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Bunsen Honeydew mouth

Discussion in 'Puppet News' started by Melonpool, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. Melonpool

    Melonpool Well-Known Member

    Has anyone ever had any success making a Bunsen Honeydew-type mouth?

    Most of the puppets I've made have been more of the Kermit type mouth palette style that opens and closes, but I was thinking about trying more of the "Slit in foam" type on a few new puppets.

    Anyone know what the mechanics look like?

  2. shtick

    shtick Well-Known Member

    I'd like to know as well
  3. SesameKermie

    SesameKermie Well-Known Member

    Me too. I'd also like to expand that into a tutorial on foam carving heads. IIRC, Bunsen was originally completely carved.
  4. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    I'm pretty sure that Bunsen's head was sculpted (or at least the original puppet's was). You can sculpt heads from a block of foam, then sand them down to get them smooth. A belt sander works best for sanding, but you have to be very careful using it.

    You can also create heads like that by sculpting, casting and molding a head, but that is a complicated process.
  5. practicecactus

    practicecactus Well-Known Member

    I guess you mean how dense the foam is or rather how much is carved out from the inside. Does look like there would only be minimal foam removal inside, maybe very thick all around because of the way the head seems sturdy and doesn't flex.
  6. Melonpool

    Melonpool Well-Known Member

    Actually, what I meant was what the inside looked like. I've tried in the past and the mouths never seemed to work right. I'm pretty used to using "D" shaped pieces of gasket rubber that are gaff taped together for the mouth palette. This creates a mouth similar in construction to Fozzie Bear's.

    But how is Bunsen's mouth palette constructed?

  7. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    Are you patterning the mouth so that it is naturally open or closed?
  8. Melonpool

    Melonpool Well-Known Member

    I haven't started yet. I would think that it should be patterned open (since it's easier to close a mouth than open it). My thought would be that it would have a much larger mouth palette behind the skin of the puppet, but they would be joined at the lips. I don't know if I'm on the tight track or not, though.
  9. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    One more question...how is the head constructed? I'm just trying to picture this in my head.
  10. Melonpool

    Melonpool Well-Known Member

    My plan was to make it out of scott foam then cover it in fleece. It's all very theoretical at this point. Here's the character I want to build:


    My thought would be that her mouth would look better as a Honeydew type of mouth as opposed to the regular Kermit type (to make her more like a girl and human than my regular puppets).
  11. practicecactus

    practicecactus Well-Known Member

    Ah, ok. Yeah, you're right, because the inside of the mouth is black, the opening of the mouth can very well be smaller than what's going on behind it, especially given the fact the opening is small and 'D' shape as you say. The hand grip inside inside could be standard enough [flat mouthplate] and more agape than the lips [so you can squash the lips together] but the sides of the handgrip-mouthplate could be attached to the sides of the head inside considering the furthest part into the mouth wouldn't really move.
    ..if that makes sense.
    You'd just have to measure half the width of the mouthplate-handgrip and remove as much foam accordindgly to the inside of the sculpted head half, glue it to one side, then gluing the other half of the mouthplate-handgrip as you join the two halves of the head together again.
    I mean that's how I'd do it as a sculpted head. For sheet foam it would be slightly different, but same principles I guess.
  12. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    Yeah, my first thought would be to carve this, but either way I would try a smaller mouth plate. Maybe something operated by just the puppeteer's thumb and index and middle fingers. You could also design something wide the in back, but narrow in the front as PracticeCactus suggested.
  13. mothballs

    mothballs New Member

    :confused: Did you finally figure out how the bunsen honeydew mouth is engineered? I've made several models and I think I'm close but I feel like I'm missing something. (I wish I could insert diagrams here)

    It seems like the beauty of the muppets is their highly integrated function and form. And the form usually reveals how the mouth functions. We can see that there are seams at Bunsen Honeydews smile lines. These seams continue down the chin. I wonder if there are also seams in the foam behind it meaning that the chin mouth nose area is a separate triangular wedge. If so, what is the function of that separate wedge? Is it merely a constructional function or is it an operational function? (It must be constructional, no. As the sides of the wedge are firmly anchored to the rest of the head shape, thus closing the corners of the mouth, I'm not sure any additional operational function can be gained by the separate wedge.)

    I believe that the Bunsen Honeydew mouth is a small horizontal slit in the foam that gets stretched into a D shape when the mouth plate is operated. The mouth plate material would therefore need to be strong enough to pull the foam from its horizontal resting state into the D shape. And it would have to be flexible enough to close the D shape to become a closed mouth | shape. I think the key lies in inserting a larger length of material into the foam slit, thereby forcing the foam to stretch. The trick is removing that excess so the mouth closes properly. I've tried everything I can think of with foam, gasket rubber, barge and electrical tape but none of these models seem like they'll hold up very long. I'm clearly missing something in engineering or in materials. Or I could be on a totally wrong track. Please help. If you need a visual aid I can email some diagrams.

    Thank you,
  14. TheCreatureWork

    TheCreatureWork Well-Known Member

  15. charlie bird

    charlie bird Well-Known Member

    theres a pattern on how to make the o shape mouth in the book puppet plannet.If you're still wondering.
    Thank you
  16. mothballs

    mothballs New Member

    :confused: Thanks Creature Work! Nice mouth. And leg! Carving a block of foam was my initial instinct. I actually have an egg shape all sanded and ready to go. But I was looking at it and thought it'd be to dense for movement. I guess that depends on what the mouth plates are made out of. Did you use gasket rubber for that?

    Thanks Charlie Bird,
    I just ordered the book!
  17. charlie bird

    charlie bird Well-Known Member

  18. TheCreatureWork

    TheCreatureWork Well-Known Member

    This Benson carve was from Tough Pigs Visit to the Muppet Whatnot Workshop in New York...it was in one of the displays.
  19. AveQ

    AveQ Active Member

    I would think it would be carved out of a block of Scott Foam as you've said, and as the mouth moves, it would stretch the Scott Foam.
  20. charlie bird

    charlie bird Well-Known Member

    I'ts a realy good book it also covers smoothing carved foam. It has a whole bunch of types of puppets. They call the one I'm refering to as the podium puppet in the book.He uses simple mateirials ,but you can change them esillly to more advanced mateirials.I hope you like it.

    I also know that the puppet that was posted was carved ,but I thaughte this looked pretty simular to those rusults and I thuaght It would help
    thank you

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