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Full-body costume puppets

Discussion in 'Puppet News' started by ScottMonster, Jan 21, 2003.

  1. ScottMonster

    ScottMonster Well-Known Member

    Not that I think this would be an easy thing to do by any means and I'll probably get some folks wondering about my sanity for asking this, but I'm going to ask anyway just out of sheer curiosity:

    Has anyone here ever attempted to make a full body sized puppet like Big Bird or the bear from Bear In The Big Blue House. I guess I should also include characters like Sweetums or any of the Gorgs from Fraggle Rock to be of this variety, even though their mouths are operated by remote control by someone offstage, the principle is still the same as operating the mouth manually. But still Bear and Big Bird are more the kind I had in mind for pretty obvious reasons.
  2. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    The closest I've ever come is a costume of overalls, long sleeve shirt (stuffed with 2 big pillows for fat-belly-ing), and oversized boots, then put two 'monster gloves' in the sleeves. My left hand was in the glove and my right hand came up through my collar of the shirt. The 'right hand' of the costume was affixed to the belly of the suit. Then, there was a mask that was over-sized with a huge gaping mouth that was put over my head and my right hand was in the bottom jaw of the mask. Then, I used a mix between Sweetums/Pa Gorg voices and he kind of hosted the haunted house last year. To see photos go to www.nightmarez.org, the photos section (put your cursor over the bottom left pic and it'll show up). There's also photos of me as Ghostbuster Williams and my pal Lin as Beetlejuice!

  3. sarah_yzma

    sarah_yzma Well-Known Member

    *gets scared* oh wait these pics are ok! whew!

  4. MuppetQuilter

    MuppetQuilter Well-Known Member

    I've made those sorts of costumes. They're challenging, but quite do-able. The trickiest part are the eye holes-- keeping them disguised yet large enough for a not-too-obstructed view and making sure they line up properly.
  5. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    Yup, we've made quite a few!
  6. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    I used to be one of these - live on TV and a famous character and everything. They used to buy the costume in from someone and it cost a few thousand dollars. It always suprised me the amount of female interest i had at that time.
  7. MuppetQuilter

    MuppetQuilter Well-Known Member

    That is just frightening, Luke.
  8. BlueFrackle

    BlueFrackle Well-Known Member



    Mr. Blobby, Mr. Blobby...

    You didnt hang out with Noel Edmonds by any chance Luke ?

  9. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    Ahem no, i was not Mr Blobby but i WAS offered the chance to do him - they wanted me to start off doing appearances at Brands Hatch and then move onto the TV when the regular guy went. However i had to break it to them gently that i was just doing this costumed thing for a laugh and wasnt exactly looking for a career move. I was in actual fact the Newsbunny - though i was never the pink one, i drew the line at transgender dressing.

    Yes, female interest was definitely enhanced at the time. I had various giggling girly friends of our newsreaders calling up to talk to me, and a very over eager Japanese tourist girl who wanted to cuddle me in Trafalgar square. The pressure of the role increased when they introduced Newsbunny's love interest and wanted me to passionately snog her for valentines day ..... while a nice female intern was under there so i had no problem with it, i felt simulating sexual acts while dressed as a rabbit was a little beneath me, which wasn't the only thing.
  10. BlueFrackle

    BlueFrackle Well-Known Member


    LOL !
  11. doctort13

    doctort13 Well-Known Member

    I have never built a walk-around suit, but I would love to be H.R. Pufnstuf, or a Banana Split for a day. I hear that it's a great way to sweat off a few extra pounds! :p

    A pro-puppeteer friend of mine, Kevin Frisch, has built walk-around suits. He told me that it's a pain in the a$$.
    Zappetman likes this.
  12. pierat

    pierat Member

    life size puppet


    Actually I'm in the process of making one now that will be HUGE! plus I've been able to use other peoples costumes in puppetry.

    Suggestion you can also make the mouth out of black sheer material which offers wider vision than looking the eyes though both are creatable.

    Closing the mouth can be done two ways either by using one hand and attatching one of your arms that is stuffed to an invisible string and working it with the puppet arm that you have your other hand in. Or having a seperate puppeteer work the mouth by remote control (which is easier than it sounds). You can find the parts in your local Radio Control Car shop.

    A simple way to do this is purchase large outfits for a few dallors from your local thrift store and simply build hands, feet (or buy large shoes/boots), and head.

    The head can be created from virtually any puppet pattern with minor changes for vision and neck attatchment. Just try using an opaque projector to oversize the pattern.

    You can also purchase giant puppets from www.puppetproductions.com, www.onewaystreet.com, or have them created by any of the custom puppet manufacturers.

    Personally I think it's more fun and alot cheaper to build them yourself.

    Fake fur monsters are fun too but if your building a giant one a good tip would be vaacum the fur before you start working with it and it will save you alot of the mess and keep you from tasting alot of fuzz which sticks to everything in the room!
  13. Kye

    Kye Well-Known Member

    I used to work for a company that designed and created costume character mascots... It has a lot of info on the web site. www.charactercompany.com (the company is no longer building costumes though) If you have a couple grand lying around , the company thats builds BEAR for disney and all the SS live characters is www.vee.com THEY WILL NOT BUILD YOU A BEAR!! OR A BIG BIRD.... but they will build you a custom creation for about $6,500
  14. Treelo

    Treelo Well-Known Member

  15. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    I've built the body-suit part for my cartoon character and am ordering the head and feet from the marylen.com folks for around $500; they can direct you to someone who can put the mechanics in the head they make for you (But I'm not getting mouthwork done at this tim to Muley).

  16. Kye

    Kye Well-Known Member


    Vee Corp , who owns Costumes and Creatures has built quite a few nice costumes for me for 6,000.(yes,Big Bird is 40,000, and you cannot purchase anyway) But they will custom bulid from artwork. Price will go up if its huge or incredibly ornate
    International Mascot will build them for around 3,500 and they are very decent! All the costumes on my (old)website www.charactercompany.com were built by Vee or IMC(international Mascot)
  17. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    I'm curious Kye, what's your opinion of the quality of their work? I've heard mixed things from different sources...
  18. Treelo

    Treelo Well-Known Member

    It certainly depends on how work-intensive the costume is, but most of the recent projects have been going for $7500+
  19. Kye

    Kye Well-Known Member

    For Vee Corp! I dont think another costume shop in the country can compete. The build all the sesame street live characters and bear in the big blue house for Walt disney world. They use amazing lightwieght minicell foam. Heads only wiegh about a pound... as opposed to 20!
    IMC has mixed reviews... they have gotten a lot better. Foam carving is not as good as vee, and materials a little cheaper... but it costs half the price.:) i wont work in a scollin costume, but i have worked for isney too long. scollin forgets things like airholes!!! not good
  20. Kye

    Kye Well-Known Member

    You may be right. If you are including things like bike pump puppetry and Ornate stuff. I have build things with them as low as 5,000 within a year. If you are really interested i can put you in touch with my salesperson

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