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building a foam body

Discussion in 'Puppet News' started by BryanS, Jan 3, 2003.

  1. BryanS

    BryanS New Member

    Does any one know how to build a foam puppet body? or know where i can find some type of pattern to go by to make a foam body like the shape of kermit the frogs body. I have tried everything i know to get the body i am making to look olive shaped but it all turns out wrong every time. If someone could help I welcome all suggestions. I have contact cement and a good 3/4" foam all I need is some type of pattern to follow to make it come out the right shape I have tried everything! I need Help.
  2. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member


    You can try going to a furniture factory or restoring shop and see if they have blocks of foam you can purchase to make the body from, otherwise at the material stores (like Hancock's Fabrics) they have cushions which you can carve out, too.

    You can carve it with scissors, depending on its textures sometimes with an electric knife.

  3. BryanS

    BryanS New Member

    Hi foz,
    I think ya might have misunderstood my post. Or I might be misunderstanding yours.
    I have a very big piece of 3/4" thick sheet foam I bought. And I am trying to make a puppet body from that. The catch is, it has to be 4 individual pieces glued together to make a round olive shaped body like Kermit the frogs body is. But each one of those 4 pieces has to be the right pattern so when glued together it should form the right body shape. Know what I mean?

    I can't get the pattern right on those 4 pieces, to make it come out the right shape. I need some type of pattern to go by or something.

    it should be shaped something like this all the way around.
    -------------> ( )
  4. fragglerockr

    fragglerockr Member


    Bryan- Go get 'The Foam Book' by Greyseal Puppets. It shows a diagram of how to create an olive shaped body. All you would have to do is enlarge it to the size you need and create your pattern on scrap paper. Then carefully trace it onto your 3/4" foam and cut it out. I could show you what I mean but I'd have to draw it out for you or show you the book. Alas, Ihave no scanner.

    Once you glue the darts together it should come out in the shape you want. Also for stability, David Pannabecker from Arms Length Productions suggest, that you take a sharp razor blade, and at a 45 degree angle, cut the top and bottom edges of the foam off. Then, you take 2 small plastic hoops (one the size of the neck and one the size of the bottom of the puppet) and glue them inside the inner edge of the foam with the contact cement. Then you gently fold the the edges of the foam over to cover the hoops. This helps to hold the shape so the foam body of the puppet stays round.

  5. fragglerockr

    fragglerockr Member


    Actually you don't make it from seperate sheets of foam allthough I suppose there is a way to do it that way. The way I'm speaking of is to cut darts into the top and bottom of the foam so that when you glue it together it forms a cyclinder that has slight curves at the top and bottom to create the shape you want. Hopefully that makes more sense.

  6. BryanS

    BryanS New Member


    Thats what I was just going to ask you. That does make more sence. I have been thinking of ordering the foam book.

    what I have been using as a pattern. is I found a pic of Kermit the frog from a side position. someone was holding him on what looked to be a broom handel. and I blew this picture up real big about the size of a whole sheet of paper and cut it out. then I cut that pattern in half and figured out my measurements of how big the top should be inside and out. because it is 3/4" foam and i done the same for the bottom and i made a measurement of how long, to make it too. then i got a big poster board type paper and marked all those measuerments on that. then i put the pattern i cut in half up to those measurements and made the out line on there. then fliped it the oposite side and done the same there. so that made half of one half side. then i did the same to the other side to make one Whole side ( .......... Then I cut 4 pieces and glued them together it made a good shape BUT IT PUCKERED AND WAS NOT ROUND it was more square than round where i rounded the edges on the patterns.
  7. fragglerockr

    fragglerockr Member


    Here's what I mean..lay your sheet of foam flat. Determine how wide the body will be and big around you need to make the cylinder. Once you do that...then draw curved triangle shapes (the darts) on the top and bottom of the sheet of foam. This will determine the shape. Once you have those drawn and cut out glue the cylinder together. Then dab glue on the foam and careful close up the darts making sure the foam does not bunch or pucker. (This has to be done with a really light touch other wise the foam will bunch or gather.) Then once you have all the darts sealed up you should come up with the right shape.

    Sorry- I know it would be much easier to explain with pics....

  8. BryanS

    BryanS New Member

    Here are my measurements:

    the top opening to the outside should be 14 1/2" wide
    the bottom opening to the outside should be 17 " wide
    that is how big around it should be total.

    and the length is 10 1/2" long the puppet head is about 7 or 7 1/2 " long so the total length of the puppet would be about 17 1/2 to 18" tall. does that sound about right. this puppet wont have any leggs.

    also taking inconsideration of the foam being 3/4 " thick
    to the inside at the top would be 11 1/2" around
    to the inside at the bottom would be 14" around
  9. fragglerockr

    fragglerockr Member


    That sounds great. Sounds like you got a better grasp on it than you let on. Make sure when you finish up you take plenty of pictures? Btw, are you making a replica of Kermit or is it a custom creation? Just curious.

    Good luck,

  10. ToasterBoy

    ToasterBoy Active Member

    An easy way to think about it is to think of a map of the whole world. You know thos funky maps that aren't perfectly square? If you were to cut out one of those maps and tape the edges together, it becomes a globe shape. That help at all?

    Oh and get the foam book. It's worth the $20 from amazon.com

  11. BryanS

    BryanS New Member

    That gives me a pretty good mental picture as to what my pattern should look like when its flat thanks
  12. fragglerockr

    fragglerockr Member


    That's it exactly! Thank you for the illustration....I was trying to figure a way to give him an mental image. That was perfect.

  13. BryanS

    BryanS New Member

    if im correct im going to measure out 4 pieces 1/4" of what the total roundness of the top is suppose to be and measure 1/4" of what the bottom is suppose to be.
    Like this -------> ( )( )( )( ) i think i understand that these are not suppose to be 4 seperate pieces just darts at the top and bottom. am i correct ? its kinda hard to explain what im thinking but i beleive i know what u are talking about. these pieces would be 1/4 of the whole roundness when measured out. if i wanted it to be 14 1/2 around at the top. after the darts are cut it would be 14 1/2" when glued together is that right?

    Sorry for all the confusion I am new to the world of making foam puppet bodies.LOL its fun though.
  14. ToasterBoy

    ToasterBoy Active Member


    You got it. That's it. Personally I did not get the whole 'darts' thing. I did my body for my dog puppet just as a piece of 1" foam in a circle with darts at the top to make the shoulder area. I suppose you could do the same at the bottom to round it off, but I did not.

    Anyway, you're on the right track!


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