Question about the skin aspect of a puppet. Posted by SHould on Aug 19, 2007
Hello to you all,

I am barely starting in puppetry and already i have a million questions lurking in my brain. One of them concerns the sking of a puppet. Lets say i created the general aspect in foam (as i should of course). My foam is a certain color, but i want the skin to be another color. I therefor found a great fabric that would act as the skin. What do i do next? Do i glue the fabric everywhere on the foam? Do i sew it all together and then put it on the foam puppet like a glove?

I know for experienced puppeteers, this may seem a bit silly to ask, but to a newby like me, its a whole new world!

Thanks a bunch,
Big puppet hug,
SHould
Re: Question about the skin aspect of a puppet. Posted by Puppet-Planet on Aug 19, 2007

Hi Should,

With the fabric covering, you will want to sew the fabric and then slip it over the foam head, I usually insert the foam head through the mouth opening of the fabric "skin". Then you can reshape everything taking the wrinkles out of the fabric by pulling it around the head in different directions until everything fits. This is where the stretch in your fabric plays a very important roll in helping you get the "skin" to fit the head snug and without too many wrinkles.

There are many ways to create a pattern for the skin of your puppet, but lets start out with the easiest. Assuming that you have a full foam head pattern, all you need to do is enlarge the pattern a little bit (about 10%) and use that as your "skin" pattern. When you arrange the pattern on your fabric, you will first want to check the direction of the fabric stretch and arrange your pattern so that the stretch is to your advantage. Most commercial patterns will tell you to have the stretch go horizontal with the mouth opening and some will tell you to go vertical with the head height.... it's a matter of preference and depends on the over all shape of the pattern. If the mouth is really large compared to the rest of the head, then I would go horizontal. If the head is really tall, then I would go vertical.

Hope this helps & the package I sent you has already been shipped so you will have some goodies soon! 
-Michele
Re: Question about the skin aspect of a puppet. Posted by SHould on Aug 20, 2007
Hi Michele,

Your explenations are superb, i understood it all perfectly. Thanks for your info and for my package that should arrive anytime soon. I will let you know when i will have received it.

I had an idea how putting the skin on a puppet was, but i was just not sure. Thanks for your info, your the best!

Huge puppet hug,
SHould
Re: Question about the skin aspect of a puppet. Posted by Puppet-Planet on Aug 20, 2007

Hi Should, no problem at all!  I can't wait to see more photos in the gallery! 
Re: Question about the skin aspect of a puppet. Posted by littlebitwired on Aug 25, 2007
Thanks SHould, I came here looking for answers to the same question! My first puppet as well! Has anyne ever used the kids foamy sheets for the mouth? ...wondering how /if that would work?
Nancy
Re: Question about the skin aspect of a puppet. Posted by Puppet-Planet on Aug 25, 2007

Hi Nancy,

Yes, I have used the thicker size of foamy material for mouthplates before. I achieved wonderful results with the material and one of the Major benefits has always been the flexability which allow for different expressions using the mouth... like pulling your fingers in for a scrunched up look in the face... very much like Kermit the frog when he became miffed about something another character did. 

-Michele
Re: Question about the skin aspect of a puppet. Posted by SHould on Aug 25, 2007
Hi Nancy, well like you, i am learning as i am going. And i had not thought of that question that you just asked, but it is a good one to ask. So thanks for adding to the conversation. And Michele, your explenations are as clear as always.

I do have one question that keeps lurking in my mind, so here goes. When it comes to the face, do i put the skin with the nose in place, making me work hell to adjust the skin snug to the face, or do i add the nose after i have put the skin on. The nose being of course "skinned" seperatly and then glued on the face with glue (glue gun or contact cement?) ? Hmm, was i clear on that? If you dont get the sense of what i am trying to ask, but say so and i will try to be more clear next time.

All of these questions and answers are great for my build-along project :D

Thanks all, you are all great!
Big puppet hug to all!
Re: Question about the skin aspect of a puppet. Posted by Puppet-Planet on Aug 25, 2007
Hi Should,

It's funny that you ask this question about noses because I have been thinking about this subject recently. I have always attached the nose after the puppet head has been covered with fabric... applying skin to the nose separately. Not to long ago I tinkered with this technique and attached nose & cheek details to the bare foam first and then covered it with fabric. A close up of the results are pictured below.

I have seen wonderful puppets designed by MaryAnn Taylor (www.matpuppets.com) and Verna Finly that achieve the sculpted look by applying the facial features with foam and then covering everything with the fabric "skin". I think Jay (a member here) from www.drpuppet.com also uses this technique.

This technique is not just limited to noses, it's used to add wrinkles, brows, cheeks, jowls, and many other detail features to a characters face. I know that the stretch of the fabric and it's direction plays an important role in this technique. I'm sure there are additional tricks to adjusting the fabric around larger facial features, but I am not experienced enough to provide details... maybe Jay will share some of his wisdom for this detail?

-Michele

Coincidentally, this crocodile character is being resold on eBay by the original owner that purchased him from me (also off eBay).    The link to his auction is here:

330158333625
Re: Question about the skin aspect of a puppet. Posted by littlebitwired on Aug 26, 2007
From my doll making experience I offer this.... if you leave an opening you can go in under the skin and add polyfil to certain parts to beef them up, like brows, nostrils, cheeks lips etc. then sculpt with needle and thread to enhance and trap them in place.

as for my project... I made the head larger because I couldn't fit my "man-hand" inside... now its face is very long.. I'm thinking dinosaur... hmmm, I'll continue and see where it leads me.
Re: Question about the skin aspect of a puppet. Posted by SHould on Aug 26, 2007
Michele, your input is as always great and provides for all newbies, not just myself, a better idea about how to proceed into puppetry. Thank you so much for your input, a valuable piece of info indeed.

Nancy, your input too as a dollmaker is as much as valuable and provides a much different, but as important approch to how we can do our own puppets. Thanks alot to you as well.

Hmmm, now, how will i make my monster look even more monstruous...I have a few ideas. I will let you know how it goes!

Puppet hug,
SHould
Loading

No More Post

Error