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Foamcore mouthplates

Discussion in 'Puppet Building and Performing' started by Ryan, Nov 21, 2003.

  1. Ryan

    Ryan New Member

    Hey guys, I found this foamcore material in my art class, and it seems like it would really work well on non-flexible puppets. Has anybody used fomacore board before on puppet mouths? How well doe it work? I cut out a mouth and tested it without grips, and it seems like it will work well.
  2. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Active Member

    Foamcore can work really well. I don't like to use it because it can break, but if it's what you've got go ahead and try using it. Most builders I know prefer to use corrogated plastic because it is stronger, but it really comes down to a matter of preference.
  3. officermom

    officermom New Member

    Buck is on the money...preference is everything, especially if YOU are going to be manipulating the puppet.

    I tried foamcore and had such a difficult time with just preparing it to be used as a mouthboard (i.e cutting, finishing the edges, etc.)...and I've been doing OTHER crafting with foamcore for years and loving it.

    I then got corrugated plastic and was thrilled. It was easier to cut and, in two high quality puppets I crafted for my nieces, has survived well with frequent use (and abuse) by three active little girls under 6.

    I would suggest trying both. Construct two mouths -- one from each and see which gives you a better feel and which you find easier to work with during the creation process.

    Puppetually,

    Melissa
  4. Yahnke

    Yahnke Member

    foamcore

    i have only built one puppet so far. I knew my first would not be my best work, so i wanted to keep the cost down and wasn't so worried about how long it would last so i used foamcore for the mouth plate...it worked really well. I am using the puppet twice a week in preparation for program we are working on. I am the one using the puppet so i know to be gentle, but i agree. Foamcoare breaks very easily. where can you buy currigated plastic?
  5. officermom

    officermom New Member

    Corrugated plastic can be purchased by the undecorated sheet at many art supply stores or arts & crafts stores (like A.C. Moore, where I got mine). You might want to try Dick Blick, Michael's, or Ben Franklin (depending on what's available in your area).

    The corrugated plastic isn't too much more expensive than the foamcore.

    Another source (especially off-season) would be any place that out-sources holiday decorations. Corrugated plastic is getting REALLY popular for outdoor decorations which are planted in the lawn via wooden stakes or metal tines. Ignore the pre-printed colors since you're going to cover it anyway.

    One other idea are home improvement places which sell FOR SALE and similar signs. Many places now have them available in sturdier, re-usable corrugated plastic.

    Hope this helps.

    Pupetually,

    Melissa
  6. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Active Member

    The brand I purchase is corroplast (at least I think it is a brand name). It seems to work well.
  7. MuppetQuilter

    MuppetQuilter Member

    I've used foamcore in a number of puppets and found it worked really well. I haven't tried the corrugated plastic (but I will!). I didn't have any trouble working with the foamcore and it has held up, but my puppets haven't had to put up with too much stress.

    Give it a try, Ryan, and see what you think. :)
  8. Phantom

    Phantom New Member

    I purchased a 4' X 8' sheet of corrugated plastic from a local plastic supplier for $5. I figure I can get at least 30 or more mouth plates out of it.

    Also, I purchased Plexiglas from the same place ($36 for 4' X 8' sheet). It is more difficult to work with (tendency to crack during cutting when not supported well) but the results, in my opinion, makes a heavier (although heavier) duty mouth.

    I suggest looking in the local yellow pages under plastics. Fortunately there is one in my small-town America. If there isn't one local, look in the closest bigger town. These places mostly supply industrial customers, but are willing to sell to about anyone with money.

    Ben

  9. Jinx

    Jinx Member

    I've used 3/16" foamcore mouthplates in puppets with much success. As detailed in the excellent book "The Foam Book" from Grey Seal Puppets, the foamcore is treated in such a manner as to reinforce it to stand up to normal use.

    I hadn't thought of using the corrugated plastic, which is ironic since I work in a facility that has a sign shop. Incidentally, this could prove to be an excellent resource for coroplast. We frequently have scraps left over from signs that are not big enough for other signs, but would certainly be sufficient for most mouthplates. Get to know your local sign shop!

    Another mouthplate idea. For a softer, more pliable mouth, go to your local print shop. Ask them if they have an old blanket from a printing press. These are what actually press the ink onto paper, and are made with a neoprene surface with a heavy fabric backing. They are thin and extremely durable.
  10. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Active Member

    Gasket rubber is another great material to make flexible mouth plates out of. It is available from most plumbing supply shops. Home Depot may even carry it in the U.S. (they don't up here).
  11. FISH'N'WOLFE

    FISH'N'WOLFE New Member

    Leather I've found is the best mouthplate material for me. Thin leather is flexible yet stiff and will last forever. The stuff I use is from rolls of soccer ball leather stock from Spalding.
  12. Ryan

    Ryan New Member

    Well, I made a puppet with the foamcore (pictures on my site this weekend) and it turned out really well. Thanks to everyone for the tips. I don't know if I'd use it extensively however, because it was kind of difficult to glue the felt to the mouth without get getting an air pocket in it (not sure why it happened.) It also needs finger grips, which I made, and it helps a lot. Again, thanks guys! Pics to be up soon.


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