Sunday, April 30, 2006

Puppet Building Tutorial: The Peas


Building puppets with prefabricated foam shapes can simplify the puppet building process. This tutorial will give you detailed instructions on how I built the peas for Puppet with store bought foam balls. Click on the links below to read each step.

Part 1: The Head
Step 1, Foam Balls
Step 2, Dying Foam

Part 2: The Mouth
Step 1, Marking the Mouth
Step 2, Cutting the Mouth

Part 3: The Hand Hole
Step 1, Marking the Hole
Step 2, Cutting the Hole

Part 4: The Mouth (Part 2)
Step 1, Carving out the Mouth

Part 5: The Eyes
Step 1, Wire and Beads
Step 2, Marking the Eyes
Step 3, Threading the Wire
Step 4, Securing the Eyes
Step 5, Finishing the Eyes

Part 6: The Mouth
Step 1, The Tongue and Pallet
Step 2, Gluing the Mouth

See the peas in action at Puppet There are many different cards to choose from: Mothers Day, Anniversary, Birthday, Belated Birthday, Easter, and More.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Meet the Hamster


This has bee a very productive week for us. The hamster is the latest puppet to be finished for the Swazzle puppet show B.A.R.K. The Robot Dog. Patrick built and designed him.

Meet Lady Fromage



Lady Fromage is the newest puppet to join the cast of the Swazzle puppet show Rex and Boots Super Sleuths. She is a very small rod puppet with a simple head and mouth mechanism.

Friday Fun, Fox's Naked TV Part 2


This is Roxy, another puppet I built for the 2005 production of Naked TV. She was based on a two demential animated character from the 2004 production. Puppeteer Victoria Lee Johnson voiced and performed Roxy in both taped and live segments. Naked TV is evening of One-Act plays that serve as television show pilots, presented by Naked Angels and Fox Broadcasting Company.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Meet Bad B.A.R.K.


Patrick just finished Bad B.A.R.K. He is a large rod puppet, and the latest to be completed for Swazzle's new puppet show B.A.R.K. The Robot Dog.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Sock Puppet Contest


Project (see previous post) has just announced a very exciting puppet building competition, Sock Search! Builders from around the globe will enter photos of their puppets built from The Glorified Sock Puppet Pattern, and compete for the grand prize - The Forma Trio or $150.00 USD credit with Project Puppet. The entry deadline is May 28, 2006 so you had better get building!

Monday, April 24, 2006

PEAhind the Scenes, Part 14


The foam mouth pallet is glued into place with contact cement, and the pea puppet is finished.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Butler


This is the ferret butler for our new puppet show Rex and Boots Super Sleuths. I documented the whole building process, and I will be posting the images at some point.


The left image is the puppet design that Patrick drew, and the right image is the finished puppet.

Friday Fun, Fox's Naked TV


This is Shakespeare, a puppet I built based on Patrick's design for the 2005 production of Naked TV. Presented by Naked Angels and Fox Broadcasting Company, Naked TV is evening of One-Act plays that serve as television show pilots. Shakespeare was one of three puppet hosts that tied the plays together with both live and taped segments.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

PEAhind the Scenes, Part 13




Since the peas are green, I'm making the tongue out of light green felt instead of pink, and the throat out of dark green felt instead of black. The mouth pallet is made from dyed scott foam.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Friday Fun, Alien Short Film


These are some stills from a cool puppet short film. Patrick made the puppets and directed the piece. The short was made while he was involved in Group 101, where film makers make six shorts in six months. We'll be posting the film online in the near future, so stay tuned. In the mean time check out The Magic Meadow, The Mystery of Cobblestone Way, and Door to My Heart on YouTube.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

PEAhind the Scenes, Part 11


Slide the second bead onto the other side of the armature wire so that it is snug against the foam. Trim off most of the excess wire, leaving less that a half an inch. Fold the leftover wire over, to keep the second bead in place.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

PEAhind the Scenes, Part 10


Push the armature wire into the foam at the first marker. Carefully feed it through until it comes out at the second marker. It's not necessary, but you might want to get both holes started with an exacto knife. Pull the wire through until the first bead is snug against the foam.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Meet Rivet the Pug


Meet Rivet the pug. He was completed today, and is the newest puppet to join the cast of the Swazzle puppet show, B.A.R.K. The Robot Dog. I documented the whole building process, and I will be posting the images in the near future.

PEAhind the Scenes, Part 9


Use pins to mark the placement of the puppets eyes.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Friday Fun, Puppet Heap



Puppet Heap is puppet building company founded by Emmy nominated designer Paul Andrejco. They have built puppets for Nick Jr., Sesame Workshop, Disney Channel, and The Jim Henson Company. Some of their projects include, Bear in the Big Blue House, Jim Henson's The Animal Show, and Elmo's World.

Through my involvement with Jim Henson's Puppet Improv, I've had the opportunity to use the vulture and the armadillo (pictured above), which were originally constructed for Jim Henson's The Animal Show. After working with those characters, I can say from first hand experience that Puppet Heap's puppets are well designed, and expertly crafted. Additionally, they are built with the puppeteer in mind, and allow for some beautiful manipulation possibilities.

To learn more about Puppet Heap check out their web site, There you will find a full gallery of puppets, a demo reel, behind the scenes photos and more.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

PEAhind the Scenes, Part 8


To make the pea's eyes I'm going to use beads and some armature wire - A thin steal rod can be used instead of armature wire, but it won't allow for much flexibility in the eye position once they are attached to the head.

1) Using wire cutters, cut a piece of armature wire that is a couple of inches in length.

2) Fold over one end to make it just large enough to keep the bead from slipping off.


3) Slide one bead to the end of the wire.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

PEAhind the Scenes, Part 7


Use an exacto to cut out foam from the puppets head. Leave about a half an inch of foam at the puppets mouth so it will have stability and hold it's shape. Make sure to leave enough material in the head so that your hand will fit comfortably and have some support.

Monday, April 03, 2006

PEAhind the Scenes, Part 6



Use an exacto blade to cut a hand hole. Cut down until you meet the mouth cut you've already made.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

PEAhind the Scenes, Part 5


Using a Sharpie to mark the hand hole. Make sure the hole is a perfect circle and it's centered on the underside of the puppet.