Why and How of Ralfi




Introduction: Why and How of Ralfi

Welcome to my build of Ralfi the puppet. My skills are electronics and computers so sewing was not one of the things I had tried over the years, especially with a machine. It was way out of the comfort zone for me. One of the motivations was seeing Rick Lyon on Tested. He and his team built a puppet for Adam Savage. Watching I thought that would be cool to try. When I was a child I was fascinated with puppets and the Muppet Show. I had built a couple of sock puppets but never anything that required sewing.

So here we are. I purchased a puppet pattern offline and from the local fabric shop some blue fur. Watched a BUNCH of videos. There was some mistakes but I really like the final product.

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Step 1: Hand Puppet (Ralfi)

Items needed

Pattern (mine was the Roly)

1/2 foam (found white at Walmart)

Some fabric (I picked fur to start with)

Colored felt (went with Black, bright pink and light pink)

Sewing items (thread (Should match fur color), pins, tape measure, scissors

Contact cement

hot glue gun

cardboard or poster board

Sharpe Pen, pencils, other drawing items.

Optional items

extendable knife, hobby knife, self-healing cutting mat

sewing machine

Step 2: The Pattern

I printed my pattern and was not sure about the diameter of the body. After cutting out the body parts, I taped them together to get a feel for the size. Good thing as it was a little tight. I went back and printed at 110% and the fit was much better. I attached the pattern to cardboard with white glue for firmer pattern. I would have used poster board but cardboard was at hand.

Step 3: The Foam

One foam I marked out the pattern for the skull. For mine you need 2 parts and 1 is the mirror of the other. Using contact cement join the glue marks for both parts. Then join the two half's.

Step 4: The Mouth Plate

I wish I taken more pictures during this parts

I deviated from the printed instructions and followed what was shown on the videos for the assembly of the mouth plate. From the video, he allowed a space between the plates of the width of a pencil. what I forgot was when putting the space between the plates, I needed to remove that much material from the plate as not to extend the depth of the plate. I had glued and sewn the bad plate together before I realized it was too big for the mouth hole. Time to backup and redo. Once I get better at sewing, I will reuse the bad head and mouth assembly.

Step 5: The Head and Body

This is another place where I was excited at how it was going together and did not take enough images.

Sew the head as marked on the pattern. Sew the body pieces and attach the head to the body. You can use a needle to pluck the foam out of the edges to help hide the seam

Step 6: Attach the Mouth Plate to the Body and Eyes

Lets start with the eyes. I used the information found in the creature works video. Using two plastic spoons. I cut the handles off and sanded the edge. With hot-glue I created the eyelid and once I had position with the mouth closed I marked the spot for the eye insert. I found these on amazon as teddy bear eyes.

For attaching the head to the mouth plate I used hot-glue and working in small increments. Folding under the lip and glued it the plate. The length I glued in was around 1 to 1 1/2 inches. If you make a mistake and get a little glue showing you can cover it over with a sharpie matching the mouth plate color. I had a few of those.

Step 7: And Here He Is.

This is my little blue guy. I was not am not happy with the way the tongue turned out so I remade itt. All in all it was a fun experience. I will most likely make another one out of a different pattern to see how it turns out.

Thanks for looking.

Step 8: Links: Where I Gathered Information

In addition to the links in the article here are some more

Project Puppet Where the pattern was from

The Creature Works. Has a step by step build video on YouTube.

StiqPuppets has some really good tutorials.

Beyond the Comfort Zone Contest

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    3 years ago

    Very few people clearly explained why their entry was Beyond the Comfort Zone. However, yours did and I voted for it. ...and here at Muppet Laboratories where today is tomorrow yesterday.