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Eyebrows that move - any ideas?

Discussion in 'Puppet Building and Performing' started by zoetrope, Apr 13, 2004.

  1. zoetrope

    zoetrope New Member

    I've been pondering the easiest way to do eyebrows that I can move them up and down. I think Bert :( can do this trick. The easier the solution the better, they don't have to move much. I've come up with two ideas so far:
    1) put the eyebrows on a stick that pokes through the forehead down to where I can reach and wiggle it with a finger.
    2) eyebrows on metal, with magnets inside puppet held in place with elastic, a string hangs down with a loop that I can tug with a free finger.

    Any other ideas appreciated, especially real solutions you have tried or seen work. Many thanks in advance.
  2. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    There's little if anything out there on building mechs (what a moving part of a puppet is often called) for foam puppets, but the book I usually recommend to people is called Figure Making Can Be Fun?!?! by Michael Brose. It's actually about Vent dummy construction (probably the best book of it's kind ever written) and has a very detailed section on how to build mechs for moving eyes, mouths, eyebrows, etc. Most of the designs are easily adapted for foam puppets. You can order the book and read through some of it online at http://www.puppetsandprops.com.

    Al Stevens also has some info on building vent figure controls at http://www.alstevens.com/ventriloquism/onefinger.html that you might find helpful.
  3. ScrapsFlippy

    ScrapsFlippy Member

    I built a successful eyebrow mech once upon a time. I based it upon the eyebrow mech inside the old late-70s Fisher Price Animal puppet.
  4. I think the secret to Bert's eyebrows (or "eyebrow" as it were) isn't in the middle of the brow, but at the two edges. When his brow goes up, there's no trace of anything sticking out in the middle.
  5. zoetrope

    zoetrope New Member

    Wow, great links (although the eyes on those dolls are a little spooky). The second link in particular had some nice pictures of the mechanism he uses inside the head. I thought of another way I might do this that would be very simple. Each eyebrow could be attached at the ends and loose in the middle. I could put a thread through the face just above each eyebrow, attached to the middle of that eyebrow, and the other end would drop down by my fingers with a loop on the end. A tug on the loop would raise the eyebrow. Of course, it might stay up. Maybe some elastic attaching the middle of the eyebrow to the face so it comes back down. Hm, I guess I need to do some experimenting. If anyone else has some thoughts, let me know.
  6. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    I want one of those. The late 70s Cookie too. All the toy puppets from that era were great. Ernie especially rocked. Truly it was the golden age of plush Muppet puppets.... :p
  7. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    I thought I read somewhere on here before that the brow is anchored at each end and a piece of monofilament is used to pull it down. Does it move up too? I can't remember.

    If someone searches for the forum for Bert's eyebrow I bet there is a thread about that.
  8. zoetrope

    zoetrope New Member

    I have an Animal puppet, and while I love the eyebrows on it, it combines eyebrow and eyelids, and also relies on a very strong shell inside the puppet so you can push hard against the lever that controls the eyebrows. I'm looking to do something simpler, more like Bert. I've taken a close look at Animal's innards (now that doesn't sound right does it) and concluded it's just too complicated for me to create something like that.
  9. Yeah, it moves up too (note the smiley :( ).

    It seems as though using monofilament in the middle would be the easiest solution; however I haven't seen any indention above or below the brow when it's being pulled that would indicate it. That's why I think it must pivot on both ends. Maybe toastcrumbs would know.
  10. ScrapsFlippy

    ScrapsFlippy Member

    Oh yeah. From time to time you can find 'em on eBay.

    I found Animal in a thrift store in rural Arkansas(!). But, alas, my dog ate him.

    The mech in the 70s FP version didn't involve the eyes. It was a pretty simple mech.

    I do understand the anchoring issue. Also, it takes some considerable muscle control to close the eyes and open the mouth at the same time. (On a side note, I have no problem shutting Bear's eyebrows and opening his mouth at the same time. Those Creature Shop chaps are top notch.)

  11. Show and Tell

    Show and Tell Member

    Incredible! spending way too much time in this forum. You guys are starting to get in my head. .(scary) I have been thinking alot about this eyebrow mech and was just about to ask the same questions.
  12. Rugby

    Rugby Member

    It's too bad ravagefrackle, toastcrumbs, and butchgcat quit giving building advice. Good advice they would have had. Take it to their graves, they will. (yoda speak)
  13. Show and Tell

    Show and Tell Member

    NNNNOOOOOoooooooo!!!!!!!!!Why are they noo longer giving building advise? I still have way too much to learn.:cry:
  14. Rugby

    Rugby Member

    I don't know. They all just kinda quit posting. Maybe they got in trouble with the JHC for violating non-disclosure agreements or something. Or maybe they got mad when some of us were fussing about them being so secretive. Oh well. The less people are taught about puppetry, the less the art of puppetry will survive in the long run IMO.
  15. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    At $35,000 a bear (or whatever it is) you'd better not have any bloody trouble shutting the mouth and closing the eyes!

    Who do you mean by Creature Shop?
  16. Rugby

    Rugby Member

    Closing the ideas? Did you mean eyes? lol
  17. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    Listen mousey...I've been coding HTML for 13 hours straight. Cut a beaver some slack.

  18. Rugby

    Rugby Member


    13 hours of HTML? *shudder* ---> :crazy:

  19. Show and Tell

    Show and Tell Member

    What Buck will do for a buck:smirk:
  20. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    Not necessarily; it'll force folks to jump into the mix and stir it up real good until they bake up a good answer for the problem. :confused: :eek:

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