Puppets and Stuff

Puppet Construction => Puppet Building => Topic started by: JasonSWrench on July 24, 2006, 10:04:07 am



Title: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: JasonSWrench on July 24, 2006, 10:04:07 am
Hello List:

I thought I would ask a question about mouths and what people use when creating puppet mouths. In the past I used cardboard covered in felt, but lately I've been relying more on foam board with foam tubes on the under and upper mouth for finger holes to make it easier to manipulate the mouths. One company I order professional puppets through now has a "handi-sphere" on the top part of the mouth (basically a rubber ball of some kind covered in material to aid in gripping (prevents flipping lids). Other puppets I own utilize foam rubber in the top part of the head and then below the jaw to add enough resistance to manipulate the mouth effectively.

I'm always looking for new, better ideas for constructing puppet mouths, so I thought I'd throw out this question.


Title: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: Miryana on July 24, 2006, 10:12:50 am
Jason,
do a search on this site for "mouth", we had quite a few discussions on the topic. There was even one on the lips, how to make lips.


Title: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: Billy D. Fuller on July 24, 2006, 12:56:37 pm
I ordered a puppet off E-bay just to see how it was constructed and they used one of those pool tubes sliced in half and then you cut each halves into smaller pieces to fit the mouthplate. Just trim it down with the scissors.( makes a good gripper under the elastic strap)
I've used anything from foam core board, old book covers, Heavy cardboard covered with styrene plastic, wood wall paneling, Experiment with what you feel comfortable with.
I use foam mouths straps in some puppets, Elastic straps and the tubey as I described above on top and a thumb cup on bottom, Then I use the finger tubes sometimes.
I'm always open to learning a new technique.
Billy


Title: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: puppetplanet on July 24, 2006, 02:05:37 pm

Some professional builders also use Sintra, which is a type of plastic (I've only seen it in white) that you can get in different size/thickness from some hardware stores or plastic manufacturers. There is also a slightly more flexible plastic that is thinner, clear, and can be found at craft stores as well as plastic manufacturers... not sure what it's called though.

Some builders use wood, but I never saw the point of that since it adds so much unnecessary weight to the puppet.

For a flexable mouth like Kermits, many builders will use gasket rubber, which can be purchased in large sheets. I haven't been able to get large sheets from Home Depot or Lowes, but just visit your local plumbing shop/supply and they should have it available. You should be able to get it in different sizes/thickness too.

The plastic cut from Ice cream containers, lids, old buckets, etc can make wonderful mouth plates too.... I also use them to cut eyes, claws, to make props, small suitcases, etc.  ;)

-Michele


Title: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: Billy D. Fuller on July 24, 2006, 02:09:40 pm
Thanks Michele glad to see you back and at it. I will have to check the gasket rubber out :-\ Plumbing store... :-\
Billy


Title: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: Ron G. on July 24, 2006, 04:01:44 pm
I seem to recall someone here suggesting the use of mouse pads as a replacement for gasket rubber in that application, but I have no personal experience concerning its suitability. What I do know is that if you keep your eyes open and ask around it's not hard to pick up a bunch of mouse pads really cheap, or for free.

I also saw someone mention using those new heat-resistant silicone oven mitts as the foundation of a mouth assembly, but it doesn't seem practical to me. Those things are fairly expensive, and wouldn't adapt readily to a traditional mouth design. Still... if you wanted to create a sock puppet scuba diver it might be pretty good...

http://www.organize-everything.com/orsikiac-all.html


Here are some cut-down silicone pot grabbers that might be better suited for mouth assemblies...

http://www.handhelpers.com/sitedirector/site/product.cfm?id=6D014159-B0D0-49DF-9327631E97626C19


And a closeup shot of the two types together...

http://www.starfrit.com/upload/images/product/garden/93224_001.jpg?20060126T1736223395


Then again, there are silicone oven mitts that were made to look like puppets...

http://www.time.com/time/2005/webshopping/for_the_cook4.html

 :-\

Ron G.



Title: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: Miryana on July 27, 2006, 09:33:03 am
These pot holders are so totally cute, I'd get few for my kitchen anyway. They'd make nice Christams present to my friends, too. 


Title: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: Sonny on January 04, 2007, 01:48:52 pm
My technique is the finger tubes on foam core covered in sculpt or reinforced with duct tape. The Foam Book illustrates tubes for each finger. I have found out that tubing the 2 middle fingers (separate or together) on the top plate, while resting your point and pinky finger outside the 2 middle finger tube has the best control and least strain on fingers.

When I use the foam core for the mouth board, after finding the correct measurements for the whole mouth circumference, I slice the inside crease with a razorblade. Doing this serves as a spring making the mouth easily open.

Hope this helps anything.


Title: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: DrPuppet on February 08, 2007, 12:45:01 pm
I have used rubber and many other things. What I have found that lats the lobngest is leather. I use different thicknesses of leather and the great part about it is the older it gets the more flexable it is. I swear by it. Rubber wears out and the gasket rubber you can get at auto part stores wear out even faster. If any of you are ever intrested in leather let me know i will send you some shots.


Title: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: TSCARLETG on February 08, 2007, 08:17:49 pm
Yes, yes, yes, Tiffany loves pictures. HHHmmm leather. :-\


Title: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: Billy D. Fuller on February 08, 2007, 08:21:38 pm
How do you apply the leather... I bought brads and rivets, I don't have the tool that you hammer them together.
I have a leather supplier on ebay and  couple of other sources. Do you know of anyone that sells scrap leather, I should say what kind do you use?
Pictures, yes pictures will do.
Billy D.


Title: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: DrPuppet on February 08, 2007, 09:34:24 pm
I am covering some heads this weekend. I will remember to take some shots. I use different kinds of leather. For large mouths that I want stiffer plates I use 1/4 inch thick tooling leather. I usually wait until its on sale from Tandy leather and buy an entire hide at one tiem. Its around 70 bucks, but enough to make dozens of puppets! The scrap I was refering to that I use to joing the other peices and I think Billy asked about I buy at Micheles art supply. If you have one they usually have a leather working secition with bags of scrap for projects. Its great stuff only about a few bucks a bag!


Title: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: DrPuppet on February 08, 2007, 09:35:32 pm
I apply the leather using the same glue I use on the foam. Its works great with the leather. Hay I tell you what I have to make some mouth plates anyway would anyone be intrested in a photo tutorial?


Title: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: StiqPuppet Productions on February 08, 2007, 09:56:59 pm
Oh.......we love pictures........we are visual learners.....bring on the pictures.....????  LOL

Truly it would be very thoughtful if you could show pictures and a little written on how you make your mouth plates.  I am always looking at new ways to try them and heard of using leather but never have tried it yet.

Thanks for the thoughts and looking forward to your pictorial workshop.



Title: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: Sonny on February 09, 2007, 07:37:35 am
I apply the leather using the same glue I use on the foam. Its works great with the leather. Hay I tell you what I have to make some mouth plates anyway would anyone be intrested in a photo tutorial?

Yes ...pictures...yes...tutorial...yes please.


Title: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: TSCARLETG on February 10, 2007, 09:49:30 pm
It puts the lotion on its skin and posts the pictures.


Title: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: DrPuppet on February 11, 2007, 08:53:19 pm
They are coming I promise we have been filming all weekend and I am wiped out. I will have them to you guys soon.


Title: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: heckert on February 20, 2007, 07:56:18 pm
Yes yes yes!!!  Definately...that would be GREAT! : :)


Title: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: Ron G. on February 20, 2007, 08:20:00 pm
I keep wondering when Michele is going to chime in, or if we should just go ahead and move at least part of this thread to the "Puppet Building" or "Projects" forum and continue it there...

 :-\

Ron G.


Title: Re: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: DrPuppet on February 22, 2007, 06:17:04 am
Sorry that I have not posted any photos yet. I have been busy filming since Thursday and only finished Monday. I promise I will get them to you soon.


Title: Re: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: puppetunderground on January 09, 2008, 05:00:40 pm
Rivets and Brads, Brivets and Rads...

This one goes out to Billy. You can smash the rivets together with a pair of pliers.  If you're using this method, you may want to cover the smooth part of the rivet with a cloth to prevent it from getting too badly dinged up.  It takes a fair bit of hand strenth to get the rivets to seat properly, but it's doable (especially if the rivets are not exposed, then you can disregard that bit about the cloth, as it won't matter how they look). 

I think I want to say 'rivets' a few more times...rivets rivets rivets.

Cheers


Title: Re: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: Angel on January 28, 2008, 04:16:51 am
Hi all,
I'm trying something a little different, I was in the process of making a mouth for my puppet when I came across some plastic canvas and thought I would give it a try. It's pertty flexiable, but not like foamies and it's very easy to cut.  Since it has holes in it I coverd it with felt like I do foam board.  So far I like the feel of it, not stiff and I added finger tubes to it. I posted a picture just incase someone doesn't know what I talking about.  If anyone has ever use this before let me know what you think. 


Title: Re: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: gpurdy on February 15, 2009, 08:21:55 pm
Just started making puppets and the pattern I have called for plastic for the mouth plates ,but it had to be plastic that could be sewed to the felt that would be the inside of the mouth. I was finally recommended to use milk jugs. Since making my first puppet I found that a craft store near me (JoAnns) has a material found in the quilting section called template plastic. I haven't used it because I already have mouth pieces made for several more puppets. Buy the way, for my second puppet the plastic was one of those thin plastic cutting sheets used in the kitchen. It is soft and flexible enough to sew. Then the pattern suggested using formica to stiffen the plastic mouth plate. Finding formica without buying a whole sheet proved to be a challenge, so my husband cut lightweight sheetmetal for that. We used contact cement to bond the plastic and sheetmetal together. Then another layer of felt makes the inside comfortable for the hand. 


Title: Re: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: Kellann on March 12, 2012, 10:35:04 pm
If I'm on the wrong thread please direct me to the right area!!! :lol

Hello everyone!  As you can see I am brand new to the site and to puppet making!  I am very crafty and I love making things.  I am a Drama Teacher in California and my next production is "Willy Wonka."  We would like to make "Oompa Loompa" puppets like the ones Oakwood High School (http://www.daytondailynews.com/lifestyle/zoots-puppet-master-brings-works-to-life-609610.html) used in their production.

They were made by  The Zoot Theatre Company (http://www.zoottheatrecompany.org/site/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=85&Itemid=102) (there are pictures of the "Oompa Loompas" on their homepage, there is a drawing and an "in progress" shot) What I am struggling with is the mouth mechanism, I don't even know what it is called!  It looks like a trigger that controls the mouth of the puppet.  Can some one help me with terminology and point me in the right direction to create/buy this controller?


Title: Re: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: Shawn Sorrell on March 13, 2012, 08:02:47 am
Hard to tell from the pictures they have what type of mechanism they are using for the mouth.  It could be as simple as the claws on a handle that you can sometimes find at the toy store.  It is the same concept as the crabbers that you can get at a medical supply company that people use to pick things up if they are in a wheel chair. 

It it was me I would most likely keep things simple and build a standard puppet head with a mouthplate like we are talking about here and then have a hole in the back of the lower head or neck where the puppeteer reaches in and manipulates the puppet head.  You could even use one of the Puppet Project patterns enlarged some to do this.


Title: Re: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: Puppetainer on March 13, 2012, 12:22:21 pm
Welcome Kellann! You should drop by the Introduce Yourself board so everyone can properly welcome you to Puppets and Stuff! I agree with what Shawn said. It's pretty hard to tell from the photos exactly what sort of mouth plate or mechanism they used. Best to design your own to suit your needs and the Project Puppet patterns could serve you well in that capacity!


Title: Re: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: Kellann on March 13, 2012, 04:11:51 pm
Thank you so much for the idea! That is exactly what I'm going to do! I will keep you guys posted along my crazy "Willy Wonka" puppet journey!  I'll go over to the "Introduce yourself" thead and introduce myself!!!

Kellann


Title: Re: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: Rikka on March 16, 2012, 12:48:40 am
Welcome!


Title: Re: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: Gary Sorrell on March 17, 2012, 05:03:00 pm
Oh man, Kellann said Willy Wonka. Song sticks in my head.
http://youtu.be/r2pt2-F2j2g (http://youtu.be/r2pt2-F2j2g)


Title: Re: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: Rikka on March 17, 2012, 11:58:22 pm
LOL! Same here!


Title: Re: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: Shawn Sorrell on March 18, 2012, 07:02:13 am
Yep one of my favorite songs and scenes.


Title: Re: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: Rikka on March 18, 2012, 07:18:55 am
I like it when the girl turned blue(berry).


Title: Re: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: gbutler288 on June 19, 2012, 12:09:47 pm
was there ever a pictorial on how he built those mouths with leather?


Title: Re: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: Desipio on February 08, 2013, 03:38:52 pm
Just a thought... Been flicking through a few threads. On some joints but mainly the mouth to add flexibility I find the plastic rings from holding beer cans together REALLY reliable.

top picture - http://emusingthings.com/2012/04/05/dangerous-disposable-devices/ (http://emusingthings.com/2012/04/05/dangerous-disposable-devices/)


Title: Re: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: Shawn Sorrell on February 09, 2013, 08:16:16 am
Callum.... Makes a lot of sense.... how do you actually use them.  I can kind of understand since they seem impossible to tear apart when I do have to throw them in the trash. :) Better that they be used on a puppet then end up tangled in sea life.


Title: Re: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: Desipio on February 10, 2013, 03:42:44 am
The way I was shown how to make a mouth piece was two separate pieces of card... with tat in-between. then coated in Denim, then with rest of jeans I use either to belt loops or the hard seam pieces for the finger loops.


Title: Re: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: Shawn Sorrell on February 10, 2013, 07:33:33 am
I get they are used as the hinge.  Yes very clever.


Title: Re: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: PuppetBakery on April 10, 2013, 05:40:56 pm
Wait ... what? I want to learn more about plastic pop can holders. I think I've got the general idea but lacking some details. SO - plastic rings go between layers of denim and plastic/card/etc. This serves as a mouthplate hinge, right? And the rest of the jeans can be used for finger tubes/holders?


Title: Re: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: MsPuppet on April 11, 2013, 08:38:43 pm
I recently dismantled an old puppet I purchased.  The mouth board was... vinyl floor tile! The kind you peel the back off of and stick down.  Not sure it is what I would use (I prefer Sintra or a similar plastic), but it worked. The mouth plate was also sewn to the mouth fabric.  All I can figure is they must have used an industrial sewing machine and an ultra heavy duty needle to get through that stuff. Anyone ever used this material or have tips for sewing through something like that?


Title: Re: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: Shawn Sorrell on April 12, 2013, 08:12:43 am
Wow... floor tiles! Guess it could work but in my experience, they tend to crack really easy. Not talking in puppet use but when I've used them for floors. :)  A good home machine and number 16 needle could very well get through them ok I would think. You would want a universal or chisel point. I've sewn through similar thicknesses of other odd materials before with that set up. The only thing is I would not go with the self adhesive tiles if you want to try this. Just like that sticky back Velcro, the adhesive is going to gum up your needle in about an inch of sewing and you'll be sorry! ;)


Title: Re: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: MsPuppet on April 12, 2013, 10:58:03 pm
This was not the really hard tiles, almost more like a linoleum type.  A very old puppet, so I guess it was preserved well.


Title: Re: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: pagestep007 on April 13, 2013, 05:49:22 pm
I have seen the flexible linoleum type vinyl used. The old linoleum tiles we used for printing blocks in art classes and they did crack if you bent them. The newer vinyl seems ok , and can be sewn into the mouth. It gives a flexible mouth. I prefer something a little more solid though, like card.


Title: Re: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: Desipio on April 19, 2013, 01:32:11 pm
PuppetBakery have just seen your post regarding the plastic can holders. I personally cut them up using strips of it as the hinge for the mouth piece. I've always done a top piece and bottom piece hinged by the plastic. Does this make sense? Experiment.. It's very sturdy stuff.


Title: Re: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: PuppetBakery on April 24, 2013, 08:06:27 pm
Desipio - yes, you make sense. I just got a hold of some of those nifty rings and plan on abusing them thoroughly over the weekend. Thanks for the tip!


Title: Re: Building a mouth assembly
Post by: Puppet_Dude on March 23, 2017, 07:26:07 pm
I go to lowes and get their free samples to make some of my mouths with.