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Puppet-in-Progress: From the foam up

Discussion in 'Puppet Building and Performing' started by Slackbot, May 4, 2013.

  1. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Hey Slackbot, I was wondering the next time you build a puppet, could you possibly show us a step-by-step WIP of how you go about attaching the rods inside the hands? I know you said earlier in the thread that you have a little sleeve inside the hand that the head of the rod goes into, and that the head of the rod is part of a safety pin attached to the rod itself, but I'd really love to see exactly how you go about doing all of this - if it stays in place as well as you say, how do you remove it from inside that little sleeve without the pin catching and snagging the inside of it?
  2. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    I'll be honest, the rods do tend to slip a little, especially if you let them hang. I cut the pointy end off of the pin so it won't snag on the fabric, and wrap very heavy thread around the rod where it attaches to the pin for traction. If I know that I want the rod there for the forseeable future I just sew the opening tight around the rod. The fleece hides the thread, which is black, so I can easily see it and cut it without any harm if I decide to remove the rod.

    I try to make the sleeve and socket tight enough that it'll hold onto the rod & pin and won't let them slide around, but not so tight that you have to fight to get the rods in and out. (You do have to wiggle 'em a bit.)

    I'll post some close-up photos that should help. If I don't get to this in the next few days nudge me, OK?
  3. Bear Man

    Bear Man Well-Known Member

    BJ Guyer suggests a pretty large (1/2 inch) square flag at the end of arm rods that he then places double stick tape on before slipping into the palm pocket - I tried that with my arm rods and they work perfectly even without the double stick tape...
  4. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    What do you mean by "flag"?
  5. Bear Man

    Bear Man Well-Known Member

    Like this:
  6. LamangoNumber2

    LamangoNumber2 Well-Known Member

    I'd love to see more of Skeeter. Like, what did you do to get her eyes perfect? The hair?
  7. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I'm curious too, if you haven't already mentioned (I haven't checked in on this thread in a while) what material(s) did you use for Skeeter's glasses? The only time i've ever made glasses for a puppet, I used cardboard and foamies. :smirk:
  8. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    *laughs* The lenses for Skeeter's glasses are plastic spoons from Kroger! I cut off the handles, then sanded them until that edge was round.

    The frames...that was much trickier. I have some black vinyl placemats I bought for craft purposes waaaay back in the '90s, and I used those for the front of the frames. The earpieces were chopped off of dollar shop sunglasses. I put thick black florists' wire on the back of the vinyl to stiffen it, and the earpieces attach to that wire.

    I used Gorilla Glue rather than contact cement. The first time I made these glasses I used hot glue, and that made a big nasty mess on the back. Gorilla Glue goes on clear, so unless people are really looking for it they won't notice the wire and glue and stuff.
  9. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    What is that flag made from? Is that velcro?
  10. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    And that all sounds a lot better than cardboard and foamies. :p
  11. Bear Man

    Bear Man Well-Known Member

    Nah, it's just a small square of leather - the same stuff that I used to make my finger loops for the mouth plate. It's your standard sort of craft-leather, I think the fact it's got one rough/suede side also helps it to "grab" hold of the inside of the palm pocket, further avoiding the need for any double stick tape in my opinion.
  12. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    This is all very interesting. Typical, once I inserted the rods into the wrists, I would hot glue where the rod went into the wrist, and yet somehow, the hot glue never created a permanent seal, and the rods always eventually worked their way loose; on the one hand, this allowed me to remove rods as necessary, but on the other hand, since there was never anything inside the hands holding the rods into place, the rods tended to slide around in the hands a lot creating some awkward-looking hand gestures. Then again, I never was a particularly good puppet builder.
  13. WemblinFool

    WemblinFool New Member

    Watching your progress on making all of these puppets is truly awing! Are you currently taking commissions for them?
  14. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Sorry I didn't reply to this, oh, over a month ago. Unfortunately, due to arthritis in my hands I can't do the hours of intensive sewing that puppets entail, and due to a much longer commute I now have very little free time. So, I haven't been able to make any puppets for some time now. :sigh:
  15. RogerPuppet11

    RogerPuppet11 Member

    Well, hope your hands get better. Also I haven't been on here for about 2 years. :oops:
  16. Diego Fiorucci

    Diego Fiorucci Well-Known Member

    It looks wonderful! What did you use for the mouthplates inside?
  17. Diego Fiorucci

    Diego Fiorucci Well-Known Member

    That's incredible! Great work! I'm just beginning into making puppets.
  18. CoOKiE

    CoOKiE Well-Known Member

    What material did you use to make Gobo's vest?
    Diego Fiorucci likes this.
  19. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I know it's been a long time, but I'm bumping this thread to say . . . I tried this method, and the results were not satisfactory. I don't know if it was the particular kind of double face tape I was using (Scotch), or it was the fabric (faux fur), or what, but the taped arm rods wouldn't stay in place in the long run, and in fact, they keep coming loose relatively quickly after being inserted into the wrist.

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