Puppets and Stuff
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Building a Puppet Mouth  (Read 8173 times)
Helen
« on: November 30, 2007, 07:31:40 am »

Had a question about building the puppet mouth but thought I'd do a tutorial on how I do mine.  I've been working on improving the mouth for 4 years and think I'm finally happy with it!  Smiley  Thought this would help newbie puppet builders and save them some time!

I use Contact Adhesive for all the gluing.

Picture a:
Black felt mouth sewn on to fabric.  Puppet is wrong side out. Four tabs on felt are to position felt before sewing.

Picture b:
Rigid white plastic in 2 halves 2mm thick ( 1/16" I think!). I cut it with scissors and corners are slightly rounded to take away the sharp edge. Any thicker than 2mm is difficult to cut with scissors - any thinner tends to bend.

Picture c:
Plastic is covered with curly fleece fabric to give the puppeteers hand a grip. The side bits of the fabric are trimmed for the glue to be applied to put the foam head on.

Picture d:
Vinyl strap made from the 'table protector' fabric which is vinyl on top and then a thick layer of polyester type padding underneath.  Very comfortable and doesn't stretch like elastic.

Picture e:
The rigid plastic is difficult to source in the UK so in my Puppet Pattern I suggest using Foam Board 3mm thick(sorry can't figure what this is in inches) also cut with scissors and braced with Ice Lolly sticks as it has a tendency to buckle.  Upper half shows the outline to put the glue on - lower half has the stick glued on. 

My question is if you live in a remote place then rigid plastic and foam board are difficult to come by - some patterns suggest single plywood, laminate, hardboard which would be easier to find but how do you cut them in an oval shape?  Undecided I'd like to include this in my pattern as an option but would would like to try it first.

Helen


Sonny
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2007, 07:45:32 am »

Thank you Helen, A very nice and detailed tutorial. I'm sure this will help all of us. Great picture setup and instructions. Tell us more!  spin

I like foam core for my mouthboards. It's 1/8 inch edge helps to glue on nip and tuck faces/3 piece heads a bit better, but thats for nip and tuck or 3 piece types.

Thank you for the addition to the site.
Helen
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2007, 09:20:33 am »

Thanks Sonny!

think Foam Core must be the USA name for Foam Board - I used it quite a bit but then one mouth plate bent in the middle so stopped using it but that might just be the design of my puppet.

One day I;m going to try nip and tuck your puppets are an inspiration!  wave

Helen
MsPuppet
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2007, 09:28:39 am »

Cut wood and other items with a band saw or a router. We put several pieces together (tape them) and go around them with a band saw or router to cut out. I use sentra or another hard plastic and cut it that way.

Have you had a problem with felt holding up?  I use fleece for the mouths because it has more stretch and holds up longer.
StiqPuppet Productions
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2007, 09:35:38 am »

You would have to buy a wood cutting machine such as a Dremel Tool with a cutting blade attachment tool added on, jig saw a scroll or band saw.  You could try to use a hand saw but trying to make round edges with a saw might be to hard to do properly and safely.  I understand that you are trying to keep the costs down for people who might only want to make one puppet, but some people may have access to these tools and are willing to use them.  It seems you just want information on what tools you could use to cut more challenging material, I hope this helps to answer your question.

BTW Thanks for the picture tutorial on how to make a mouth plate!!

Daryl H
Billy D. Fuller
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2007, 12:31:09 pm »

Great work on the tutorial.............. I always find it interesting the so many different ways mouth plate are design. It looks like your tutorial is right on the money.

Billy D.
Helen
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2007, 03:21:38 pm »

Cut wood and other items with a band saw or a router. We put several pieces together (tape them) and go around them with a band saw or router to cut out. I use sentra or another hard plastic and cut it that way.

Have you had a problem with felt holding up?  I use fleece for the mouths because it has more stretch and holds up longer.
Thanks for this - I'll see if I can borrow these tools from someone and try them - the idea of taping pieces together is very good!
I'd never thought of using fleece for the mouth - by holding up I presume you mean staying glued to the plastic - I just have to make sure it's thoroughly glued but think I'll try the fleece as you say it would have more stretch.

Helen

« Last Edit: November 30, 2007, 03:30:15 pm by Helen »
Helen
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2007, 03:29:08 pm »

You would have to buy a wood cutting machine such as a Dremel Tool
Daryl H

Thanks Daryl - I used my husband's dremel some time ago but the blade kept breaking however I've looked it up on the web and looks like possibly a router attachment would be better - or I just need to get the hang of using it! Yes I'm looking for info but also to try it out as I don't like suggesting things unless I know it works! It's interesting also to use the different materials and increase my knowledge of puppet building!

Helen
StiqPuppet Productions
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2007, 05:13:50 pm »

Not a problem,

I think what she meant by the felt with the mouth is felt over time gets very fuzzy and stringy like and starts looking less attractive.

Another great material is Doe Suede (it is fake stuff not real Doe), it is very thin and has a little fuzz feel to it.  I love it and never fuzzes up.

Daryl H

Helen
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2007, 02:08:26 am »

Thanks Billy! 

And thanks Daryl - yes I see what you mean about felt I'll have a look for the Doe Suede too - all this info is brilliant!

Helen
MsPuppet
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2007, 01:57:28 pm »

Yes, I meant how will the felt last over several years and lots of use.

My hubby is a cabinet maker/wood worker, so we have all the tools I mentioned and he cuts the mouths for me.  He does large batches at a time, so I have a good supply to work with.

FRP - (fiberglass reinforced panel) comes in 4' X 8' sheets at home improvement warehouses like Lowes or Home depot.  It is thin and rigid and works well. One side is smooth, the other is not, so I use the smooth side on the mouth side and the other on the side your hand will grip (I still glue a piece of fabric on it).

We use a variety of glues. Contact cement, spray adhesive for foam, and weatherstrip adhesive.
Helen
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2007, 03:07:57 pm »

Thanks for this!  Fibreglass sounds interesting. In the UK I'd probably get it in B & Q so will check it out.

Cutting rigid plastic with scissors can get a bit sore after a while so long term I really need to get some kind of tools to do it.

Think 'how does it hold up' is an american expression so didn't get the meaning! Some of the puppets I've bought years and years ago have felt mouths that seem to be OK still but I possibly haven't used them too often.   

The main thing Puppets and Stuff is doing for me is giving me the info plus the courage to try something different!

Helen
Monkey
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2008, 01:55:06 am »

Thanks, I must have misread your pattern. Still, the puppet came out great, unfortunately I didn't take a picture of it to send you. I promise I'll take a picture of the next one.

Steve
Helen
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2008, 04:10:36 am »

Thanks Steve - that's great!

Helen wave
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