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Dire Straights!

Discussion in 'Puppet News' started by Meep, Nov 10, 2003.

  1. Meep

    Meep New Member

    I just signed up, hi everyone : )

    I'm a design student at a local college. My group and I have a HUGELY weighted assignment- to choose a designed item, and trace it's materials through history. I also have to re-create an object that relates to my chosen object.

    What on earth does this have to do with the puppet forum?

    Guess what we chose for our 'object'?
    Kermit!
    And so I must MUST MUST simply must find out what he is made out of. The kind of foam, what his eyes are made of, ect. Then I can trace those materials back. But I have found nothing : ( So I turn to you for help!

    Also, I have chosen the incredibly adorable and always articulate Beaker to do my 'reproduction.' basically, I need to create, as closely as possible to the original, a Beaker puppet! Hehehee I'm so excited : )

    SOooo I also need some tips for creating Beaker. I have checked over the site, and if what I have gathered is correct, there is a specific kind of 'foam' I could use, perhaps a Foam King shop would have what I need? I am from Canada, so US stores are no good, also ordering over the net isn't a viable option for me. : (
    I saw somewhere that someone suggested using ping pong balls for the eyes, cut in half, so I'll likely use that excellent tip for the eyes. Areas I'm desperately in need of help in are the foam (what kind, where to get it), Beaker's wild (and somewhat longish) hair, and what to line the inside of his mouth with.

    any advice would be very appreciated!!
    thanx!


    -Meep! :eek:
  2. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Active Member

    Not sure what part of Canada you're in, but if you are anywhere near Toronto here are some places to get what you need:

    Not sure ~exactly~ which foam beaker is made from, but I believe the foam the Muppets are made from has to be special ordered and is extremely expensive. Most professional builders use reticulated foam which can be purchased from Engineered Foam in Concord Ontario (just north of Toronto). I'd suggest ordering 3/4" thick 20 PPI Yellow foam. One sheet is $45 or so BUT they have a $250 minimum order. Their number is (905) 695 - 0640 or you can email them at engfoam@vitacanada.ca

    You can get similar foam in very small sheets from any Canadian Tire. They are sold as filters for dehumifiers or air conditioners I believe. It's not as good, but it will work. You could also just use a sheet of regular polyfoam (closed cell polyurethane foam) which can be purchased at a Fabricland or almost any camping supply store.

    As for the fur I think it is virtually impossible to get any shag (long) orange fur in Canada. I have been looking for years (If you find a source, please let me know). The little I have came from a friend in Europe. Your best bet would be to contact MacFab in Toronto and see if they can special order some for you. Be warned that this usually takes 4 - 8 weeks. I don't have MacFab's number handy, but they are listed in the Toronto Yellow Pages.

    Beaker and Kermit's "skin" are both of couse made from antron fleece. That can be purchased from Georgia Stage. Email Kathy c/o info@gastage.com

    I have no idea what the mouths are. I tend to use felt or a stretch fabric (non-shiny) for puppet mouths.

    I hope that helps!
  3. FISH'N'WOLFE

    FISH'N'WOLFE New Member

    Hey there Meep!
    Kermit is made out of Antron fleece, his body Antron wrapped foam. His eyes are a halved ping pong ball as have been previously mentioned. The mouth is leather covered with felt, (same goes for Beaker) it's used due to durability and flexibility. (I was lucky enough to go to the house/studio of a actual Sesame Street puppeteer and see to an extent how the puppets are made.) Beaker is sculpted polyfoam covered with Antron. (Antron fleece comes as white only and then dyed.) His eyes are created using a vacuum form, since they are too big for ping pongs. Well I hope this helps... Also go to this site http://www.sagecraft.com/puppetry/building/

    Sincerely, FISH'N'WOLFE Productions
    "Your friendly neighborhood puppet production company" :)
  4. Puppetplanet

    Puppetplanet Member

    For the fur hair.....



    I don't know if there is a Walmart in Canada, but they currently have these really cool long shag rugs available in white for only $10 that I'm sure could be dyed the color you need. If not a Walmart, then try any store that sells decor items for bathrooms and kids bedrooms and use a white shag rug.

    Hope that helps. =)
  5. Meep

    Meep New Member

    Thanx!

    Thanx guys!! I don't know what I would have done without you. :flirt: I'm meeting with my project group today and I'll pass along the valuable info (we each have to make our own puppet : )

    I don't think my finished puppet is going to be as groovy as ya'lls, but when it's done I will definately post a pic of it here : )

    thanks again for the info!

    -Meep! :eek:
  6. Whatever

    Whatever Active Member

    People in Canada say "ya'll"?!!
  7. Meep

    Meep New Member

    Lol!

    GEEEEZ! Just cause I say it doesn't mean we ALL say it! And actually I rarely ever do say ya'll. Only when the mood strikes me. Same for 'groovy' 'dude' 'meh' and a bunch of others. I believe in a diverse vocabulary ; )

    What we DO all say is, of course, Eh. Which if you think about it, is a beautifully shorted form of the word 'Hey'. If you listen to us, we use it interchangably with 'hey'. : ) And don't you tease me now!


    Meep! :eek:
  8. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Active Member

    Y'all know he's right, eh?
  9. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Active Member

    Yes, there are Walmarts in Canada (not that they're especially welcome) but they don't seem to carry them. At least in Toronto.
  10. Meep

    Meep New Member

    er...

    he as in me? Cause me is a she lol
  11. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Active Member

    Actually I knew that (really!). Just another example of my poor typing and proof-reading skills at work Meep. ;)
  12. Meep

    Meep New Member

    Awww

    No worries ; )
  13. ToastCrumbs

    ToastCrumbs New Member

    Kermit/Beaker Puppets

    Just wanted to share a little bit of info with you guys... Beaker is not made from scott foam or soft foam, he's made from an extremely strong cardboard tube, if I remeber correctly this fits into a slighty larger tube and allows him to slide his head up and down.. He then gets covered in fleece. Nose Is carved from a chunk of scott most likely, and his eyes are plastic wacky stacks. There is no body structure to this character, just his shirt provides what little shape he has. He's known as a live hand puppet, which means that his hands are like gloves that a puppeteer puts on.
    As for Kermit his eyes have not been made from ping pong balls for over twentyfive years. The workshop has a wide assortment of plastic spheres all shapes and sizes that they use now, they're much stronger too. There's tons of information out there on Kermit. I think most everybody knows that he has no structure to his head at all. Jim created his skull shape with just his hand. His mouth plate is very flexible and is made from a type rubber sheet, most of you guys know what this is called. His body is a bit more complicated and is created using a pattern to created its three demensional shape from a more durable type of sheet foam. Pay close attention to Kermits arms and legs they are not as simple as one may think, watch how they move and bend. A good place to start with building a pattern for Kermits head is by buying one of the better hand puppet versions that are sold in stores. There was a great one that was out around five years ago. Hope this clears some things up.

    As always HAPPY PUPPET BUILDING TO ALL...
  14. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Active Member

    A cardboard tube, so simple. See, this is why I love Toastcrumbs!

    While you're on a roll, any chance you cough up some info on those mysterious clips reportedly used to secure removable arm rods? :excited:
  15. ToastCrumbs

    ToastCrumbs New Member

    Mysterious Armwire Clips

    It's funny how so many Muppet fans are curious about these arm wire clips. To the best of my ability I do remember seeing them around. They were made of some type of plastic or resin and were redish in color. They operated like any other type of clip, you just squeezed them and poped the armwire in. For the most part I think they were used with principal characters that were rodded on Muppet Show or Fraggale Rock, but I'm not positive. Most background puppets didn't get these. I don't believe they are in use with any of the new puppets being built. I remember someone telling me that they use to break often so most builders just went back to making channels in the finger again. Muppets does have a patent on the design. I'd say a strong fabric channel and lots of saftey pins is your best way to go about keeping armwires in place.

    As always HAPPY PUPPET BUILDING TO ALL!!!
  16. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Active Member

    Thanks!

    I had heard about this from a former employee of the shop awhile back and I got the impression they were something "custom". I've just always been curious about them...if they are patented then one day I might try to dig up the drawings for through the US patent office for the sake of curiosity.

    Thanks again!
  17. FISH'N'WOLFE

    FISH'N'WOLFE New Member

    Cool stuff, ToastCrumbs! Kudos!
  18. Puppetplanet

    Puppetplanet Member

    Maybe it's early, but I think I'm having a brain fart...... what did he mean by making a "channel"?
  19. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Active Member

    My understanding of this is that it is basically a small fabric "tube" inside the puppet's hand which the arm rod is inserted in to. At least I have seen that design elsewhere.
  20. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Active Member

    I was curious about how this was going...incidently what college up here are you going to?


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