"small mouth" puppet head - help Posted by tsu on Oct 06, 2009
Hi guys,

Been awhile since I've posted anything on there.
I need your priceless help how to solve a problem with a small mouth puppet head.
It may be hard to explain in words so I attach some sample photos of what I'm talking about.

Puppets usually got their mouth very wide. I mean --- looking at the front of the head, the mouth covers all its front part, from side to side, like here*:

But I would like to gain something like on the pictures* below.
A mouth that gives me "natural cheeks", a spare distance/length between edge of a mouth and an edge of the head.

n504337965_1131694_5811 1117_08_08_07_11_49_51

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I know I can just cut a small hole but I don't want to do this that way (it may limit the movement of the mouth I suppose?), I would prefer a pattern/the tips for this specific head. It doesn't matter what kind of shape this head would have, I always can modify existing one.
If anybody has a free pattern and would like to share it - I will appreciate it.
Or if anybody do know how to prepare a pattern for this kind of puppet and would be willing to create one for me - I will pay for your effort.

Maybe an answer is easier than I think, but I really can't figure it out.

Could anybody please help me?

*Sorry for using your photos as examples, hope you don't mind guys.
Re: "small mouth" puppet head - help Posted by Jon on Oct 06, 2009
Part of the reason why the puppets you pictured appear to have mouths that don't span the width of the head is an illusion. By making the head narrow toward the bottom and giving a clearly defined chin and cheaks held to create that illusion. Continuing the face color into the mouth helps to support that illusion as well.  There may be other tricks as well but those are the ones I noticed.
Re: "small mouth" puppet head - help Posted by tsu on Oct 06, 2009
Jon, but what about a picture I drew myself? It's not an illusion.
I've seen one puppet somewhere on here that had a smaller mouth than puppet on my pic - but unfortunately I was not able to find it in the gallery (searched twice).
Re: "small mouth" puppet head - help Posted by Shawn on Oct 06, 2009
I don't think there are any patterns out there either free or to buy that really demonstrates this. You are right that simply cutting a smaller mouth opening is not going to really work. You can make "small' mouth puppets by carving them out of a block of foam but that can be difficult. If you wanted to try that the secret to success on that is to carve the mouth in the open position.  Inserting the hand into the puppet closes the mouth.

To pattern a puppet like this the best place to start is with the mouth plate. Make one that fits your hand. Then build the upper and lower lip on to that.  You then build the rest of the head on to the "back" of that. If you look close at the pictures and try to visualize the foam shapes under the fleece you might be able to tell what I am talking about.  The covering of fleece makes it look like it is all one piece so to speak.   This is easiest for me to see on the green puppet you posted a picture of by dillypuppets.  Wish I could be more help.
Re: "small mouth" puppet head - help Posted by jeezbo on Oct 07, 2009
i personally don't think that there is any 'illusion' to having area either side of the mouth, i have made many puppets in my time that have mouths smaller that their actual head circumference, the easiest example of this i think is the puppets Brazil pattern, where the foam 'mouth' is actually folded in onto the mouthplate to create a 'puckery' cheek effect that gives space either side of the mouth!! unfortunately there is no real pattern as such, but if you where to take the puppets Brazil pattern and experiment, I'm sure you would come up with something great, but for something really tailored to the exact detail and specifications it has to be a carved foam head like Shaun says, just take a look at furry puppet studios wonderful creations and you will see what can be achieved by carving a foam block!!
i hope that this gives you some sort of idea, i will rack my brains and see what i can come up with, but in the mean time, good luck and have fun experimenting!!
Re: "small mouth" puppet head - help Posted by Angel in Tx on Oct 07, 2009
Are you thinking of something like this?  I don't have a pattern, but I thought of this puppet when I read your post.

Angel in TX
Re: "small mouth" puppet head - help Posted by Jon on Oct 07, 2009
In regards to the "illusion" I was refering only to the puppets in the pictures.  As to the drawing and to bunson honeydew that is a different matter all together.

Like Shawn said I think you have to start with the mouth and the  basic geometric shape of the head (spherical, egg, foot ball, etc.)  Then insert the mouth into the head.

I would think that you would need to plan the mouth so that it was at least part way open to ease the opening and closing.  This would also reduce distortion of the puppet when in use.

Depending on the puppet you can also leave gaps in the foam that are hidden by the fabric skin to futher reduce resistence.
Re: "small mouth" puppet head - help Posted by miguel on Oct 07, 2009
Take this as sample:

Re: "small mouth" puppet head - help Posted by Shawn on Oct 07, 2009
Great example Miguel!  It looks like that puppet was patterned out of 1/2 foam and glued much like the Project Puppets but instead of working the mouth into the initial pattern it was then cut out of the foam in an open position.  If you wanted an oval shaped head you could start with the eight piece "football" method and then go from there. In the picture that Miguel linked to I first thought that the folds at the side of the mouth where carved but I think they are thin pieces of foam laid on top of the 1/2 foam.
Re: "small mouth" puppet head - help Posted by Jon on Oct 08, 2009
What a great photo.  I imbedded it directly into my post.

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It really shows how this builder accomplished the task.  If you have Dr. Puppets head pattern you should be able to alter it to create a similar mouth design.

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