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Very cheap arm rod material

Discussion in 'Puppet Building and Performing' started by JaiRenee, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. JaiRenee

    JaiRenee New Member

    Just thought I'd share something I found. I went to AC Moore looking for wire for posable fingers, and I discovered something. Obviously, floral wire is very weak and bends under little stress, even at around 12 gauge. While looking at 14 gauge wire, the thickest they had, If I held three bits of wire together, it wouldn't bend no matter what I did. It was very strong, so I bought it, along with wire tape. I bent three at equal angles to set up for gluing, and then taped them together. I don't know why it works, and why when combined, they suddenly become stronger, but they do. I'll post pictures when I get a camera.

    The cost was $2.49 for 20 wires.
    mupcollector1 and Bob Smith like this.
  2. TheCreatureWork

    TheCreatureWork Active Member

    I use soldering wire and wrap it with floral wire.
  3. mupcollector1

    mupcollector1 Well-Known Member

    A way I know in terms of rods is to go to Home Depo and ask for metal rods or wires, and when you get them at first, they might be kind of greasy due to the oil. So you would need some sandpaper, black spray paint (blue or green if your doing some chroma key work), Metal clippers, then finally take the bottom like two or three inches and bend a little U shape, take some black duck tape and just rap it around so it would be kind of a tight U with the end tip also taped to the rod.

    As for attaching rods to the puppet hand, I'm trying to figure out the pro way of doing that myself. I've always wrapped the rod around the whrist. I've heard many times you make some sort of hole on the side of the puppets whrist and just stab the rod right in. But what I don't get about that is, well say if the character was going to rapidly wave their arms around, the rod needs to be secure to the hand enough to the point where it doesn't fall off.

    Also one of the things that I know is that the rods are never glued onto the puppet wrists. I think The Muppet Workshop would have a box full of Rods (I was fortunate to have a tour there back in the late 90s, it's a great childhood memory. My mom meet a friend of a friend who knew of a friend....that sort of thing and my Mom knew I was a huge Muppet fan, long story short, that and MuppetFest was just a dream come true for me)

    Anyway, that's what I know currently about rods. I don't know why but I've always loved Hand and Rod puppets more then live hand probably because one puppeteer can work the whole character. I'm not sure. Ever since I've seen The Secrets of The Muppets (Jim Henson Hour episode) on Nickelodeon as a kid, that's the day I decided that I wanted to be a puppeteer and learn more about rods and stuff. :)
  4. mupcollector1

    mupcollector1 Well-Known Member

    You mean those wires that would be about 12 inches and they would be in a pack of 10 or something like that? Like the wire they would make flowers near the Wedding shelves right? I used to use them all the time when I used to do live puppet shows and public access stuff years ago. :)
  5. JaiRenee

    JaiRenee New Member

    That's why you build it up from the inside. There's a free tutorial on Project Puppet with pattern.

    And yes, those wires. I found it wonderful how sturdy they got when combined, and separate, they're perfect for moving eyelids.
  6. mupcollector1

    mupcollector1 Well-Known Member

    So you can move eyelids using a lever on a rod right? I think Johnny Fiama and The Cat in the Hat (WWODS) had those mechanisms with their eyebrows. I heard that with Gonzo it's worked with a string with a ring or something within the head or something like that. For a long time, I always wanted to figure out how to make moving eye lids and shifting eyes and stuff like that. I always found that stuff super cool and at times could make a puppet appear more human within expressions. Then again it totally depends on the character.

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