This Instructable is the first of two that will help you create a soft puppet (out of foam). This puppet will be made from block foam instead of the thinner sheet-like upholstery foam. I got my foam as scraps from a local fabric shop, otherwise its costs around $30 for a block of it. But for this project the condition of the foam doesn't really matter.
Step 1: Supplies Needed...
You will need:
1). Foam: I had two separate pieces of foam, but one would be ideal.
3). Pens and scissors
4). Hot glue gun
6). An Idea! ---- drawn out on a piece of paper is helpful.
Step 2: Drawing/Shaping
If you have two smaller pieces like me, put them out as shown and draw out your design (preferably with the mouth placed where the two pieces meet, so as to avoid extra cutting). If not, just draw out your character onto the foam using a pen (most any work). Mine has shaded areas at the cheekbone and eye-sockets where I with delve into to create a more 3 dimensional effect. Once you have drawn your puppet onto the foam, begin to cu the general shape out, again if you have just one piece, you can cut the whole oval of your puppet's head out, whereas I have to make two half-ovals. The cutting (done with scissors) does not need to be particularly careful, since any un-smooth areas will become smooth after the fabric is applied to the foam . ( as you can see, so far mine doesn't look to pretty).
Tip: when cutting foam with scissors, if it becomes hard to cut, place your thumb and forefinger ( while pinched together) on the line you are cutting, and spread them out a tiny bit as if you were zooming in on an iPhone. This will create enough tension in the foam so that it is easier to snip at.
Step 3: Where the Hand Goes...
So how do you puppeteer it? Here's how;
If you have one piece: cut the whole jaw out. Look at picture 1, that is how your puppet should look when you're done with this step ( excluding the white paper etc. This pic had to be taken later because I had two pieces, so some of it you should disregard. Focus on the foam only.). Now you are ready for the step below.
If you have two pieces or have just finished the above step: So you have two pieces of foam, in the vague shape of a puppet. It is time to make space for your hand. Take your top piece (not the jaw) and trace your hand in the center of the bottom of it as shown in pic 2. You will hollow this traced space out, so that there is enough room for your hand. Repeat this step for the jaw, except after tracing your thumb.
Your hand should be able to rest comfortably inside these spaces when the pieces of foam are put together.
If you had the two pieces, then you need to cut out the separate jaw now, and glue the cheeks into place, so that it looks like picture one ( with all the same exceptions).
What you need to do now is enclose these spaces. Using a hot glue gun, glue some pieces of cardboard over the holes ( cut the card board pieces slightly larger than the hole itself.) Look back at picture one. Your Puppet should now look like that, only excluding the paper on the side of the jaw.
Step 4: Getting Closer
Now you can put that paper on the Jaw! glue cardstock pieces ( cut to fit or be smaller than the sides of the jaw) onto each side of the jaw. Also do the same for the inside of the jaw ( the upper half of the puppet). This is so that the mouth moves easier and smoother. You can now cut out your last piece of paper for the day: make it around 2 by 3 inches. Fold it in half the long way. Glue it onto the lower jaw as shown in pic 3, then onto the top part of the head as shown in pic 4. This paper works as a hinge for the jaw. Slide your hand into the back of its head and give it a try before moving on to the last step of part one.
Step 5: Finishing Touches
Now cut a nose out of that scrap foam you saved. Glue that on. Cut your buddy a couple eye holes, and your done with part 1! part 2 will instruct you on how to cover your puppet with fabric and finish it off with eyes, hair etc.