Hello everyone,

I came last year when I was trying to build a "Cookie Monster" lookalike for my Daughter's 2 year Birthday. I finished it during the transition of the website, and then life took its toll.

Aniway, it worked out better than I expected (I was basically learning how to sew on the go), and my daughter was thrilled.
The picture is not great, but it gives an idea of how it looks.

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For the eyes I went with the Christmas ornaments, painted in white inside. 
To attach the pupils to the eyes I went to a local optician who kindly gave me two tiny glass frame screws. 

We played a lot with the puppet during the year, and she started to try more and more to manipulate it. This started to be a problem as:
- It's way too big for her
- The eyes are a bit too fragile for a toddler to play with

So, this year, for her third Birthday, I decided to use the remnants of fur I had too build her two small puppets that she could use.
The idea was to create puppets:
- looking more or less like Cookie Monster and Elmo
- that don't have any breakable part (basically making eyes out of fabric)
- built without potentially harmful chemicals (I'm looking at you rubber cement)

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Elmo is a bit scruffy, and his nose and eyes are not centered, but she couldn't care less.

Now, there is a "technical" tip for my fellow puppet makers in this whole story. 
As I wrote earlier, I aimed not to use rubber cements. I do quite a bit of woodworking, and have been using animal glue pretty much exclusively since the day I discovered the stuff. And so far I have never found anything that can't be glued with hide glue (real hot hide glue, "liquid hide glue" I haven't used much).
I actually tried it on fabric when I built a train table last year, and had to glue some green felt on Masonite. Hide glue made a perfect and easy job of it, a nice initial tack, and a quick setting. Turned out it's actually the traditional way to glue baize on table (and I think felt on Pool tables too).

Anyway, for the mouth-plates I used some rubber gaskets, and glued some fleece inside and outside of it. The hide glue had a strong initial tack (pretty much like rubber cement), and was set and strong in about a minute. And all that without trying to give kill me with toxic fumes.

By Shawn on Nov 19, 2020, 7:38 AM
Great job on your puppets!  Glad you came back and let us know how things turned out. 
Never used hide  glue.  You mentioned it is "hot"  is it a glue you heat up like you would a glue stick? Do you have to buy it at a specialty store?  Guess I need to go do some  google searches. 

Thanks for sharing your experience. 
By Carnivorious-sheep on Nov 19, 2020, 4:04 PM
Hide glue is sold as granules. You have to soak them in water, and then warm it up to about 140F in a double boiler. 

There are now some kind of stabilized hide glue, sold in bottle as "liquid hide glue". It's already liquid and ready to go, but it's quite different. You loose the quick setting and you have to use clamps. I am not a fan of it, and prefer to use fish glue when I want a readily liquid glue. The initial tack of fish glue is strong and might be enough to glue fabric to mouthplates, but it needs to cure for 24h. 
I might try and see how it works.

There are a few articles and probably videos about hide glue on woodworking and Lutherie websites.
I haven't watch this one, but Patrick Edwards knows more about hide glue than I ever will:

Frankly, it's a bit difficult to use at first. You have to find the good granule/water ratio, to find a way to get it warm reliably (a baby bottle warmer is used by a lot of people), to know when to had water to it, etc.
But when you get the hang of it, it's actually quite fast and easy to prepare, and a treat to use. You pretty much have an instant bond, no need to clamp, it's set up and dried quickly, and it's not toxic. It's also reversible with steam, and, if need be, you can glue back on old hide glue without scraping the old glue off. 

I wouldn't surprise that it's working as good as  rubber cement on foam too. The glue is hot, but certainly not enough to melt the foam. 
By Chris on Nov 27, 2020, 6:26 PM
I had never heard of it also, but it sounds intriguing. It is available at amazon (so what isn't?). Hide glue 

How to use hide glue

By Snail on Jan 21, 2021, 8:34 AM
What was the white eye fabric you  used? The fact that hide glue is easily removed with water would make a cleaning job on well loved puppet trickier. If you have to wet may also need reglue. Good to know that upfront. I love your baby Cookie and baby Elmo, great job, your child will treasure these memories. 
By Carnivorious-sheep on Jan 29, 2021, 2:50 PM
Thanks Snail !

For the eyes I used some white polar fleece I got at Joann's, nothing fancy. It's stuffed with some wool.

As for cleaning the puppet, I'm not sure water alone would remove the glue if it's not hot (traditionally you need steam). But then, on fabric, if it get soaked, maybe you'll get into trouble. 
All my things are in a container right now, but I'll run a test when everything is back.
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