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Connecting foam jaws

Discussion in 'Puppet Building and Performing' started by jediX, Nov 30, 2003.

  1. jediX

    jediX Well-Known Member

    I've built the top and bottom jaws of my character of foam and am in need of advice for how to connect them. Any ideas?
  2. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    You should attach them to the mouthplate. That is what usually holds the upper and lower jaws together.
  3. ToastCrumbs

    ToastCrumbs Active Member

    If what you're wishing for is a puppet with a soft or scott foam mouth plate, here's a little tip. Start off with sheet foam that is 3/8 or 1/2 inches thick. Most builders are use to having two parts, an upper and lower jaw taped together to create a hinge. Foam mouth plates don't for the most part have a hinge like a gasket rubber or wooden mouth.
    What you want to do is combine both top and bottom to make one. Once you figure what you want the shape to be, trace the entire mouth plate as one piece and cut it out with a razor blade. The weight alone from your puppets head should be enough to close the mouth, it will break in a little with some use. This just gets glued into your head with some contact cement (not hot glue).
    Use a small chunk of foam to apply the glue all the way around the edge of your mouthplate ( go easy on this stuff you don't need globs of it, in fact you should just barely see the glue). Sit it down to dry for a couple of minutes. You should have tried out where you want the mouth to go before glueing it into the head.
    Now the inside of your puppet head will also get a line of glue that matches where your mouth will fit in. Both pieces should just be slightly tacky, not wet before they get placed together. Five or eight minutes should be fine. It takes some skill to do this, don't rush putting in the mouth all at once. Line up the front and bottom and press them ever so slighty together, now slowly work the rest of it into place.

    Here are two examples of Muppets that have foam mouth plates.

    Crazy Harry (soft foam)
    Clifford (scott foam)

    I believe I'm pretty safe in sayin' that for the most part only Muppets that have carved soft foam heads or patterned soft foam heads and bodies like pigs, cows, and horses on Sesame Street have soft or scott foam mouths. The weight of the puppets head or body is an important factor in the construction of the mouth plate and what it can take.


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