File puptcrit/puptcrit.0801, message 112


To: <puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org>
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2008 15:56:31 -0500
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Audrey II puppets


Hi trish.
I got this neat re-inforcing trick from Noreen Young's puppetbuilding video.
It could be adapted to other materials than sheet foam.

When making a patterned sheet foam shape and are in need of supplemental 
structural support at an opening, add a form of wire along the rim. Just 
brush or spray some contact cement on the edge of the foam, let cure until 
tacky, place the wire form over the edge, and pinch the edges together. It 
makes a smooth rounded edge when done properly, even better if the adhesive 
does not become stiff when cured.
I personally would have a tendency to add a few strips of fabric over it for 
extra strenght.
The choice of wire (gauge and stiffness and rebound) influences the result. 
Avoid copper. I tried with galvanised steel, and it was good and strong. I 
also had success with "grounding wire", which I separated from a larger 
electrical cable, found in abundance in the dumpster of a cable company's 
headquarter.
It behaves much more like heavy aluminum armature wire than galvanised 
steel.

I also worked as a performer in a mascot  a few times. It was built out of 
patterned foam, and to support its HUGE wide fat body shape, it had a giant 
rim at its mid bellly (inside), which was simply a metal strap, the kind 
they use to tie large shipment of boxes or piles of flat stuff onto wooden 
crates. Some of these straps have more memory than others. One should be 
VERY careful when cutting it with proper cutters, making sure one wears 
protective eyewear (impact). The strap should be dulled down with sandpaper 
and perhaps steelwool (kind of sharp edges could tear throuh foam), and it 
wouldn't be superfluous to place it in a sleeve before attaching to a puppet 
or costume. Some people save time for this by using duct tape instead, but 
as with any tape I've tried so far, it has its own limited lifespan, becomes 
gummy, and depending on where it is in the costume, the sticky could cause a 
problem, for comfort if not also for structural integrity.



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