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Foam blocks?

Discussion in 'Puppet Building and Performing' started by robinthecrow, Aug 19, 2004.

  1. robinthecrow

    robinthecrow Well-Known Member

    Watching Crank Yankers (which I must admit I enjoy) I wondered how they get these characters' weird shaped heads. It couldn't just be foam sheet could it?

    Then I saw the cover to the "Making of Muppets from Space" book and noticed a hand with a clipper/shaver thing on a block of foam, would this be a good technique to get some unique head shapings?

    Ya know, get a big block of foam, then shave away at it until I get the desired effect? Then cover in whatever fabric I have to represent skin?

  2. robinthecrow

    robinthecrow Well-Known Member

    Alright, i've given the cover a second look, and it doesnt seem to be a shaver/clipper after all.... but maybe my theory might work? :confused:

    FISH'N'WOLFE Well-Known Member

    If you're looking to sculpt/shape foam, get a 3M rotary disc sanding pad that takes stick on sheets that will fit a regular hand drill. You can find them at WAL-MART in the hardware section quite cheap. Get some 50 Grit sandpaper discs also. 50 grit seems to work the best for sanding foam. Solid foam sands incredibly well, it will come out nice and smooth. For detail work a Dremel Moto Tool with a small sanding disc is perfect. As for skin, Airbrushing works wonders, they sell skin tone airbrush paint which is as close to real skin tone as you're going to get with pre-mixed skin paint. It can also be tweaked by mixing in other colors. The foam stays nice and flexible and doesn't dry out, get hard, crusty, etc. If you'd like to see some of the characters I've built using these methods, throw me an email and I'll send some pictures.

  4. muppetmayhem

    muppetmayhem Well-Known Member

    I beleive that your theory might work, but it would be a little tricky. You might wanna practice this theory before you try using it. If it ends up working, post a reply and tell us if it worked out! ;)
  5. ravagefrackle

    ravagefrackle Well-Known Member

    well i worked on season two, and quite a few of them are pattered, but some are sculpted , and some area compination of the two :p
  6. ravagefrackle

    ravagefrackle Well-Known Member

    sorry edit double posted my message, read below :smirk:
  7. ravagefrackle

    ravagefrackle Well-Known Member

    that sanding method seems a little dicy to me, home depot has a nice five inch table top belt sander i prefer to use that, i would be to worried about holding foam in one hand and a drill in the other

    but the paintimg of foam works great, u might want to get some "sculpt or coat " to strengthin the foam a bit, or just make a pattern by drapping your sculpted head, and making a pattern, it just takes pratice.

    FISH'N'WOLFE Well-Known Member

    Yes, a belt sander would work wonderfully as well and would be safer for people just starting out with sanding foam. Actually the way I sand is by holding the foam head between my knees and the drill with both hands. Bob Fappiano uses the rotary sanding disc method as well, the only difference being he uses a high speed pneumatic one.
  9. robinthecrow

    robinthecrow Well-Known Member

    I'll see about getting a block of foam to start sanding, I'm quite an artist with a handheld sander but I fill with fear at the thought of using a pair of scissors to shape foam! ala Nic's Fursuit Webpage tutorial on a foam puppet.

  10. erniebert1234ss

    erniebert1234ss Well-Known Member

    What about one of those power sanders? Might that work to make a Beaker?

  11. robinthecrow

    robinthecrow Well-Known Member

    I'll have to give this an experiment! *runs into garage to get sander*
  12. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    Uhhhh.....no offense, but holding the head between your legs while you use a belt sander is - to put it politely - a very bad idea.

    After having witnessed someone get part of their leg accidently sanded down to the bone I don't recommend this. If you're using drills, belt sanders, etc. secure whatever you're working on with a vice grip or something similar. Puppets aren't worth losing a limb over.

    Safety first people! :)
  13. ravagefrackle

    ravagefrackle Well-Known Member

    no , but only because beakers head isnt made of foam, not evry puppet has a foam base, take a close look at his head and see if you can find a sutible shape for it ;)
  14. Iokitek

    Iokitek Well-Known Member

    I have a Black & Decker Mouse. Would that also work well?

    FISH'N'WOLFE Well-Known Member

    If it's a standard vibrating finishing sander then unfortunately, no. As for holding the foam head between your knees and sanding it, I didn't mean sanding it with a handheld belt sander, that would not be a good idea obviously. I meant that a benchtop belt sander as James had mentioned would be a good option for people. Sanding foam between your knees is fine with a drill/sanding disc, it simply does not rotate fast enought to cause harm, however make sure you wear jeans. I would never recommend it if I thought people could be hurt by it. With the trigger you can easily regulate the speed, drills stop almost instantly when you release the trigger. Make sure when sanding you hold the drill with both hands.
  16. Iokitek

    Iokitek Well-Known Member

    oh I see... well it's always good to know dfferent techniques
  17. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry if my earlier post sounded harsh and to be honest I didn't realize you were specifically referring to a benchtop belt sander which I agree is considerably less dangerous than a handheld one.

    I'd still recommend properly mounting any wood/foam/etc. you're working on in a vice grip or something like that. It's much easier to work that way (at least that's what I've found). I think it's also good advice because a lot of people have no idea what the difference between a benchtop belt sander and a handheld belt sander is and won't ask. I've also seen people wound themselves with tools as simple as a screwdriver because they didn't use it properly.

    Let's face it, a tape measure is dangerous in the wrong hands! :zany: ;)
  18. Puppetplanet

    Puppetplanet Well-Known Member

    How true! Just ask the guy who was recently arrested in my area for robbing a hardware store with ..... you guessed it, a tape measure under his sleeve. Apparantly, he thought the metal tab would look like the barrel of a gun if it was extended out a bit from inside a jacket sleeve.

    Perhaps this might have worked at any other place, but this moron of the week decided to rob a hardware store of all places..... and the owner (a big burley man) gave the "robber" a beating he shalt not forget for some time. *laughing*

    Anyway, Bucks comment brought on that funny little memory. Carry on now, and sorry for muffining the thread. *grin*

  19. erniebert1234ss

    erniebert1234ss Well-Known Member

    Jeez, and I thought most criminals WERE morons! :D Beaker's nose is made of foam, right? I just noticed that Beaker's nose is foam-based and I also noticed that his head is also made of foam. His eyeballs are made of pom-poms; is that true? Are his pupils tiny pom-poms too? What is his orange hair made out of?

  20. ravagefrackle

    ravagefrackle Well-Known Member

    ok so are you try to be funny, what i said is that his head shape is not foam, yes his body and nose are foam, but his head is not , he has several different sets of eye balls, some are basic hard spheres some are light bulbs,the hair is fur fabric.

    tiny pom poms?????

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