Defined puppet cheekbones Posted by A. Darkly on Jul 03, 2013
I hate to pop in and ask a question before introducing myself but I'm on a deadline I've gotten addicted to puppet building so I will certainly be back (procrastinating from my "day job" making plush toys which are NOT puppets). 

I'm doing a semi-realistic puppet build that needs to have fairly defined cheekbones and I'm not sure how to approach it. The head will be 1/2" polyfoam which will be covered in antron fleece, and I'm unsure how to add cheeks on top of the base head. I don't want them to be *too* exaggerated, I want to get a nice rounded feeling. Honestly haven't had fabulous luck with carving separate pieces of foam for features like noses (they always come out too blocky, or uneven!). Maybe I'm doing something wrong. Is there another way to build up features on top of the head, if I want them to be relatively flat? Can I use batting?

I'd be grateful for any tips or brainstorms and will return with puppet pics as soon as he's done.
Re: Defined puppet cheekbones Posted by Animal31 on Jul 03, 2013
I would try cutting a few pieces of 1/2 foam to the size/shape you need, pin them to the head and just cut the edges off until you get the look you desire. They don't have to be perfectly shaped or carved "just right" as the antron will cover alot of the flaws. The trick will be to glue the fabric down around the cheekbones when you insert the foam head so you will be able to see the shape and definition coming thru...
Re: Defined puppet cheekbones Posted by Shawn on Jul 03, 2013
Yep Animal has it right. Use some 1/2 or even 1/4 foam cut in the shape you want for the cheek and apply it to the head base. You can bevel down the edges as Animal has mentioned once glued on or you can cut that "bevel" on the foam before you glue it on then when you glue it on glue it with the bevel down. I often cut pieces of on more then a 90 degree angle and then glue them. In this case you may want to go for something like a 44 to 33 degree cut.  I use an electric carving knife to cut my pieces so it makes it a bit easier to get an angled cut then if you are simply using scissors.

Yes you can use batting to plump out areas. I have used that approach before but it is much more subtle then a pieces of foam. I sometimes combine the two methods. I'll glue on a pieces of foam in the shape I want then lay a thin layer of batting over that to smooth things out. Batting tends to compress over time where foam holds it shape longer.
Re: Defined puppet cheekbones Posted by A. Darkly on Jul 04, 2013
Thanks for the tips!

Good to know about batting compressing...and the electric knife. Think I will try beveling and then gluing - sounds like that might get the effect I want without me going nuts on the carving. Does it matter much if I use reticulated or poly? Reticulated seems to hide imperfections better but the open structure seems harder to shape accurately. Guess I will go with poly so it's the same as the head.

Thanks so much, I will be back with a puppet (I hope) soon I'll take some progress pics I can post here in case anyone has the same question.
Re: Defined puppet cheekbones Posted by Shawn on Jul 05, 2013
I use the regular poly foam. I feel it holds up just as well as reticulated and is easier to come by.
Re: Defined puppet cheekbones Posted by Rich D. on Jul 06, 2013
Please do post the pics if you take them. I've been wondering how you would add cheeks on the base head, it'd be interesting and informative.

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