier and faster than trying to pattern something for a wooden block doll.
For his hair, I used some foam sheets that I cut into strips (note, start at the bottom).
I'm really happy with the way he turned out, and even better was how easily he came together.