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Fleece covering

Discussion in 'Puppet Building and Performing' started by BorkBork, Jun 24, 2002.

  1. BorkBork

    BorkBork Well-Known Member

    Okay, i know this have been covered before, but i did not get some things.

    So theese question is for the experts, the puppetbuilders, the sewing-gurus.

    When i want to cover my puppet (3 piece head foampuppet), do i use exactly the same pattern as the 3 foampieces? do i use the darts in the fleece too?

    Should i sew toghether all pieces of fleece before i cover the foam?

    How do i do those smile-dimples that many of the muppets have?
    And when i want to fold the fleece to the inside edges of the mouth, the fleece just crumbles up...

    Could anyone please post a step by step guide or something? Easy explained or perhaps with images.

    I have no problems with making the all the shapes with the foam, but the fleece, and sweing i don't quite get...sheesh...

    Thankful for any help

  2. BorkBork

    BorkBork Well-Known Member

    oh, and another thing...i'm planning to perhaps make a Zoot puppet in the near future. since he was uncovered foam from the beginning, that's the way i want him. Is it possible to spray-paint the foam to get the right colour? whyt type of paint should i use?

    And just another thing too. Zoots hair? what is that? it's not all ostrich feathers is it?

  3. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    Hi Bork Bork!

    I know there is another post covering alot of this that a few of us contributed to so you should search for that one might be helpful. To answer your questions:

    You can simply copy the patterns you used for the foam to make your puppet's fleece "skin" (if you do you will need to make sure you include all the darts in the pattern). Make sure to make the fleece patterns slightly larger than the foam ones, otherwise the fleece will be too tight.

    We don't do this very often, but it is a very good method to start with and learn and it may or may not work perfectly depending on the design of your puppet and your sewing skills.

    There is an alternate method we normally use to cover things, but it really is very difficult to describe. We're about to start covering a ton of puppets for an upcoming show so I will try to get one of the builders to photograph the process step-by-step and post it to our site when we have time.

    We do not sew anything on puppets for TV with a machine, except for the mouth. Occasionally we machine sew arms, parts of bodies or legs made from antron if we're pretty sure it won't be shown on camera. Generally though, everything is hand-stitched whenever possible so it looks as good as possible.

    That said, if you are not worried about seams showing, machine sewing might be a good option too. We really tend to "fly by the seat of our pants" and decide on a project by project basis what method is best and we're always experimenting with stuff.

    Your Zoot questions are probably best answered by someone else (Terry? Anyone from the Muppet workshop?) but be careful if you are spray painting upholstry foam (the foam couch cushions are made from). Paint usually makes foam very brittle and causes it to break down faster.

    The few puppets we have that are painted foam are very carefully stored in bins out of sun light in sealed plastic bags to preserve them. They generally don't hold up very well otherwise and wear out quickly when they are used.

    One thing that seems to help is making the puppet in foam with 1" or 3/4" foam and then covering it with 1/4" or 1/8" foam that has a fabric backing. This seems to make the puppet more durable and less prone to ripping.

    You can also dye some types of foam (which I prefer to painting). Another option is to coat foam in latex and then paint it, which makes it much more durable. We've been playing around with that technique more and more lately.

    I hope some of this stuff is useful!
  4. BorkBork

    BorkBork Well-Known Member

    thank you buck-beaver for all your help. i am soon about to try it out for the first time. I will most definately experiment. :)

    One question though; if i make the fleece with darts, wont the seems show when i close up the darts?

    it would be great if you, or anybody else could make those picture by picture, step by step thing. I could provide webspace for them (7-8 megs) if necessary. If anyone is interested in doing that, pleace contact me.

    Thanks again, but i need more input, so if anyone feels like it, explain everything you know.


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