Finished my first puppet Posted by puppetbubba on Sep 21, 2008
Okay, I just finished my first puppet.  It was way harder then I thought it would be.  The actual sewing of the puppet was easy.  I made a couple of mistakes but I expected to do that.  I just used cheap felt as I knew this would be my test model.  I used the Simple Series Roly Puppet pattern.  I will make a few slight adjustments next time around.  I want more of a defined neck so I am going to tweek the pattern so there isn't so much fabric beneath the jaw.  The eyes and nose were the hardest for me.  I see my eyes are looking up when I use her so next time I will move them down.  I played around with them forever and they looked good looking at her but when I put her on my hand I saw they were looking up.  Nose is a bit wrinkled but I will smooth that out with time too.  She has no shoulders so her clothes slip off.  Not really sure what to do about that.  Any suggestions out there? 

I am going to tweek the pattern and make another for my daughter, then one for my son because they both couldn't put her down.  I bought no pill fleece for there puppets, I used felt for this one.  I liked working with felt but it is already balling from the use over the last two days.  I used plastic from an ice cream pail lid for her mouth but the glue didn't stick (hot glue stick).  It has totally fallen apart.  I hot glued elastic on the upper and lower panels of the mouth to keep my hands in place but it tore off in no time.  Also I used puppet Ladies suggestion on making the mouth piece by cutting out the foam and glueing it for a hand pocket.  The foam has already let go too.  I think I will use thick chipboard or cardboard next time as plastic doesn't seem to work with hot glue!

All in all I am happy with my first puppet.  The hair is from an old doll of my daughters.  I don't really like the real hair look but it was all I had right now and she needed some hair so I used it.  I also borrowed my daughters Build-a-Bear outfit so she (the puppet) would have some clothes!

Any suggestions on improvement are welcome.  The only way to grow is to get constructive critisism. 

Here is the link:

Maybe I can attach the image.puppet
Re: Finished my first puppet Posted by gav on Sep 21, 2008
She looks great.  The real hair looks good on her.  I think it really depends on the look your going for of the puppet also.  She has a real person look so you gave here real hair.   The mouth looks perfect That's usually the first thing I notice on first puppets that need work.  If I had any criticism it would be that i'm a stickler for stitches  showing on the face.  If you use anti pill it usually works good not great for letting you pick the stitches so they blend in with the puppet.  Use the ladder stitch on the face it makes it easy to hide it.  Oh!! and welcome to the forums 
Re: Finished my first puppet Posted by jomama on Sep 21, 2008
If you want to use the plastic for the mouth, try sewing the elastic to the plastic with your machine. When gluing plastic remember to rough up the surface with sandpaper to give the glue something to grab onto. I've never used hot glue to make my puppets, I prefer contact cement.

If you are adapting the pattern to give the puppet a thinner neck, adapt the pattern to give a wider shoulder.

Your first puppet looks good. Keep it up!

Re: Finished my first puppet Posted by Billy D. Fuller on Sep 21, 2008
Very good job for your first.............. all I can say is practice makes perfect. Thanks for sharing.

Billy D.
Re: Finished my first puppet Posted by Na on Sep 21, 2008
She looks great!

As for shoulders, you could do something like what's described in The Foam Book: cut out a half circle of sheet foam, and attach at the shoulder area of the body, with the straight edge of the circle attaching to the body. You should then have a piece of foam sticking out from the body, like this:

Message Image
Re: Finished my first puppet Posted by LJ on Sep 22, 2008
Looks great!  Her hair is so cute!
Re: Finished my first puppet Posted by puppetlady on Sep 22, 2008
You've done quite well for your first puppet.  I bet the kids are begging for more!

About the hot glue, it doesn't stick to well to plastic.  You figured that one out.  Contact cement would work better or a change to a different mouth material for your next puppet like you said.  Foam core or strong cardboard will have a paper surface that hot glue will bond to.  For my sintra mouthplates (plastic) I use contact cement to add the mouth felt to the mouthplate and rivets (sold in the leather part of a craft store) to add the handstrap (elastic in your case).

About clothing, I had success with designing the clothes into the puppet itself.  For example, to make a T shirt for a Roly, I cut out T shirt material for the body piece and then just added matching sleeves when I added the arms.  The puppet doesn't "dress-up" well because of the lack of shoulders.  Instead of adding clothing after the puppet is complete, it works better to design it in.  This means you can't change outfits per se.  If you wanted that feature, you would have to have a different body style.  The Project Puppet patterns all lack shoulders. 

Here's a simple series puppet picture where I designed the T-shirt in:
melonhead assembly.JPG

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