I am a visual artist based in Romania where i try to earn a living doing puppetry and sculpture.
If you like this puppet and the way it is built please share this instructable ,visit us on facebook or on Etsy.
I built this funky guy the same time i built the old lady puppet so some pictures are the same . sorry
This puppet is a remix/remake of old puppets i made a year ago
I hope you enjoy.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
foam 2 cm thick ,some wood ,thick leather scraps ,insulated copper wire ,polymer clay ,thread spool+sewing needles, contact cement(glue)
scissor ,pliers, hot glue gun, box cutter ,stapler and a sewing machine.
Step 2: Making the Pattern
First you need to decide the proportions of the puppet and also the dimensions of all body parts
I made the pattern by drawing on craft paper and cutting the the shapes. I will try to scan my pattern and post it here Take a felt pen and start tracing around the pattern pieces.
Step 3: Cutting the Foam
Take a scissor,but not the good one.....
You know ,not that one that you keep hidden on the top shelve.
Take that crappy one that you use to cut paper and open paint cans. This is because foam can dull the blade quite fast .
IF YOUR SCISSORS ARE ALREADY DULL you can sharpen them by cutting aluminum foil plied in 4 or by rubbing the scissors by the mouth of a jar . One blade inside ,one out and gently pretend to cut. 2 times should do it
Now cut the foam on the marked line and try to make the edge as leveled as possible.
Step 4: Glue UP
Glue the foam using contact cement.
Be sure to stay in a well ventilated space when doing this because contact cement has strong solvents . You should also wear a mask .The trick is to apply contact cement on both surfaces to be glued and let it dry until it is not sticky anymore,i use a hair dryer to speed things up. Start pressing the surfaces together and they will bond .
Glue the two halves of the body together.
Glue the four squares for the arms.apply glue on two parallel sides and before bonding them place a small piece of wood inside to keep them rigid(this can also be a piece of pencil)
Step 5: Leg Construction
Take two pieces of wood and place them end to end. They should be a light type of wood
Glue a leather stripe over the each end and let it hang over 4 cm
Glue a leather stripe over the two ends that are head to head and form a hinge
Staple the leather to the wood Glue foam over the wood
Also glue the ends of the sponge to the wood to form a knee
Step 6: Hands
Take the copper wire and bend in the shape of the palm.
Place the wire between two foam pieces and glue all sides together
The fingers can now hold objects and retain gestures .
Step 7: The Clay Base for the Head
Take a big lump of clay and try to sculpt the main volume of a head.
It does not need any detail because you will be adding those later as you glue the foam.
Step 8: The Skull
Take the clay base and cover with a plastic bag.
On top of the plastic bag ad four layers of paper and wood glue(papier mache).
After the paper has dried (one day later) take a box cutter and cut the paper skull in two to release it from the clay base.
Glue the paper halves back together with hot glue and then cover the glue line with paper and glue.
Feel free to draw on the paper skull to try to find out the features you want to give to your character.
Last cut and remove the lower jaw because you will glue the mouth board next.
Step 9: Mouth Board
Take some paper ,place the paper skull on top and trace the shape of the mouth on it. Cut the shape you draw.
Get some thin particle board and cut it using the pattern you just made.Cut two pieces.
Cover this with fleece on the face(the side which will be seen) On the back side we need to sew two elastic bands on top of another piece of fleece ,a big one to fit four fingers and a small one to fit the thumb. Glue the piece of fleece with elastic on the back of the mouth board.
Make sure to sew this close to the edge of the mouth-board. Also make sure to leave at least half centimeter between the two halves of the mouth board to allow for easy movement.
Step 10: Glue the Mouth Board
Spread contact cement on the edges of the mouth board and edges of the paper base.
Press together and glue.
Now is a good time to check if the mouth opens and closes with ease .
Step 11: Face Features
I usually start drawing on the paper base and then copy the shapes on craft paper .I cut out this shapes and trace them on foam. I cut the foam and round the edges by folding them on the midline and gluing.
Think which features you want to place under the skin of the puppet and which on top(usually on top i place eye lids ,nose ,eye brows and ears .................
Glue a fleece layer over the face , do it slowly and use a piece of foam to spread thin layers of glue ,because sometimes glue goes thru the fabric .
Step 12: The Body
The arms and legs are held to the body by small fabric cones.
The tip of the cone is sewn to the arm/leg
The base of the cone is glued to the trunk.
Step 13: Eyes
The eyes are made from polymer clay.
Make small strands and form an iris out of them.
Place a black spot in the middle and bake in the oven.
Step 14: Give Some Color
You can paint fleece with markers or with acrylic paint but be careful because the fabric is wicking water .
A small test on some scrap fabric is a good option.
Step 15: Have Some Fun
Take the puppet outside and start playing
Have fun and please let me know if i jumped a step.