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General Stuff => Puppet Projects => Topic started by: 8BallsofFur on October 03, 2017, 06:58:59 am



Title: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: 8BallsofFur on October 03, 2017, 06:58:59 am
Hi! So, I'm taking this puppetry class, and for a finals project we were building some Sesame street type puppets. So, I decided I wanted to make the furballs from the song Eight Balls of Fur. Basically they are furballs with long legs and feet they dance on. The pic shows the first version, though I might see if I can find some shaggier fur. I'm really happy with how this first one came out. Hope you guys like, and if you want I'll make updates on the bigger project which is to actually recreate the video for Eight Balls of Fur.
(https://i.imgur.com/sjzoifd.jpg)


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: Snail on October 03, 2017, 08:17:41 am
Interesting have you figured out how to make them move yet? We used fur ball puppets in the past for the "Gospel Fuzzies Song" and had a hard time figuring out how to move both head and feet. How many people would it take per puppet? We finally just used springs for arms and legs and focused on only moving the head and let the arms and feet have sympathetic movements. We were never happy with the results and wondered if we should connect all the puppets together somehow so one puppeteer could move all synchronously, like the puppets on a pole maybe. But we still wanted the individual puppet balls to move alone, it seemed impossible.

Another thing I want to know is how the legs seemed so bendy but then there is also a distinct middle "knee like" bend also? How are you going to make that happen?


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: Snail on October 03, 2017, 08:23:24 am
Just had another thought on the shaggier fur. Recent doll maker post by Mozykyto showed how to make wefts of acrylic yard for doll hair in any length. She also has videos on how to color the wefts and then layer them to make rainbow highlights. With that process you could make any color combination in any length you wanted. How to make a Doll Wig with Fringe (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGGMlPkV7MM)


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: 8BallsofFur on October 03, 2017, 04:58:11 pm
Hey Snail! OK, so for how to control them...after watching the video for Eight Balls of Fur for I dont know how many times, I deduced that it takes just one person per furball. With one hand, you control the body via a rod, and with the other hand you control rods attached to the feet by using a glove. Basically the rods are attached to the index and middle fingers of the glove. Its the only way I've found to get those feet moving right. I've actually done video test of them moving and so far it works good, I can get them to do pretty much all the dancing they do in the music video.

As for the legs...I'm not completely sure how the "knee" bend works. I used a cotton piping to base them on, then handstitched a soft fleece material over it. My guess is to put a bend in the cotton piping by sewing a kink, and leaving the fleece unsewn above it. I'll have to try it on the next furball version. Hey, do you have a pic of those furballs you made? I'd love to see them!


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: Snail on October 03, 2017, 06:16:28 pm
No picture of our fur balls, not in my possession now. They were lame looking but the kids were crazy about them because they were different. I showed my grandkids the Eight Balls of Fur video today and they were spell bound. Parts of our song they have to move together then another part independently. Adding a little extra weight on the end of the arms and legs made the springy limbs move more when we wiggled heads, but it was uncontrolled excessive wiggling. The song was Chipmonk speed fast.

I love the glove with rods so that separate fingers can move the legs independently great idea. I forgot that you can work two rods with one hand by crossing them too, but with separate fingers you might have even more control, will have to try that.


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: 8BallsofFur on October 03, 2017, 08:18:23 pm
Hey, I bet your furballs were great! Also, do try the glove concept. It works quite well and you get a good amount of control, but use it on your left and control the body with the right. I tried it the other way and my furballs would get kinda cocked over to one side. My left arm is not the best. Really though, being able to move the feet independently of each other and in time with the song is awesome. I think thats part of why I love Eight Balls of Fur so much, the furballs were so unique and moved in ways I didnt think puppets could. That and the music is great!

Speaking of music, I'll also be doing a cover of the song for my project. Thankfully I play piano, drums, bass, guitar...just cant sing very well.


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: 8BallsofFur on October 04, 2017, 06:44:04 am
OMG...I just saw the yarn weft video, I didnt even know you could do that! Thats a great idea, I might try it for a furball and see how shaggy it comes out. It looks perfect for what I had in mind. I like the fur I was using, its really thick and soft, but kinda smooth and the original furballs had shaggier fur like you see in the picture. On that subject of fur, I think I want to use a different fur color for furball #4 since ball #8 was basically the same color.

(https://i.imgur.com/vSAnJnu.jpg)


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: pagestep007 on October 04, 2017, 03:15:22 pm
Yeah , the same,  Just watched the  wefting  vid.  Never thought of using the hair iron to straighten it. Any attempt I made in the past came out super fluffy.


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: Snail on October 04, 2017, 06:34:25 pm
Our fur balls also had big google eyes that had trouble staying on the fur often falling off in mid wiggle. Are the legs going to be all the same stripes" You could vary the patterns on the legs also to give them more individuality like different sock styles.

I expected the original fur balls to be in sinc more but that is very hard to get multiple puppeteers to move the same way without lots and lots of practice. The leg movements reminded me of some of the black light people puppets where there might be two people hidden in black moving legs and mouth separately.

My 4 year old granddaughter wanted to know why he broke the piano. That was one of my favorite parts seeing the keys flying off.


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: Snail on October 04, 2017, 06:46:24 pm
I remember a video of Adam Savage making a puppet and in that video I believe they did something to the smooth fur to make it shaggier, I think it was heated.
Adam Savage makes a puppet (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYwNuP7cwJs)


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: 8BallsofFur on October 04, 2017, 07:38:09 pm
 I had thought of changing up their legs stripes a bit, though I do really like the rainbow stripe pattern they've got. I had thought of possibly giving the feet some changes too....I dunno, well see. I'm a little leery about taking heat to the fur, but hey, I'll try it out, however...I bought some acrylic yarn and been messing around with wefting it...OMG. Its amazing! I think I screwed up the first styrofoam ball I tested it on, only because the fur is really, really bushy and thick. More so than I anticipated. On a three inch ball, it makes it look twice that size. Its amazing though, and I will totally be using it for hair on the Little Chrissy puppet.

BTW, I guess your granddaughter hasnt heard of Jerry Lee Lewis yet. :)


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: Shawn Sorrell on October 05, 2017, 08:07:11 am
Be very careful when using heat on fake fur.  Most are acrylic based (plastic) and plastic melts.  That being said a low heat can work wonders.  Also steam heat can be used to smooth and manipulate synthetic materials.  We us it in theater for synthetic wigs. Never had a problem with steam heat but take a flat iron to a non human hair wig and you melt it. :)


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: 8BallsofFur on October 05, 2017, 09:14:55 am
Yeah...my mom once put an entire fur blanket into a dryer at a laundromat. That taught me heat and fur dont mix too well, though its a good idea if, and only if, you want to get that sort of nappy/shag look (think Grover). Anyway, I got finished last night covering a ball with welted yarn and it looked awesome. It was very fluffy looking though, so I took a blowdryer to it to see if I could get the fur to clump together a little, and that worked good. The crux of wanting shaggier fur for the furballs was I wanted the fur to have alot of movement. They way I figure is since the furballs have no faces, you'd have to show their character in their movement, and the right fur could potentially help with that.


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: Snail on October 05, 2017, 09:24:15 am
Can you show us a picture of the fuzzy ball you made with wefts when you get time?  She used 140-160 temp for straight iron, higher burned the wefts. I did not know irons had variable temps. Not sure what temps hairdryers use.

Did you see the video where Mozykyto used chalk and permanent markers to make color tipped hair and layered colors.  Don't know why that could not be done on existing fur too.
How to Make a Doll Wig | Ombre Wefts (2 WAYS!) + Kitty Ears Hairstyle Wig | Mozekyto #12 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SQOaUoQUEU&list=PLlNQgfXniaheeAi_u4msJXp2WGc3JgVsA&index=1)



Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: 8BallsofFur on October 05, 2017, 10:19:33 am
Here we go. Its actually a bit more purple than the pics show.

(https://i.imgur.com/7XH35JB.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/vQST9HW.jpg)


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: pagestep007 on October 05, 2017, 06:49:55 pm
Wow that really is furry!  Snail, it was good to go through the  Micheal Savage video again, Do you use the corset bone hoops in your  puppet  bodies? I just  recently  used some PVC strips. It worked quite well.  8ballsoFur, what did you stick the  wefting on with?


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: 8BallsofFur on October 05, 2017, 07:29:27 pm
Hey pagestep, I basically glued on the wefts. I wrapped them in a sort of tassel like structure, punched a hole in the styrofoam ball, and glued the wefts in. So far, works like a charm. Heres another furry fella that I finished today. Working on the Yellow furball now. Its a pretty cool process, though it takes like half an hour to brush each ball...reminds me of brushing my husky. All said and done I am in LOVE with the fur on these guys! Its shaggy, as thick as I want it to be, and moves alot. Its exactly what I wanted. Snail, I owe you big time. :)
(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35181) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35181)(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=35184) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=35184)


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: Snail on October 07, 2017, 08:24:05 pm
They look fantastic! I found out just how hot my hair dryer is. I accidentally spilled coffee on my laptop keyboard and tried to dry it with my hairdryer on high. I melted the keys and I was a couple of inches away from them moving back and forth. So word to wise use lower heat setting on a sample first to see if heat will ruin your project ....or computer.  

I had another thought today as I watched Sesame Street. Rosita is green puppet that appears to have feather strand highlights in her fur hair. The feathers move so much more than fur and would give more interesting motion. I want to try this out.
(https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/muppet/images/5/5f/Zoe_abby_rosita_hands.jpg/revision/latest/scale-to-width-down/1000?cb=20161012140047)

Steven I have not used boning, never found it in the store, but did use thin plastic tubing loop once. I used hula hoops for a large whale puppet once. I like that idea of light weight reinforcement and intend to use it in future projects.  Would like to see your PVC idea.


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: 8BallsofFur on October 07, 2017, 08:53:07 pm
The yarn is a great substitute for using feathers for hair. I've made some longer stuff, and given you get a yarn that is loose and soft, you can get some great results. Just like feathers, yarn wefts have a ton of movement. As for the hair dryer, it works wonders on getting the fuzziness of the wefts down and making the fur come together in locks.


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: Snail on October 07, 2017, 09:33:32 pm
Feathers are cool but they do wear out faster and they are more expensive. I was thinking that the insertion of a few feathers that would move differently than the fur might add interest, but would not match your purposed to recreate originals. Did you get a lot of fuzz that came loose when you brushed the yarn? I must have had bad quality yarn, what brand did you use?


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: 8BallsofFur on October 08, 2017, 05:28:37 am
Yeah, I guess if I want to stay true to the original furballs, feathers are out of the question...though, since I'll be putting together a puppet for chrissy too the thought occured to me about how to deal with the hair he's got. I think the yarn weft will do fine though, I made some 5-6" locks and they look and feel great.

Also, did I get alot of fuzz at first? Most definitely! You'll be pulling out a bunch of fluff, but just keep going. it'll stop eventually. As for the yarn I used, I tried two types: Lion Brand "Hometown USA" and Caron Softee. Both get nice results...but, I give the edge to the lion brand. Basically put, use a fat, chunky, and loosely wrapped yarn and you'll get great looking fur. The Caron looks nice too however since its wrapped much tighter its more difficult to brush out and retains a kinkiness no matter what you do. Make some passes with a blow dryer, and that'll eliminate the fluffiness. Check out all four furballs I've made so far to see the difference. The Teal and Yellow are made withe Lion Brand, withe the purple and blue fuzzies made with caron softee. I messed up on the teal furball because I didnt know what to expect and it came out really fluffy. So, with half its fur on, I trimmed its fur down. I ended up finishing it, but it came out looking like it got a bad haircut. 0_o
(https://i.imgur.com/0r6LyT7.jpg)


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: Snail on October 08, 2017, 04:31:54 pm
Thanks for the tips and pictures, I can see the difference and I want to use the Lion brand. You sure work fast! Those are beautiful colors. I would not be upset over the differences, they would not be noticeable at the distance of a performance and even if they were it is interesting to have some variation. As soon as those legs start moving that will be the focus.

On another note, the piano looks like foam core board.  I recently found tools for cutting foam core on Creative Ministry site Creative Ministry Foamwerks (http://www.creativemin.com/category/foamwerks)
I had never seen these tools before, but I can see where they would help you make a more professional product.


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: 8BallsofFur on October 08, 2017, 07:13:49 pm
You are most welcome. The Lion brand stuff is so awesome...I just finished the yellow furball completely today and its so thick and soft...honestly, it looks like alpaca fur. It has literally the same density and loft as alpaca fur. I'm so excited to make these furballs in that stuff. Now, there is one hitch: The size. When I first began my furballs were about ten inches high. Once I started the wefting, the size of the furball body grew a couple inches Fine, the old legs would still work. The yellow furball body I made today is about 8 inches by itself, and its based on only a 2.75 inch foam ball! So, the new furball, with legs, will probably be in the neighborhood of 16 inches tall. This is gonna be a big furball, and I just hope my feet rood scheme still works at that scale, though it should.

 OI almost forgot the piano...thank you for mentioning it and the idea of using foamcore! I just cant quite figure out yet how to make it come apart at the end.


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: Snail on October 09, 2017, 01:36:49 pm
I was thinking that you could have it already cut in half and then hold it together with velcro or something that would come apart easily with stress. There is a paper layer and the foam layer so you could cut the foam layer only and then leave the paper uncut. I thought about perforated paper so that it tears easily but I think that would be too much force needed for a puppet to break and it would not be reproducible. It would be best if you can do it over and over. Velco is pretty thick and you would not want a wide gap showing so you might need to cut just the foam to make indention for the velcro and over lap of just paper to cover the gap. That is getting complicated, there is surely a simpler solution.

He is playing the piano pretty hard in every scene so maybe you would want something that would hold it together firmly until the last scene then releases it at the end. Maybe a pull cord that releases the halves only at the end would be simpler and reproducible.


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: 8BallsofFur on October 09, 2017, 04:41:00 pm
It looks like in the video the piano is cut in half already, and held together by...I have no idea. I can see the keys are'nt held on by anything and the lid is pulled off by a string. I'll work something out about how to keep it together, though velcro is a good idea. The good news is this performance does'nt have to be live, we can film it! So, I can have a few shots at getting the piano to come apart right. I'll keep working at it. :)

As for Chrissy, I had a crazy idea...there's another SS song called "Frazzle", and in that one Chrissy makes an appearance as a backup singer...only he's a furry monster. I thought he looks great as a monster, so I was thinking about doing my Chrissy puppet as such. What do you think of that?


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: Snail on October 11, 2017, 09:56:02 am
I like the Monster idea.

For holding the split piano maybe something on the back side of boards, maybe the Velcro could be flat strip across the back seams maybe 2 to 3 inches long. I would think two across the vertical board and 3 connecting the top sides to the vertical might be enough to keep it stable. Then in order to help it release the Velcro in the last scene maybe sew some lightweight long lengths of cord to the top Velcro strips so someone could pull them as one to release the Velcros.  Maybe a mini test sample would help to see what works best. 

Another thing to consider in a performance is height. The puppets have to be higher so the puppeteer can be hidden in most cases. So that means the prop has to be higher to match the puppet height. You can use a table for the prop or extensions of wood strips that can be held. If held by extensions the split can be controlled more than just sitting on a table. I find that the staging of a puppet show is often the most work matching puppeteer sizes, puppets, and props.  Just think how quick that little clip was, but how long did they work to make it come off. Most people don't realize how much work puppet performances are, but I think they are worth the trouble.


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: 8BallsofFur on October 11, 2017, 07:11:47 pm
Cool, I think I'll go forward with the monster chrissy concept. Should be fun. I haven't done many monster builds, so this will be a cool side project. Also, thank you for the insight on the piano, it helps alot. I'm gonna try velcro, I think it will work. It is amazing to think for a two minute video just how much effort went into it. Not to mention it looks like it was all done in one take to boot. Just crazy. Even the eights in the background, to rig them up to flash in time with the music...thats crazy.

Speaking of music, I wanted to record a cover of Eight Balls of Fur too for my presentation video. I'm almost done recording the song. I can play drums, bass, guitar, piano, so I've got the instrumentation covered....just cant sing worth a darn.



Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: pagestep007 on October 12, 2017, 06:48:06 am
Totally agree with you Snail about  how much work goes into a video clip with puppets. People have no idea, but it's such fun.


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: 8BallsofFur on October 13, 2017, 04:51:12 pm
Here we are, new furballs just built. I'm really happy with these! They are so furry! I only have three to go, but I'll probably have to order in yarn skeins for those. Now, its onto the legs. I'm gonna try a few styles: A rainbow stripe, a black stripe, ones where the stripe color is the same as the fur. We'll see which turns out best. Hope you guys like them! I also made one image with the 8's in the background, just to give an idea of what the final product may look like.

(https://i.imgur.com/o2QUlAN.jpg)(https://i.imgur.com/fHRdYK6.jpg)


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: Shawn Sorrell on October 14, 2017, 06:43:10 am
Looking good.  Not sure that legs with black strips are going to read very good since you are going to be filming against a black background, but I could be wrong.


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: 8BallsofFur on October 14, 2017, 07:14:16 am
Actually, you are right Shawn. I had almost forgot. Whoops. :P


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: Snail on October 14, 2017, 01:29:40 pm
I have a dancing christmas tree that moves with any music you play thru it. Not sure what part does that. Would like to know what works for the flashing lights.

I just learned how to Cast a video from my phone to new TV, we tested it with 8 Balls of Fur video. It was cool to see it on large screen.  I noticed that the piano divide was jagged not straight cut as I previously thought. Details...details.


Title: Re: Eight Balls of Fur!
Post by: 8BallsofFur on October 14, 2017, 05:47:16 pm
A dancing Xmas tree. Now there's something you don't see everyday.

Also, I noticed that about the piano too. So many details so little time. As for the glowing eight lights, I think I can make them digitally, it would be the easiest way.