Tuesday, January 31, 2006

B.A.R.K. Production Journal: Puppet Ears and Tongue, Step 3



Use foam to apply a thin layer of Barge Cement along the outer edge of the puppet's ears and tongue. Once the glue dries, this usually takes about 30 to 60 seconds, pinch the sides together. This creates a nice round edge.

Monday, January 30, 2006

B.A.R.K. Production Journal: Puppet Ears and Tongue, Step 2



Using the pattern as a guide cut out fabric for the puppet's ears and tongue. For the back of the ears I'm using the same terry cloth that I fabricated the head with. I'm cutting the shape about a half an inch larger then the pattern so I'll have enough fabric to wrap around the ear.



The inside of the puppet's ear and the tongue will be covered in Antron Fleece, also known as Muppet Fleece. The fleece has been dyed pink with Rit Dye.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Exacto Blades and Cooking Oil


As many of you know I always use Exacto blades to cut foam. I've noticed that this dulls the blade quickly, and I find myself changing blades often. Andrew Young of the blog Puppet Vision passed on this handy tip: if you lubricate your blade with just a tiny bit of regular cooking oil before cutting foam, it will take three or four times as long for the blade to get dull.

Thanks for the tip Andrew!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

B.A.R.K. Production Journal: Puppet Ears and Tongue, Step 1

Now it is time for me to make the puppet's ears and tongue - I'm going to be making them at the same time. Just as with every other part of the puppet, I begin by drawing the desired shape on a piece of butcher paper. The pattern is cut out and traced onto a sheet of foam, and then it is cut out with an exacto blade.



Friday, January 27, 2006

Friday Fun: Swazzle's Puppet Greetings Shoot


Today we shot our Hazel and the Dragon Valentine's Day Puppet Greeting at the Chiodo Brothers Studio in Burbank CA. In this photo Anita performs Hazel, Patrick performs Filbert, (behind a pile of gifts) and Victoria assists.

A Nice Note

I wanted to share this nice note I received from a young puppeteer living in Michigan:

I must say that your sites have been very helpful for me in the past and will be in the future with my Puppetry Club that I started at my High-School (we have 6000 kids) and I have 23 members coming every week, building and performing their own Puppets (all kinds and their choice) Cool huh? We're also going to have our BIG premier show in May - I'm also building a donkey head for a school production of A Mid-Summer Night's Dream - and the head is going to be performed like Chewbacca's in Star Wars

I'm going to have to Thank You and the SFBAPG for shaping my life and knowledge in the Art of Puppetry! Thanks!


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

B.A.R.K. Production Journal: Puppet Nose, Step 3


Find the proper placement for the puppet's nose and pin it in place. Next use a pen to mark it's placement. Be careful not to get any ink on the nose, or any area of the muzzle that will not be covered up by the nose.

Monday, January 23, 2006

B.A.R.K. Production Journal: Puppet Nose, Step 2


Apply a thin layer of Barge Cement all around the edge of the puppet's nose. Once the glue dries (this usually takes about a minute or so) pinch the sides. Work your way around until all edges are round and have a nice finished look.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

B.A.R.K. Production Journal: Puppet Nose, Step 1


With the eyes in place it's time to move on to the puppet's nose.

1) Using Ritt Dye, dye a piece of half inch scott foam.

2) While that is drying draw the nose pattern on a piece of butcher paper and cut it out.

3) Trace the nose onto the dyed foam.

4) Using a sharp exacto knife cut the nose out.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Friday Fun: Jennings Rabbit Puppet


This cool rabbit puppet was created by puppeteer and puppet builder Lynn Jennings based on the art of work of author / illustrator Gerald McDermott.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

B.A.R.K. Production Journal: Puppet Eyes, Step 4


Carefully insert the ping pong ball eyes into the eye holes you cut in the puppet's head. Make sure they are even and one is not sticking out further than the other one - unless that is the desired effect. I will not be painting the eyeballs yet, I save that step for the very end. By painting them last, I can make sure the placement, color and focus is just right.


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

B.A.R.K. Production Journal: Puppet Eyes, Step 3



Using a scrap of foam apply a layer of Barge Cement to one half of the puppets eye and the inside of the eye socket. Make sure you don't get any Barge on the part of the eye that will be visible.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Friday Fun: Puppet Quilt



This quilt was created by the guilds and members of the Puppeteers of America Pacific Southwest Region. It was auctioned as a scholarship fund fundraiser during the regional festival in Arizona in 2004. The squares feature a variety of puppets including, shadow puppets, finger puppets, hand puppets, and rod puppets. The quilt also has squares representing each of the guilds in the region.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

B.A.R.K. Production Journal: Puppet Eyes, Step 2


Using a sharp exacto blade, cut out the eye holes. Please note that this step if very permanent, once the holes are cut, they are difficult to patch up. If you think that your puppets eyes should be removable, or replaceable, like the anything Muppets from Sesame Street, don't cut eye holes. Instead attach your eyes with double stick tape, Velcro, or pins. My puppets need to withstand up to three shows a day, so I use the most secure way to attach the eyes.


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

B.A.R.K. Production Journal: Puppet Eyes


Now it's time to give my cat puppet eyes. Puppet eyes can be made out of a variety of materials depending on the look you are going for. As I mentioned in a few previous posts, puppet eyes can be made from plastic spoons, ping pong balls, practice golf balls, beads, or plasticjewelss. For this puppet IÂ'll be using ping pong balls.

Before I cut holes for the puppets eyes, I need to find the proper placement. To find the right position cut out some paper pattern, and move them around until it looks good. Once you've found the proper spot pin the paper down and mark the eye hole with a pen.

Monday, January 09, 2006

B.A.R.K. Production Journal: Craft Fur

The hair for this cat puppet's head is made from a wonderful craft fur. I like it because it's long, colorful, and has a great texture. I have been able to find this fur in three colors blue, cream and orange. A while back I used the cream for the cheeks of Tiger from Tiger and Mousedeer. Fur like this can't be found at your run of the mill fabric store - I bought this at Michael Levine, a huge fabric store located in Los Angeles's Fashion District. When selecting fur for your project don't settle for the cheep stuff, look for something with a unique color or texture.


Using a razor blade (see previous post) cut the fur out and sew it to the top of the head.


Sunday, January 08, 2006

Puppet Building Tutorial: Arm Rods


Click on the links below to read each step.

Step 1: Piano Wire

Step 2: The Grip

Step 3: Tool Dip

Step 4: Attaching the Rod

B.A.R.K. Production Journal: Puppet Head Fabrication, Step 8


Using the stitch I've detailed in a previous post, sew up the cuts.


Sometimes it is necessary to use small patches to fill in blank spots. If this occurs, it is really easy to remedy.

1) Cut out a patch of material just big enough to cover the hole.

2) Pin the material in place.

3) Stitch it up.


Saturday, January 07, 2006

B.A.R.K. Production Journal: Puppet Head Fabrication, Step 7




Cut off all of the excess material. It is important that you make a nice clean cut because that will make it easier to sew in the next step. You will notice in one picture that the word "new" new written on the handle of the scissors - tha's to remind me that those are for fabric only. Using scissors to cut card board, foam core, or foam can dull them. If you can't tell by the orange handle, my preferred brand of scissors is Fiskars.


Next I'll sew up the cuts.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Friday Fun


This cute little stuffed figure was made by Nick Barone, a very talented puppet builder and puppeteer. I won him at a raffel at the Pacific Southwest Regional Puppeteer's Festival a few years back.

B.A.R.K. Production Journal: Puppet Head Fabrication, Step 6

Whenever I am fabricating the face of a puppet, I try to keep most of the seams on the back of the head. Using the stitch I discussed before is a great way to hide seams, but keeping them out of sight is even better.

1) Stretch the fabric across the face and around the back. It is important to get as much coverage from a single piece of fabric as possible to limit the number of seams.

2) Gather the excess fabric along your intended seam lines. In this case the excess fabric has been gathered along the back of the head and back of the cheeks. I've gathered the fabric so that it follows the contours of the head, this will help keep the seams out of sight. Another way to hide seams is to gather the extra fabric in a part of the head that will be covered up by hair, feathers, or a costume. Miss Piggy is a good example of this, her neck is not connected to the body, and this is cleverly disguised by her trade mark pearl necklace.


3) Pin the fabric in place. I've put pins all around the top of the head, because I'll be sewing on a piece of craft fur for the puppets head.

B.A.R.K. Production Journal: Puppet Head Fabrication, Step 5


Stretch the terry cloth over the puppets head. Using a thin layer of barge cement glue the fabric to the foam in just a few key places. In my case I'm tacking it down around the muzzle. By doing this I can keep it from slipping.


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

B.A.R.K. Production Journal: Puppet Head Fabrication, Step 4


Using the same stitch that I outlined in detail in a previous post, I've sewn the white muzzle material to the orange material of the puppets head.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

B.A.R.K. Production Journal: Puppet Head Fabrication, Step 3


Now that the orange fabric is pinned in place it's time to cut the muzzle out. Cut as carefully as possible to give yourself a nice clean edge to work with.


For those of you just tuning in to this on going puppet building project, click here to see where it all began. Once the puppet is done, I'll be posting a complete project overview. I'll provide links to every step of the building process in order from start to finish. I will also be adding that to the links section of the blog for easy reference. For now, we've still got a ways to go so stay tuned.

As always if you have a specific question or need more clarification please leave a comment, or drop me an email, sean@swazzle.com

Monday, January 02, 2006

B.A.R.K. Production Journal: Puppet Head Fabrication, Step 2


Happy New Year! I hope you all had a great New Year's celebration, and got 2006 off to a good start. Now the party is over over, and it's back to the work shop.

For the fabrication of the puppet's head I'll be adapting many of the same techniques I introduced in earlier posts.

1) Like the bottom and top jaw, stretch the material over the foam structure.

2) Pin the material down all around the muzzle.