Photo Puppet



Introduction: Photo Puppet

About: I'm a professional entertainer, mostly educational shows for elementary schools. I have one great wife and one great child, (3 years old). My proudest project is a Model of the Wright Brothers plane with a...
Pictures are great, but talking photos?  Awesome.  Make any (almost) picture come to life with this DIY. 
About 2 hours, $5.

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Step 1:

2- 8" x 10" photos.
foam board 8" x 10"  (or the size of your final photo project.)
rubber bands
2 small screws
Popsicle sticks
chip board (or hard board substitute)
white glue
straight pins
paint stirring stick.
picture frame (optional)

Exacto knife.

Step 2: Selecting the Photo

Of course you want a pretty picture, that you will be proud to show friends and family.  For this project, a photo of the subject looking at the camera is more convincing.  And one with the lips closed, so when the puppets mouth is shut, it's shut. 

Having a second photo of the same subject in the same photo session with the mouth open will really help add to the illusion.

Step 3: Cut Foam Baord and Photo

Cut the foam board and photo to 8" x 10" of course if you are making a different size, then whatever size you want, but for today we are going with 8" x 10".

Mark one side with a "B" for back, after you make your cut, you will want to know which side is which.

Step 4: Cut Out the Mouth

Pin the photo to the white foam board at the corners.

With Exacto knife cut through picture at the mouth, separating the lips, straight down each side to the chin, cut just below chin.

Make sure you have cut through photo and foam board.  I took the photo off and finished the foam board cutting without it.

Step 5: Cut Larger Hole/slot in the Foam Board.

Take the hole you currently have and extend it on the foam board.  This creates a channel for the mouth to move.  I would say double the length of the mouth cut. 

Step 6: Cut the Chip Board

We need a firm surface to use to slide the animation and a firm piece to brace the rubber band to pull it back into place.  First projects I used chip board, which was nice.  Didn't have any handy this time, I was at the $.99 store, and they had hardcover books for $.99, so I bought that and cut what I needed from the covers.  Worked perfectly and it was cheap. 
cut these pieces about 1 inch by 3 inches for the top brace.
Sliding piece: make sure you cut it long and wide enough to cover the opening.  Nice straight edges so it will slide well.

Barely interesting note; i had Zasthura book, a Paris Hilton book and a Conseco book.  Guess which one I choose?

Step 7: Create Sliding Groove

You need to create a track for the slider to slide on. 
Popsicle sticks two to build up and one more offset to hold it.
One set of three on the right three on the left. 
White glued in place.
Use the slider to position the tracks correctly spaced.

Step 8: Glue and Assemble.

Glue picture with hold on the front, be sure not to get glue on the back behind chin or neck so slider will move freely.

Glue mouth and small foam piece together.

Place slider in place, Glue foam mouth piece to slider piece through the hole in the front of big picture.  Slider will not be removable ( addable) once the foam piece is glued on.

Glue the small inside of mouth photo on slider itself above the foam mouth piece.

Step 9: Add Handle

Glue a paint stirring stick on the back where it is comfortable to hold AND work the string.  I use my thumb for the puppetry.  I'm sure other digits would work well too.

Step 10: Frame

I bought this frame at Rite Aid...can you guess how much i paid?  Simply take out the backing and put the puppet photo in and re-close.  Stick should sit behind frame. Although not necessary, It really gives it a finished look.  Also if you film you may want to take out the glass due to the reflection. Maybe always leave it out.

Step 11: Previous Attempts.

Not my first try, these are previous efforts.

I used springs at first, but then Eureka hit me and figured rubber bands worked way better and cheaper.

also on these i didn't put an "inside" to the mouth.  the new one is way better. 

first version i added mustache and sunglasses with magnets, so they could be added and removed.

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