Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!


From all of us at Swazzle, Happy New Year! I hope 2007 is fun, productive, and prosperous for all of you.

As a special New Years treat, please enjoy this bonus episode of Frosty's 12 Days of Christmas Podcast.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!


On behalf of Frosty, Steve, and all of us at Swazzle, Merry Christmas. I hope you all have enjoyed my Frosty the Snowman puppet building tutorial. I also hope you have enjoyed Frosty's 12 Days of Christmas Podcast.


It's not too late to send a last minute Christmas e-card to friends and family with Puppet Greetings. They have a selection of Frosty and Steve holiday e-cards to choose from.

Snowman Puppet Part 15


Meet The Snowman!

Check out Episode 12 of The Days of Christmas Podcast.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Snowman Puppet Part 14


The snowman's hands, arms, and fingers are made from bamboo. Bamboo is perfect for a snowman puppet because it's strong, hollow, and has a natural stick look.


Cut the arms to the appropriate length. Thread string through each end so that a couple of inches hang out of either end. Use hot glue to glue the string in place.


Cut the fingers and glue strings inside, make sure a couple inches of string hang out so you can attach the fingers to the arm.


Glue foam and felt around the palm and elbow. Use scissors to poke a hole in the puppet's shoulders. Thread the excess string through the hole and use hot glue to attach the arms inside the body.

Check out Episode 11 of The 12 Days of Christmas Podcast.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Snowman Puppet Part 13


Machine sew a tube from heavy cotton material for the neck sleeve. Make sure the sleeve is wide enough to accommodate the widest part of your arm. Using Barge Cement glue the neck sleeve to the inside of the puppet's head hole.

Check out Episode 10 of The 12 Days of Christmas Podcast.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Snowman Puppet Part 12


Using Barge contact cement glue the puppet's eyes into the sockets.

Check out Episode 9 of The 12 Days of Christmas Podcast.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Snowman Puppet Part 11


Using detail scissors snip a shallow hole in the fake snow, just deep enough to expose the foam. Make sure the hole is large enough to fit the coal eyes, and not any larger.

Check out Episode 8 of The 12 Days of Christmas Podcast.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Snowman Puppet Part 10


The snowman's nose was very simple. I used a fake carrot that I got at the craft store. To attach it, cut a slit in the face with a razor blade. Apply a generous amount of contact cement to the carrot and insert into the hole, then glue fake snow around the base of the carrot.

Check out Episode 7 of The 12 Days of Christmas Podcast.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Snowman Puppet Part 9


The snowman's coal eyes are snipped from foam. Use scissors and snip down until you get the right shape.


Paint the foam with a mixture of liquid latex rubber and latex paint. The latex rubber keeps the paint flexible, and prevents it from cracking.

Check out Episode 6 of The 12 Days of Christmas Podcast.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Snowman Puppet Part 8


Now it's time to fabricate the puppet. I'll be covering the snowman with layers of fake snow. Luckily I was building this puppet during December so fake snow was easy to come by. To adhere the snow, I'm using two spray adhesives, Super 90 and Super 77.


Begin by spraying a liberal about of Super 90 over a small section of the body. Once the glue starts to set up, press the fake snow onto the body. It is best to wear rubber gloves so the glue and snow doesn't stick to your hands.


Once the whole body is covered with a layer of snow, spay a small section with Super 77 and sprinkle on glitter, or shinny snow flakes. Continue until the whole body is covered. Once the body is finished, do the same with the head.

Check out Episode 5 of The 12 Days of Christmas Podcast.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Snowman Puppet Part 7


Mark the puppets mouth with a pen, and cut it carefully with an electric knife.


Use detail scissors to refine the puppet's mouth shape.


Insert the mouth pallet and glue it in place. Check out this tutorial for more about hand grips and mouth pallets. Usually I like to make the mouth pallet red and the tongue pink, but since this is a snowman I thought it would be fun to use purple and blue.

Check out Episode 4 of The 12 Days of Christmas Podcast

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Snowman Puppet Part 6


Using the electric knife cut a hand hole in the puppet's head. Be sure to leave some foam in the top of head to support your hand.

Check out Episode 3 of Frosty's 12 Days of Christmas Podcast.

Check out the snowman's homepage.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Snowman Puppet Part 5


Using the electric knife carve a hole in the top and bottom of the puppets body.


It's important that your puppet be as light as possible. Use the electric knife to carve out the excess foam inside the puppet's body.

Check out Episode 2 of The 12 Days of Christmas Podcast.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Snowman Puppet Part 4


Once the puppet's head shape is roughed out with the electric knife it's time to refine it with scissors. If I wanted the head to be super smooth, I could sand it down with a belt sander. I'm using scissors because I want the final puppet to have a hand made look.

Check out Episode 1 of The 12 Days of Christmas Podcast.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Snowman Puppet Part 3


Just as I did with the body, I'm using an electric knife carve the head. To begin, cut off the corners, then I cut around the top and bottom. Continue to work your way around shaving off the edges until the puppet's head is the desired shape.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Snowman Puppet Part 2


Different puppets call for different building techniques. If I were making a fur and fleece puppet, I would most likely use sheet foam, and the darting method. If I wanted a puppet to be super smooth, I would use prefabricated shapes like I did for the peas, or I would use a ban saw and belt sander like Patrick did for Al the Alien. Because I want this puppet to have a natural and hand made look, I'll be carving him from a block of foam with an electric knife.

Electric knifes can be found at most kitchen or home stores like Bed Bath and Beyond. They usually cost about $25.00 or so.


Begin by cutting off the corners.


Continue to carve the foam down until you get the desired shape.


The body is taking shape.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Frosty the Snowman Part 1


Before I build any puppet, I have to know what I'm going to build. Patrick worked through many different snowman variations before selecting this as the final design.

Frosty the Snowman


From now until Christmas, I’ll be posting behind the scenes photos of Frosty the Snowman. For those of you following the Lady Fromage rod puppet tutorial, I will be picking that up again after Christmas.

Starting Thursday December 14, Frosty will be hosting his own podcast called Frosty’s 12 Days of Christmas. For more information check out his Flickr photo page, Myspace profile, and blog.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Swazzle on The 9


Swazzle was mentioned on Yahoo's online show The 9 on Tuesday December 5. The Swazzle Workshop came in at number 5 in their countdown. Click here to watch, then select Puppet Masters, number 5. You can also vote for us as the favorite in The 9 poll at the bottom of the page.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Swazzle Workshop Episode 4


Check out the latest episode of The Swazzle Workshop. In this months episode Tiger and Mousedeer demonstrate how to make mice finger puppets.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Lady Fromage Rod Puppet, Part 23


Cut off the excess material. This will eventually be your seam, so try and cut as straight a line as possible.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Lady Fromage Rod Puppet, Part 22


Now fabrication of the puppet's head can begin. I will be using Antron Fleece (commonly known as “Muppet Fleece”), to cover the puppet's head.

Begin fabrication by draping your fabric over the puppet's head. Stretch it around to get as much coverage as possible, and pin it in place. Because the head is round, darts will need to be cut to achieve the proper shape. Gather the excess fabric evenly on both sides of the puppet's head.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Lady Fromage Rod Puppet, Part 20


Using batting, stuff the inside of the puppet’s head. This will help keep the gasket rubber and music wire in place. It will also help the puppet’s head keep its shape. Be careful not to over stuff the head, or stuff it unevenly.fromage22

Using batting, stuff the inside of the puppet's head. This will help keep the gasket rubber and music wire in place. It will also help the puppet's head keep its shape. Be careful not to over stuff the head, or stuff it unevenly.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Lady Fromage Rod Puppet, Part 18


Cut a piece of wood dowel that is about half an inch in length. Drill a hole through the center of the dowel that is just wide enough to accommodate the piano wire. Insert the piano wire into the hole. Slide the dowel down until it is flush with the gasket rubber. Glue the dowel in place with hot Glue. The dowel will help keep the piano wire in the puppet's head stable and centered.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Puppet Up, Uncensored Tonight!


Be sure to catch The Jim Henson Company's improv show Puppet Up, Uncensored tonight on TBS at 11:00 pm.

This one hour special was taped during two live performances at the Comedy Festival in Vegas just a week ago. Under the direction of Groundlings alum Patrick Bristow, the puppeteers of the Jim Henson Company perform improv sketches based on audience suggestions. Unlike previous Henson productions, the puppeteers are visible to a live audience, and the television cameras.

Patrick and I have been fortunate enough to participate in this exciting project as it has evolved over the past year and a half. Although we will not be in tonight's show, some puppets we built for the production might - because it's improv there are no guarantees. Keep an eye out for a little gray monster, a red crab, and a shinny turquoise alien.

By the way, this show is not appropriate for children.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Lady Fromage Rod Puppet, Part 17


Using Super 90 spray glue or Barge Cement glue a piece of felt to the top of gasket rubber. This will help keep the piano wire in place.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

New Swazzle Podcast


We have just launched The Swazzle Podcast. We will be posting puppet making videos, episodes of The Swazzle Workshop, behind the scenes videos, and more. If you like what you see, please help support it by clicking on the add at the end of each video. Enjoy!

Swazzle Workshop Photo Album


I've just added a bunch of new photos to my Swazzle Workshop photo album in Flickr. Check it out to see images from previous and upcoming episodes.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Lady Fromage Rod Puppet, Part 16


Feed the piano wire through the hole, and glue it to the gasket rubber using Barge Contact Cement.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

New Swazzle Channel on YouTube

We've just started a Swazzle Channel on YouTube. We will be posting The Swazzle Workshop episodes and other Swazzle videos there, check it out.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Lady Fromage Rod Puppet, Part 15


The rod used to turn the puppet's head will be made from piano wire. Piano wire is a great replacement for coat hanger wire (a common puppet building material with beginning puppeteers), because it is hardened steal and extremely strong. This is the same wire that I use for puppet arm rods, although for the rod puppet, I’m using a ticker gauge.

Measure a couple of inches down from one end of the wire, and make a mark. Using a c-clamp and pliers carefully make a 90 degree bend at the mark.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Lady Fromage Rod Puppet, Part 14


Using a sharp blade or small drill, drill a small hole in the center of round end of the gasket rubber.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Lady Fromage Rod Puppet, Part 13


The puppet's head needs support in order to keep the top jaw form pulling down. To achieve this, I've cut a piece of gasket rubber that will fit snugly inside the puppets head. The narrow end will be pushed all the way to the puppets nose, and the large round end will fit in the puppet's skull.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Puppet Week


This has been a busy puppet filled week for Swazzle. We shot five short puppet videos at the Chiodo Brothers Studio. The first was a special Summer Reading Program pitch featuring the stars of the Swazzle puppet show Rex and Boots Super Sleuths. The other four were new Swazzle Workshop videos which premier the first of every month. Along with the puppet video shoot, we also had some evening puppets shows at two Southern California venues, and today we performed two shows at the No Ho Arts Center.

Next week editing will begin on the video work, and on November 1 the third episode of The Swazzle Workshop will make it's debut. Tune in to see how to make a B.A.R.K. The Robot Dog puppet out of toilet paper tubes.