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Glove Puppet Patterns?

Discussion in 'Puppet Building and Performing' started by D'Snowth, Jan 6, 2016.

  1. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    There's plenty of resources out there for patterns regarding rod puppets, but not so much glove puppets, other than one diagram I see floating around for "sag body" puppets (ala Cookie Monster or Rowlf). Does anybody here have any resources or patterns for more humanoid glove puppets like Ernie?
  2. ashkent

    ashkent Well-Known Member

    Many of the puppets like Ernie are sometimes called Live Hand puppets...because they have "live" hands in place of stuffed ones I'm guessing.

    There aren't actually many differences between live hand and rod puppets that have a human body rather than a large open body like Cookie and Co.

    The head and torso tend to be exactly the same, the only difference is that instead of having a foam hand at the end of the arm, you attach what looks like an oversized long glove at somewhere around wrist level, so the hand looks like it is attached to the puppet's arm while your hand is hidden by the "glove" sleeve. I'm not sure how clear that description is.

    If you do a google search for behind the scenes photos or have a look on you tube at some of the videos you will see it better...particularly puppets like Ernie or The Count. Also, if you watch videos of Ernie you will notice that most of the time you see only his fingertips and occasionally what would be the knuckle area which is basically because if you saw any more then you would see the sleeve that the puppeteer's arm is in. There are some good behind the scenes photos on google of Jim and Frank working Ernie and similar...they will give you the best idea.

    There is a pattern for the arms/hands available from Project Puppet, but to be honest, it is a hand shape on the end of an arm sleeve...a bit trial and error will soon lead to a decent hand, and you can always play around with it and add extra fingers or take fingers off etc. Best way I have found is to just have fun with it.
  3. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Really? Because their torsos, to me, look as if they have a more distinct shape than that or rod puppets - almost like a more human-esque shape with defined shoulders and such. But like you said, I guess as with anything else,it's all trial and error.
  4. ashkent

    ashkent Well-Known Member

    Ah, I get what you mean. I think the sketches with Ernie in the bath probably show the shoulder shape best...like this one.


    There is a pattern that someone created and posted on a facebook site. I can't access it now but when I am home in a few hours I will look it up and post it.
    Basically though...if you imagine the shape of a t-shirt without the sleeves, that is the shape of the front and back pieces to make that kind of body. The arms are then stuffed, which you can kind of the see in some of the Ernie bath shots when the arms look saggy and limp at the shoulder join.
    Nasa Peepo 2 likes this.
  5. ashkent

    ashkent Well-Known Member

    D'Snowth likes this.
  6. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Thanks a lot, this certain gives me an idea of what to work with.
  7. Bear Man

    Bear Man Well-Known Member

    Happy to share the glove portion of my puppets I've developed. As a note of explanation this is 2-piece pattern for a four-fingered puppet, the thumb is attached separately to the cut-out section...obviously you would only make an incision on one half of the fabric!

  8. ashkent

    ashkent Well-Known Member

    I really like the thumb positioning on this one. I have only done a few live hand puppets so have never had much chance to play around with the glove hand pattern I use. The position you have created here though looks really natural.
  9. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't have even thought to do that. I've made a glove hand before for a puppet (that way I didn't have to build an entire new puppet, just slip the puppet's hand into a slot in the glove and pin into place), but just a completely flat pattern.

    I take it those little squiggles along the edge is seam allowance?
  10. Bear Man

    Bear Man Well-Known Member

    Thanks, ashkent!

    Not seam allowance - it's the fold line. Below is a terribly untidy "full" pattern

  11. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Awesome, thanks.

    While we're on the subject of patterns and such, I've been noticing that in some cases, puppets will have a bit of a curvature where the foam head meets the mouthplates, like so:
    See how the head kind of curves inward slightly at the mouth? How do you achieve this? Darts on the foam where the mouth would be attached?
  12. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Meh, disregard my previous post, I figured it out.

    But regarding that glove hand pattern, I'm curious about a little detail: which way do you attach the thumb?
  13. Bear Man

    Bear Man Well-Known Member

    Sorry mate - I didn't notice your earlier question...let me know if you still want my thoughts on it (I'm not an expert by any stretch, just an amateur who has puzzled some stuff out!)

    I attach the thumb so the fold side is pointing up...anything that I can do to minimise the amount of seams that are easily visible!
  14. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Ah, okay. I've noticed fitted gloves have a similar pattern, but I just wanted to be sure before I start attaching thumbs.
  15. Bear Man

    Bear Man Well-Known Member

    As far as I'm concerned, just go with whatever works for you.

    That said, to give you a better idea of what I have used, in the pattern I showed above, the finger length goes to about my middle knuckle. Puppet fingers seem to work better when they have less of them than we do (3 vs 4) and they're shorter than our own!
  16. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I actually picked up on that as I was sizing, tracing, cutting, and sewing the pattern, lol. I did, however, have to lengthen the "sleeve" to extend almost to my elbow, but other than that, so far so good: I tried one of the gloves on after I sewed it (without the thumb) and was amazed at how much it looked like an actual glove hand. And you're right, the glove hands do seem work better when the fingers are shorter than actual fingers . . . however, it does kind of make the rest of the puppet anatomy look strange, like in this insert where Ernie bending his wrists look like they bend in his forearm.
  17. Bear Man

    Bear Man Well-Known Member

    Re: the length - that's a good point I probably should have mentioned...those hands are literally that - hands that I have used for Beaker, who I am primarily building as a poser (even if I wasn't, the arm sleeves would be the fabric and colour of his lab coat, not his actual hands).

    You're right...Ernie looks like he has some serious bone issues there!
  18. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member


    They're riding up at the wrist because I have the inner side of the gloves cut so I can attach the upper arms later.
  19. Iscah

    Iscah Well-Known Member

    I feel like it's worth mentioning that some live-hand characters have the arm sleeve join on more around the elbow. Fozzie, for instance: http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/File:OMAM17.jpg

    Also that they're often wearing clothes that conceal the puppeteer's arm coming in - eg. Mokey's drapey cloak, or the Count's cape.
  20. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Well, like I said, they're riding up because they've got large holes in them where the upper arms of the puppet will be attached; otherwise, they do come to about the elbow (the bend of the arm moreso).

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