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Gluing Technique Help!

Discussion in 'Puppet News' started by HandySam, Feb 17, 2004.

  1. HandySam

    HandySam Well-Known Member

    I've been told that this has been covered in the forums before but for the life of me I can't seem to find it. I am having difficulty with gluing foam with contact cement. I don't know it its the foam I am using or if its that Im pressing the pieces together wrong but the foam always draws in at the darts where the cement is placed. I was told to go lightly on the cement and to not pinch the pieces together but that if the contact cement is dry enough that when I just touch the pieces together they will bond. so I tried this and I still have the foam draw in on me so that I have obvious lines on my puppets head where the foam darts are located. Am I not supose to use polyfoam from like JoAnn Fabrics? I think its the kind they make cusions out of but I am not certain. or is it that I need a different glue for that type of foam? I tried 3m super 77 but glued my fingeres to the foam instead of the foam peices together. HEEELLLLLLLP! :eek: I'd like to be able to make foam puppets some day that are not covered in fabric but just painted and I cant be having them look like pinhead from some horror movie or something. It's probably a no-brainer for most of you but could you help a newbie out please? What am I doing wrong here? How about it Buck? You seem to be the genius here.
  2. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    First, make sure you're using the right kind of contact cement. On it's label or packaging it should indicate what materials you can glue with it. I use LePage All-Purpose contact cement, but any all purpose contact cement gel should work.

    You have to make sure you brush contact cement on to both sides of the foam. Leave it to dry until it gets tacky (anywhere from 5 - 20 minutes depending on the brand and room temperature). Once it is "tacky" (that is when you touch it is sticky but doesn't come off on to your hand) hold the pieces of foam side by side with the glued sides facing up. Then make a small pinch in the middle of the foam, followed by one at each end. Then pinch all the foam together.

    It takes a bit of practice, but if you follow that method you really can't go wrong. I don't use Super 77 for foam-to-foam applications. It doesn't hold very well (the pieces may eventually separate) and it's not really manufactured for this sort of thing. 3M sells a different spray product for gluing foam to foam.

    I also have explained this process to a degree here and there should be a picture of foam being pinched that might be helpful.

    I hope that helps!
  3. HandySam

    HandySam Well-Known Member

    Okay. I must be doing it right then because Tumbles has the same trench lines at the places where the foam comes together as my puppets have had. Must be that the people that make foam puppets, that dont cover the foam but simply airbrush the foam, sand the shape of the body and head or make it out of one solid block of foam or some other method than cementing parts together to make the head, body and arms.
  4. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    Many people carve bodies from blocks of foam, but this is the only method for gluing patterns cut from sheet foam together that I've seen. Even if you're using hot glue the process is pretty much the same.

    If you're using reticulated foam I know some people will stitch the pieces together, but this is not a method that I like.
  5. Show and Tell

    Show and Tell Well-Known Member

    What do you use to brush contact cement on to foam and/or fleece and other things? I sometimes use scrap foam if I'm dobbing but those little acid brushes is what I use if its a long straight edge. The problem is they can only be used once.
  6. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    Actually, brushes can be used as long as you want. I use just cheap painter's brushes from a local art store. The trick is to store the brushes in a jar or bottle partially filled with water. This prevents both the brushes and any residual contact cement on the brushes from drying out. Eventually when the contact cement builds up on the brush you should be able to peel it away easily. I also wipe my brushes with a piece of scrap foam after each use to minimize the amount of contact cement left on them.

    Some people keep brushes in paint thinner, but I don't like to because of the fumes and because it's a chemical and environmentally unfriendly.
  7. Show and Tell

    Show and Tell Well-Known Member

    Ahh! once again Buck. Thanks alot!
  8. Show and Tell

    Show and Tell Well-Known Member

    I just recieved my foam book series and book and in all of those he uses 3M super 74 to glue foam together. He shows that by folding the foam in halves you end up with a wider surface for which to spray the glue and also he recommends wearing those disposable latex gloves so as not to accidentally kill yourself slowly. Great idea :) The foam book series is actually pretty nice. I have heard in this forum how many don't particularly care for the 3 peice head method but I think if you were to adapt it just a bit...say maybe a four peice head then cut the hole for the arm, it might look just great. Nip and Tuck is just a fancy 3 peice head method, so make it a 4 peice if you want more foam in the back of the head.
  9. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    I'd still recommend trying 3M's foam-to-foam spray adhesive if you can find it. I think you'll find it works that much better.
  10. ToastCrumbs

    ToastCrumbs Active Member

    Act Fast!!! Muppet Whatnot Puppet Building Info!

    There's a Vintage Muppet poster on eBay with only 45 mins left. Never mind the condition of the posters guys, it's what's on the back that is invaluable to all novice puppet builders.......HURRY UP, IT'S ONLY TWENTY BUCKS
  11. Whatever

    Whatever Well-Known Member

  12. Show and Tell

    Show and Tell Well-Known Member

    wow that went fast! didnt even have a chance to see it first. it was gone in the same minute it went on sale. :cry:
  13. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    Hi, copying this over from another thread: Can anybody help?

    Hot glue and Elmer's is best suited for paper products IMO.

    I use Super 77 Spray Adhesive when necessary, and hot glue. There's also contact cement (highly toxic, use precautions).
  14. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    Weld Bond actually works on foam and is non-toxic, but it takes the better part of a day to dry.
  15. The Good Doctor

    The Good Doctor Well-Known Member

    This is Great

    Wow, you guys this is truly great! Thank you for all the good information.

    Buck-Beaver..I checked out your instructions on making Tumbles the bear, I am confused about the arms and the hands. In the pictures when the hand is attached to the arm it looks great (like you glued the 2 have together trimmed them and turned them inside out or soemthing). The wires inside as well as around the outer edge are completerly hidden in the foam.

    Also I was confused about what prevents the arm from bending the wrong way? And is it just the fabric that creats the Joints? Can Duct Tape be used in stead?

    Does any one know if I can use Poly Foam to construct my puppets out of, or should I really try to get the other kind. And also why is this better?

    Thanks for the Help
  16. The Good Doctor

    The Good Doctor Well-Known Member


    I re-red the page and I think I got the idea. the hands are not glued together flat side to falt side. It is the edges of the hands that are glued creating the round efect.

    I am excited now!
  17. The Good Doctor

    The Good Doctor Well-Known Member


    Does any one know if painting the foam will cause the glue to break down and the puppet to fall appart? Also is there any way to protect the foam from its eventual breakdown?

    Thanks. :)
  18. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    All foam breaks down eventually and falls apart. Paint will usually accelerate the process by a few years, but it depends on a variety of factors including how often the puppet is used, how it's stored, etc.

    The best way to protect the puppet is to store it in a cool, dry place (not a damp basement) in a box or container that keeps it out of UV light. Another option if the puppet is for display or will be used a lot is to mix rubber latex in with the paint - just be sure to paint it outdoors and take all the necessary safety precautions.
  19. The Good Doctor

    The Good Doctor Well-Known Member

    Rubber Latex

    The one and only puppet I ever made fell apart after I painted it, I think because I used rubber cement and it did not respond well to the water based arcylic paint I used.

    As for the Rubber Latex, is this the same stuff that is used for Halloween special effects ( cuts, Bullet holes, fake noses) or is it some other kind of Latex? Is it avalable at a a hardware store or do you think it has to be special ordered?

    Again thank you for all your help.
  20. Iokitek

    Iokitek Well-Known Member

    Latex comes in various types. Here's a link to a company that sells all kinds of casting products including latex. You can just get regular latex from an arts and crafts store to test the process first.


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