How to make a puppet pattern

Yahnke

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Perhaps you, who have have built several puppets are just very talented,can help me out. I love making puppets even more than i like performing them. however, the only pattern i have is for a human puppet. I want to make a monster puppet, like grover, elmo, etc. I am trying to come up with a pattern for a head shaped like elmo's. any advice? my problem is that i don't know where to put darts, or where to use curved lines instead of straight ones. I read someplace that you just draw the shape you want...only make it a little bit bigger than the size you want and then make another one and glue them together and that'll work..is that true? help me out please. Or if you have patterns you wouldn't mind sharing...please let me know. Thanks!
 

DPuppets

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Yahnke said:
Perhaps you, who have have built several puppets are just very talented,can help me out. I love making puppets even more than i like performing them. however, the only pattern i have is for a human puppet. I want to make a monster puppet, like grover, elmo, etc. I am trying to come up with a pattern for a head shaped like elmo's. any advice? my problem is that i don't know where to put darts, or where to use curved lines instead of straight ones. I read someplace that you just draw the shape you want...only make it a little bit bigger than the size you want and then make another one and glue them together and that'll work..is that true? help me out please. Or if you have patterns you wouldn't mind sharing...please let me know. Thanks!

I am sure there are alot of different ways. And everyone will tell you different. The way I make a head is I take a 4" thick piece of foam. I draw the shape of the head I would like to see (Smaller than actual head would be.). I am only making side profile of the head not the whole head. Then I take sander and knifes to cut the shape I would like the head to be. Then I hollow out the head leaving the about 1/8" . You will see that you have a miniture side profile of the head. Then I cut that into patteren pieces so that it lays flat. You will cut darts and everything is cut in a curve not a straight line. I take those to the copier and blow them up to the desired size. And make my patteren out of that. I just flip the pattern of the other side and glue them all together. It takes some practice but, they come out being beautiful puppets. For the mouthplate I take the head which is full size of what I need and place a piece of poster board in the mouth and draw it out. I will work with it and fine tune it to the liken. I know it sounds little hard but...I love it.
Also you can do the way they made Barney and make a clay scupture of what you are looking for. Wrap it with plastic wrap and cover that with masking tape, over the entire thing. Then cut the side profile out and do the same as above to make the patteren.
HOpe that helps a little you can email me darren@dpuppets.com if you need me to explain more.
 

Buck-Beaver

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You could probably modify a "person puppet" pattern to suit your needs. There are a variety available. Search the puppetry forum for "puppet pattern" and a few threads with more info should come up.

I think there is also a web site that sells a Monster Puppet pattern, but I can't seem to find it. Maybe you'll have better luck searching.
 

Yahnke

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Thanks for the fast replies!!! Dpupp- i understand how you do it the way you do, and i am sure it works great, but there are two things keeping me from doing it that way- 1.) cost of foam 2.) time----but maybe i will reconsider it later if nothing else works. Thank you very much for your advice. I also make my mouth plates the same way you do! Dpupp- thanks also for explaining where to put darts.

I have looked at that patterns on puppet-planet, but didn't see anything i thought would work for me. I wasn't aware that there was a site that sold monster puppet patterns. I'll look, but if somone knows off hand where it is, please let me know. thanks everyone...this forum rocks!!!!!!
 

DPuppets

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Yahnke said:
Thanks for the fast replies!!! Dpupp- i understand how you do it the way you do, and i am sure it works great, but there are two things keeping me from doing it that way- 1.) cost of foam 2.) time----but maybe i will reconsider it later if nothing else works. Thank you very much for your advice. I also make my mouth plates the same way you do! Dpupp- thanks also for explaining where to put darts.

I have looked at that patterns on puppet-planet, but didn't see anything i thought would work for me. I wasn't aware that there was a site that sold monster puppet patterns. I'll look, but if somone knows off hand where it is, please let me know. thanks everyone...this forum rocks!!!!!!

My make my mouthplates different according to what the puppets functions will be. If it has moving eyes and eyebrows. Those things. I use two materials for mouthplate it self. Centra and Masionite board. Centra is thin pvc plastic. Sign makers use alot of this. Masionite board is just like peg board at Lowe' but without the holes in it. I use a gasket rubber to make the strap which is cover by foam and then covered with lamb skin.
 

Yahnke

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pattern

is there an easier way to come up with a pattern besides trial and error? Like i said, time and money are limited?
 

Whatever

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Where are you from in Tennessee, Yahnke? There's a group of us from Memphis! (well, 2 of us. picky, picky!)
 

MuppetQuilter

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For puppet patterns that are pretty simple to make and go together quickly you might want to try a fabric store. There are some books out there on making puppets for kids. You might need to enlarge the patterns a bit for an adult-sized hand but they tend to be pretty simple patterns. They also tend to include patterns for a few different puppets-- humans, animals, monsters-- and frequently use one pattern with several variations to create more puppets. If they don't have a monster you like, you might be able to figure out a good variation on one of the puppets by looking at how the book suggests varying the patterns to create different looks. I'm sorry I can't think of any titles, but I have seen some puppet books at JoAnn Fabrics recently. (The puppet patterns in the pattern books-- where the patterns are sold individually-- are really basic and just good for kids, so I'd avoid those.)
 

Phantom

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Yahnke said:
I am trying to come up with a pattern for a head shaped like elmo's. any advice?
My first puppet was a monster puppet that was similar in shape and build with the three head approach as found in the foam book. The top half of the head is two semi-circular pieces of foam (the straight edge is the length of the perimeter of the mouth plate) and the curved part is the top. I made one dart in the center and two equal darts on either side about 1/4 way around the semi-circle. I glued the darts closed then the two halves together. I fashioned the jaw in a similar fashion (but with only one curved piece, more of a semi-ellipse than a circle). Believe me, looking back, it was pretty basic. The body was four panels, with slight curves at the top, glued together.

It may not be sophisticated, but my first puppet attempt was successful. (I used Wally last week at church.)

Good luck with it and have fun. Be creative. Everything I've built has come from ideas, not patterns (however, I make the pattern as I go). This is an art form, and to be truthful, I'm using crayons compared to most of the persons here. Have fun.

Ben
 
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