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How To Attach Feathers As "Gills" ?  (Read 572 times)
WolfNoir
« on: February 20, 2018, 10:27:45 pm »

Hi everyone,

I'm working on my first puppet to see if I can get the pattern down, and I decided to turn it into an axolotl. If you don't know what that is, it's a funny-looking salamander that spends its whole life in water. Here's a picture.



Anyways, I'm planning on attaching whole (small) ostrich feathers to the sides of the head to act as the "gills" of the axolotl. However, I can't figure out a way to anchor the feathers in a way that makes them stick out, like the picture above. I would use glue, but that'd make the puppet look messy. I am using Project Puppet's glorified sock puppet pattern. Here's a picture of the puppet right now, without any arms. Sorry it looks so awkward, turns out it's pretty hard to take a picture of your own hand.



Any tips or ideas on how to achieve this feather thing?
Shawn Sorrell
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2018, 06:05:47 am »

It is going to be hard to get enough stability to have them stick out in a uniform consistent manner.  Might be better to make 6 small "horns" out of the fabric that are stuffed and sewn to the puppet then edge them in the feather to give the fuzzy look. Could also use fake fur to get the look.  The "horn" would be triangles of fabric with arched sides. you sew along the arch.   
WolfNoir
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2018, 02:41:23 pm »

Sounds good...and it would look closer to an actual axolotl. I'll give that a try!
Snail
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2018, 07:41:43 am »

The feathers will be constantly moving and give your puppet a very exciting alive look with not much work on your part, but they can shed and deteriorate over time so treat them gently. I like Shawn's idea of making fabric base for "gills?" to sew the fragile feathers on. I might try putting pipe cleaners wrapped in tape inside fabric tube to give it support and make it bend the way you want. I would make pipe cleaner extend into the foam head and maybe make a loop inside to sew more securely to inside of head and hold them up better. Keep it light, too much weight and the foam base will bend or they could droop over time.  Maybe connecting the two side "gills" within the head by one straight piece across that is attached to the hard mouth pallet would give it more stability than just attaching to foam, if you have a hard pallet. Hope you find something that works for you.
TygerMin
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2018, 09:38:11 am »

Love the pipe cleaner suggestion!  Looking forward to seeing the end product on this one. 
WolfNoir
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2018, 04:40:23 pm »

The feathers will be constantly moving and give your puppet a very exciting alive look with not much work on your part, but they can shed and deteriorate over time so treat them gently. I like Shawn's idea of making fabric base for "gills?" to sew the fragile feathers on. I might try putting pipe cleaners wrapped in tape inside fabric tube to give it support and make it bend the way you want. I would make pipe cleaner extend into the foam head and maybe make a loop inside to sew more securely to inside of head and hold them up better. Keep it light, too much weight and the foam base will bend or they could droop over time.  Maybe connecting the two side "gills" within the head by one straight piece across that is attached to the hard mouth pallet would give it more stability than just attaching to foam, if you have a hard pallet. Hope you find something that works for you.

I'm using a foam mouth pallet, so im not sure attaching it to the foam will work, but the pipe cleaners is a very good idea! thank you so much!
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