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Gene's Kermit Replica Project

Discussion in 'Puppet Building and Performing' started by cute or kill, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. cute or kill

    cute or kill Member

    Long ago I had a Fisher-Price puppet. I wish I still had it, but a recent crafty streak has set me on making the most authentic Kermit replica I can. Before joining, I had filtered through this and other forums compiling as much information as possible. Hopefully what I'll share when making this replica will help to others with similar projects.

    I started by un-distorting the well-known dissected Master Replicas poser photo. Since then I've been developing a vector pattern that attempts to undo the concessions MR had to make for production (there are many). That along with careful study of photos primarily of the 1978-1981 Antron fleece Kermits should result in a decent puppet pattern.

    I'm testing the head pattern in regular fleece (rather too neon) that is basted and super-glued to cardboard. The temporary eyes are not trimmed to the correct diameter (they should be somewhat less than hemispheres). The underside of the chin could use a little more slack. Otherwise, I think this is looking very much like our green friend!

    Legally speaking, I cannot share this pattern in a way that qualifies as publishing, but I will do my best to help you replicate the same steps to arrive at the Kermit you want to make.

    I'll be picking up some Antron shortly and testing some dye - possibly something better than Rit.

    Lily, ElvisMx, KirbTreelo05 and 2 others like this.
  2. KermieBaby47

    KermieBaby47 Well-Known Member

    Looks awesome bro! Looking forward to seeing the end result. I'd love to be doing the same thing, ha. :)
  3. Puckrox

    Puckrox Well-Known Member

    You're off to a great start!
  4. callmemilo

    callmemilo Active Member

    wow, that kermit looks flawless so far, i'm very impressed! I hope my kermit rebuild comes out half as good :p
  5. yetiman

    yetiman Well-Known Member

    Hey--that's looking really great! I'm thinking about doing a Kermit replica (will be my first puppet in a few years, so we'll see how that goes), and I was wondering if anyone knows how Kermit's head holds his shape. Is he really just a simply sock puppet-esque character, or is there some foam stuck up in there to keep his head from going flat?

  6. callmemilo

    callmemilo Active Member

    Kermit's natural head shape is simply centred around the shape of the puppeteer's hand. When I puppeteer my Kermit, I raise my middle finger slightly to create that peaked centre. Photo puppets tend to have some foam or stuffing in there, as there's no hand inside, so typically publicity photos of Kermit look a lil overstuffed, whereas stills from the films or tv shows look more hollow.
  7. KermieBaby47

    KermieBaby47 Well-Known Member

    If you need to, a small thin layer of foam wouldn't hurt I don't think. I've got Jim-sized hands, so it's not a problem filling-out Kermit's head, but I sometimes think a layer of foam would help him look softer, I dunno. :)
  8. yetiman

    yetiman Well-Known Member

    Thanks. I guess I'll play around with the shape a bit!
  9. cute or kill

    cute or kill Member

    I'm putting off the Antron as a surprisingly good substitute is available at Jo-Ann:
    Anti-Pill Fleece Solid, Online Lime 7625361 $9.99/yd (frequently on sale, too)

    The good news is that the color appears virtually the same as recent production Kermit models - at least when taking in consideration color perception on film and video, which can shift hue, bloom in brightness, etc. Soon I will take a swatch to compare to the Kermit on exhibit at The Center for Puppetry Arts if he's still there.

    The nap and density of the pile looks right and lacks the Antron shine. It's just dense enough to hide ladder stitch seams but a bit inferior to Antron in this regard. It's certainly better than what any recent toys are made from.


    The Jo-Ann where I shop happened to be out of white felt (not the flimsy sheets but the good stuff by the yard) and didn't have the requisite faded lime. There was an interesting and practical sub, though. It's very thin and dense double-sided fleece that would be great to replace all tradition felt with in order to make Kermit more wash friendly. It drapes more than felt and looks great, but the color was a bit oversaturated. It will be easy enough to switch back to felt if it doesn't work out.
    Lily likes this.
  10. cute or kill

    cute or kill Member

    There's more to this update, but it seemed best to separate this from the fabric information.

    The geometry of the head pattern is simpler than I originally guessed. The following advice doesn't include allowances for selvage. With very small ladder stitches, you'll only need a few millimeters anyway. Ignore the Master Replicas photo except in terms of basic proportions. The puppet head pattern is different.

    Draw a 9 inch circle. Add a right-facing 115 degree pie wedge (think Pac Man). Round off the inner corner fairly generously. Rotate the entire drawing 45 degrees counter-clockwise. Draw a 6 x 2.25 inch rectangle tangent to the outside bottom of the circle. Offset it left of center by 3.75 inches. Blend the vertical edges of the rectangle upward into the circle. These curves should blend gracefully with high tension. This is an improvement over my dummy head above. This pattern will produce a higher "skull" and looser neck under the chin. The shape includes the 1/4 inch or so of overlap with the mouth plate.

    The mouth plate is like a regular ellipse measuring 4.25 x 8 inches, but the ends should be pulled in to make them pointier. This might vary some depending on the Kermit model you're trying to create.

    The typical 11-point collar starts as a half circle. The inner radius is 7.25 inches and the outer almost 13 inches. The notches should be cut leaving around 5/8 inch inside the collar.

    Small adjustments might be needed here and there depending on how you craft your Kermit, but I believe this is very much in the right direction.
    ElvisMx likes this.
  11. Walter

    Walter Well-Known Member

    Not sure if you've visited CPA yet, but Kermit is still there outside Jim's room.
  12. cute or kill

    cute or kill Member

    Good to know. I'll find time to visit the exhibition this month for sure.
  13. yetiman

    yetiman Well-Known Member

    Hey, cute or kill...thanks so much for your instructions!
  14. cute or kill

    cute or kill Member

    Another little update:
    It's probably a good idea to make the neck a little longer, sew it in place and trim the extra length. The head pattern as described will still need adjustments that are best done when basting/sewing the pieces together. Even different fabric thickness can alter how your Kermit will look.
  15. Studmeister17

    Studmeister17 Member

    Dang, dude! That head shape is PERFECT! I can't wait to see some more pics.
  16. cute or kill

    cute or kill Member

    Thanks! More tweaks are coming. At first I thought the skull needed to be higher, but it's actually the mouth plate that should be shortened a bit. A newer prototype head is coming shortly.
  17. MrsPiggyPiggy

    MrsPiggyPiggy New Member

    I am struggling at this.....I know the mouth (the red) needs to be smaller than the gasket rubber (or cardboard etc.) but by how much? I didn't make it smaller the first time and my Kermit looked more like a dinosaur :(
  18. cute or kill

    cute or kill Member

    I didn't use a gasket in the head pattern study. The rigid mouth plate (using a plastic folder in the prototype) and the red felt are cut the same size. The fleece is sewn inside the perimeter at bit less than 1/4 inch at the front and about 3/8 in the corners of the mouth. I would attach the throat and tongue to the red felt, sew to the fleece to the felt, glue the fleece down around the perimeter and lastly glue the felt to the mouth plate.
  19. MrsPiggyPiggy

    MrsPiggyPiggy New Member

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