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How did you get started?

Discussion in 'Puppet Building and Performing' started by buckshot, Dec 10, 2003.

  1. buckshot

    buckshot New Member

    i've seen some of the puppets that you guys have made, and i'm very impressed with some of them. i was just wondering where you all started or learned to start up building puppets. :confused:

    i'm very much a self-taught puppeteer/builder of about 10 years, so i look forward to learning from each of you.
  2. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Active Member

    I started making little puppets like you get in cheap-o Easter Baskets at Fred's Dollar Stores, then I took a doll with an open mouth and tore a hole in it's bottom; then I constructed a puppet similar to one I used in church, then I bought a 'people puppet pattern' from Puppets With Personality in TX and made one of those, then I began making my own puppets.

    I still need to get The Foam Book and Videos!
  3. Ryan

    Ryan New Member

    I'm still learning. I started building puppets made with hot glue, no sewing. I've grown to start loving sewed puppets now, they are so much better and easier to handle. You can see most of my puppets at my website below. As for puppetering, I've been weened on it. I was taken home as a newborn wrapped around a Muppet Babies blanket. So, I've been aware of Muppets since day one. I began "puppeteering" around age five. I recorded a puppet show with my sister, lip synching to Muppet Hits! when I was really young. I didn't get professionally intreseted until I was about 11. So, I've been puppteering for 5 years, professionally. I've made a lot of home videos then, and I sent an audition tape to Henson 2 years ago, and I'll be going to their next workshop to scout out new puppeteers for their productions. And that's the way it is. :)
  4. buckshot

    buckshot New Member

    i have a question for you. the only puppets i've successfully made so far are made primarily of glue and foam, but i've just started exploring the whole art of making puppets with sewing. how do you stuff/form the head of a sewn cloth puppet without blocking the access to the mouth? (i hope i worded that question right) any info is very appreciated.
  5. Whatever

    Whatever Active Member

    Eew, you're supposed to wrap the blanket around the baby, not the other way 'round!
  6. DPuppets

    DPuppets Member

    I started a few years ago. I was working for a small church and could not afford puppets. So, took a very brief class on building. And have enjoyed ever since. Then I just put myself in front of other builders and picked their brain and watched them. So, I continue to learn and talk to other builders and just build!
    www.dpuppets.com
    Darren
  7. Beebers

    Beebers New Member

    If you go to Page Two of the Puppetry section, toward the bottom is a post by FISH'N'WOLFE entitled Hi Ho, everyone, new member here. He wrote a fairly detailed story of how he got started. It's easier for you to go there and read it rather than his writing it all over again.

    :cool:
  8. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Active Member

    On the heads, you pretty much make a skull from foam and then put the material around it.

    Isn't there a link to building a puppet around here somewhere?
  9. Phantom

    Phantom New Member

    I was asked to take over the puppet ministry at my church when the previous director moved to open a bed and breakfast in another town. (Answered prayer, but that's another story. Not that I wanted them to go, I didn't pray for that, but I am rambling on, aren't I?)

    We needed, in my opinion, more puppets. I decided I could surely build something better than the made in China (isn't everything), "store bought" puppets. That's how I found this site. I bought the Foam Book and started "making it up" as I went along. I then graduated up to the Arms Length videos. Now, I just try new things.

    I think I'm getting better and my puppet team primarily uses my creations during performances. Of course, I only started building in May, so I've got some moisture behind my ears. I'll say it again, everyone here is an artist when it comes to this stuff. I've only got a box of crayons, but you'll find this site can be informative and take you to new ideas and better building.
  10. It's strange for me to watch home videos of myself as a little kid putting on paper bag puppet shows for my Gramma. I had no idea I'd be this interested in it now.

    I was about five in those videos, and I really got interested in the Muppets at age 10 when I went to my grandparents' house and saw Muppets Tonight for the first time. It got me hooked, cuz I had an interest in both the visual and dramatic arts, and I saw puppetry as a way to combine those. I got a Henson biography from the library and found out that he had very similar interests when he was young, so I set out to literally staple together a puppet the next day.

    The stapling method didn't work too well, so I started dabbling in hot glue. Eight years later I've learned to sew, work with foam rubber, found better mouthplate materials, and am working on eyelid-movement mechanisms. The "Scary" Larry in my avitar is the third version -- today the original looks like a beat up washcloth. So I've come a long ways, and I still have far to go.

    You can never stop learning!
  11. ashberg

    ashberg New Member

    I remember the first ever puppet I got was a monkey who's arms were really long and his hands had velcro on them. This was age 5. I didn't put it down for at least 3 years. In fact, I still have him lying around somewhere. Very used and very much in need of repair. I also had a big fluffy white monster puppet thing. Again, he had really long arms and legs. Age 14. I remember wanting to control his arms. I painted some thin balsa wood (i think it was balsa) white to match his fur and attached a white rubberband to the end of the stick and then around his hand. A simple way to move his hand(s) and a very effective way to give him more personality.

    The only problem I ever had with performing with my puppets was their voice. I could never keep the voice consistent. But thats ok, because of late my performing habits have been of a much higher standard. Now, at the age of 19, after watching every muppet video (episodes, movies etc) I own, I have learnt that a puppet is just a puppet until it is given a personality.
  12. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Active Member

    I had one of those monkeys, too. I called him Luigi after a nickname by my uncle for me.

    I met Scary Larry at MuppetFest, and he's super cool. I dunno why I didn't carry Muley around with me more, other folks had their puppets out during that time.
  13. buckshot

    buckshot New Member

    hey...i have one of those monkeys, too. i'm actually in the process of giving him some new, more expressive eyes. he's a great vent puppet.

  14. I remember that! And Larry really wanted to meet Muley but we went to the wrong DoubleTree by mistake! I'm still bitter over that. Well, as they said in TGMC, "That was terrible"
    "Well, we'll just have to do it again" ... one of these days...
  15. ashberg

    ashberg New Member

    Yeah, those monkey's rock!!! WOoooOO! Mine has this rustic 'used' quality about it. I dont know whether or not to fix him up... he never talked. He just made babies happy by being an affectionate shy little monkey who liked to get kisses all the time.. Teehee :D
  16. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Active Member


    Yeah, well, we've already all decided that at the next (I hope) MuppetFest we would have a MC Family Dinner Reunion one night, and the next night have a puppet-dinner (same as the night before, except everyone brings puppets).

    Muley enjoyed hanging out with Scott, Nick, and Lori that night we went out to eat, though he would have LOVED to meet Scary Larry and others!
  17. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Active Member

    I started building puppets in my teens for high school video projects - my first puppet was a cockroach I made on my bed in an hour one morning and spent the next several years doing the usual trial-and-error thing. I worked for a professional company that did puppetry for a number of years in my early 20s, which is a great way to learn a lot - and spent a lot of time hanging around the puppet builders in the shop asking them questions and helping out when I could.

    I ultimately married one of them, an approach that - though I don't recommend it to everyone - certainly helped me a lot. ;)
  18. ScrapsFlippy

    ScrapsFlippy Member

    My senior year in high school I took an old pair of blue jeans and an old black sweatshirt and threw together "Rasta Kermit." :) He had a cardboard mouth, button eyes, and "dreadlocks" made out of braided strips of that sweatshirt. My wife's best friend stole him.

    In college, I went a bit "muppet crazy" and started making puppets for fun and (eventually) profit. I like taking a block of foam and using scissors to snip out facial features. I use this craft glue called Bond 527 to glue foam to foam or fabric to foam. I've also used hot glue, but I invariably burn myself and hurl whatever I'm holding across the room whilst waxing profane. The last puppet I built was this rockin' goat for my dad (he's a minister.) I tried to rig up practical eyelids, but couldn't get the mechanism to work right.

    -- Scraps.


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