Make talking puppets and enact your own play following this tutorial!
Step 1: What You Will Need:
– Couple of soft toys to act as your characters.
Coloured construction paper, foam board or cardboard, ruler, cutter, tape and pencil to build the scenery. Conductive thread, Electric Paint, needle and scissors to make the connections.
– Computer, Touch Board, SD card reader, Lipo
– Battery (or USB cable) and Speaker to make the toys talk!
Step 2: Before You Start:
Make a sketch of your idea, and also a drawing of how to connect audio clips to the Touch Board and the toys.
This project re enacts a scene from the film Napoleon Dynamite. You can see that the sketch is based on the reference still from the film I found online. I also found audio clips of the scene, which I separated into a dialogue. Each line of the dialogue is going to be connected to a separate electrode on the Touch Board via conductive thread.
Step 3: Load Sounds on the Touch Board
I found the audio clip of the scene I wanted online. I downloaded it and then took it into Audacity to cut it up into short mp3 files and loaded it onto the SD card which comes with the Touch Board.
Step 4: Building the Scene
I cut a structure for the scene of foam core board. The pieces slot together to make a kind of box which looks like a miniature theatre set. My decorations will be placed on the back plane and the characters in the front.
Step 5: Paper Decorations
To make the scene look like the reference still from the film, I used coloured construction paper to make lockers. I used an exacto knife to score and cut the paper to look like lockers.
Step 6: Planning the Connections:
I used a pencil to plan the position of the touch board. Then placed the toys in their final positions to be able to measure how much conductive thread I would need to make them hang like puppets.
Step 7: Making the Connections:
The conductive thread is tied straight to the Touch Board, and clip the excess thread to make sure that it does not touch any neighbouring electrodes. If the thread is too loose, you can secure it with little blobs of Electric Paint.
The tread is kept in place with masking tape, and the Touch Board is secured to the foam board with sewing pins.
The loose ends of the conductive thread are sewn onto the toys.
Step 8: Pop It Up
Once ready. The set it popped up into 3D, the background lockers are placed on the back wall, and the toys hang on the front.
Step 9: Play Away!
Once the sounds are loaded onto the SD card and attached to the correct electrodes, touching the conductive thread (or strings) of the puppets will make them talk. Just ensure which string goes in which order!