File puptcrit/puptcrit.0811, message 368


To: <puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org>
Date: Sat, 22 Nov 2008 01:20:57 -0500
Subject: [Puptcrit] TIP: Super Fast Puppet Heads


Hi all.
I am working on a parrot puppet during the eveneings.
The building has to be done before Wednesday next week.

My parrot's lower jaw was suddenly no longer fitting my upper, because I 
changed the entrance of the puppeteer's hand for manipulating the head 
(original gap behind the head, now where the neck should be).
But the fitting was no longer working, there were great empty gaps on the 
sides when the mouth was open.

So I had to build a new lower jaw, very quickly.
I chose aluminum foil. I usually make small items like horns or teeth out of 
it, but this time I went a bit more ambitious.  I wrapped a big ball of 
aluminum foil around my thumb, and started shaping while compacting.
I added pieces to the sides, held together with masking tape.
The foil shape has to be compacted enough to keep its shape under slightly 
harsher than normal conditions.  I often use a hammer to super compact my 
foil, but for this, a simple hand squish is more than strong enough. When 
the shape fit the puppet in movement, I taped it with masking tape to have a 
stable form. Now I'm ready to add paper mache strips on top.  For this, I 
use coffee filters and carpenter's glue (exterior grade).   The foil stays 
inside as part of the structure. It provides me with amazing ergonomic 
fitting!
The finished product will have paper mache go into the finger hole, so that 
the whole form is protected, inside and out, by paper mache. No peeling 
thanks to this.
The paper mache should not come into repeated contact with sweat.
So as a test, I just made a removable thumb cover by placing two sheets of 
foil over my thumb, and squishing it to make a tube. Then I push my thumb 
into the puppet, remove thumb while leaving the sleeve inside the puppet. 
This sleeve can be probably be removed for cleaning.

The lower jaw is now free to move in all directions, as expressive as my 
thumb can be.
Sideways smiles and underbite action too!
Pics coming soon.

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