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Making a stop motion felt puppet

March 4, 2018

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Puppet fabrication

May 2, 2016

Making eyes

 

The eyes were made of 10 mm wooden beans. I filled the hole with Epoxy putty but not completely. I used a rounded head pin to make a socket for the iris and pocked it from the other side to make a small hole to place the eyes on a pin while painting them.

 

 

 

 

The beans were painted with several thin layers of white acrylic paint. I printed a picture of an iris on a sticker, about 4 mm diameter and placed it in the iris socket. Then I dripped a small drop of clear epoxy on it. It has to cover the iris and create a small bump. You have to mix the two parts of epoxy really gently and slowly or you'll get bubbles in it. Once it cured I painted it with two layers of nail polish. 

 

 

 

Making puppet teeth

 

I don't know if this is the right method for making teeth but it worked for me. The teeth are so tiny that you actually need to work with some kind of magnifying glass and a lot of direct light on it. I made the upper teeth and the lower teeth separately. 

First I made a kind of shell inside the moth so the teeth will have something to hold on to while I'm making them. I used an air drying clay called Das, applied a thin layer of this stuff inside the mouth and covered it from the inside. I let it dry for about an hour or two. 

On top of it I sculpted the teeth in their place from Super Scalpy. If the Scalpey doesn't sticks well to the Das you can apply some Vaseline between the two materials.

When I finished scalping the teeth (it can take a while because it's so tiny– I used a needle pin to shape it) I carefully pulled it all out from the mouth and backed it in a toaster oven for 2 minutes in the lowest temperature. Then let it cool and removed the Das layer. Then backed only the teeth for about 2 more minutes until it became hard.

In order to attach the teeth to the silicone mouth I took a thin strip of cotton fibers (you can also use some thin wool), applied a layer of super glue and attached it to the teeth from behind. When it dried I cut it around the teeth. 

I made some Jell 00 silicone and added a little red color to it – same color as the mouth. Then I applied it inside the mouth where the teeth needs to be and attached the teeth to it. Then let it cure and the teeth were done.

 

 

Making puppet cloths

 

To make cloths for small scale you need to use really thin fabrics with gentle textures. Also you want them to move naturally as possible in animation and not to look stiff, that's why you need fabrics that contain some Lycra or Nylon. It's not always easy to find these fabrics in the right color or print. Sometimes you can find them in underwear stores. Many kinds of underwear have very small prints that can work for miniature dresses or pajamas, and socks can become sweaters or coats.

It was a bit challenging to find a fabric for Lili's jeans dress that won't look too thick. Finally it was made from an old jeans blouse. Her scarf was made from a thin nylon sock.

To make the cloths I do the cuts, try them on the puppet and then glue or sew the pieces together. It's faster to glue them and you can't see any stitches (unless you want to see them, like the yellow stitches on the jeans dress). I use fabric glue, which is softer than other kinds of glue, but still it becomes too stiff sometimes. Sewing takes longer but it's easier to brake it apart if it doesn't come out well.

 

 

 

Making the hair

 

The hair was made of linen fibers, painted with fabric paint that comes in powder. I added it to some boiling water, mixed it and put the linen inside it. The longer you leave it there the darker the color will be. Then I washed and dried it and separated it to a lot of small pieces.

 

 

 

Because of the replacement heads I wanted to make a wig that I could move from head to head, so I couldn't root the hair to the head. I made a shell for the wig out of nylon socket that was starched on the head (first I covered the head with plastic wrap) painted a border line to mark the boundaries of the wig and covered it all with a thick layer of fabric glue.

 

 

When it dried it became stiffer and I cut it around the border line. Then I covered the head with plastic wrap again, placed the shell on the head and started to glue hair to it. I began from the back, adding layers until all the head was covered with hair. You should pay attention to the front of the wig and glue it there by the direction of hair growth. Finally I bushed it with a dense comb.

 

 

 

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