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How to make a bird's beak

Discussion in 'Puppet News' started by Dwo shwoom, Feb 11, 2006.

  1. Dwo shwoom

    Dwo shwoom Active Member

    if my first puppet project goes well, i'm thinking about making a bird next, a crow, i wont give off anymore of him, but i'm absolutely sure his beak is somewhat bigger than his head, so, i dont want it to look fabric looking, what do you guys reccomend for hard rough surface's like the the beak??
  2. gfarkwort

    gfarkwort Well-Known Member

    paper mache
  3. Dwo shwoom

    Dwo shwoom Active Member

    hmm, that sounds good, but for making it smooth (and rough at the same time) would take lots of time.
  4. Punch'n'Judy

    Punch'n'Judy Well-Known Member

    Am confused as to what you mean. Papier mache is avery versatile, and often underrated material. Latex would also work well.
  5. Karrion

    Karrion Member

    Do you want it actualy hard or just look hard? How about thin plastic like 'for sale' sign material. You aren't going to get compound curves out of it but it'd be light and fairly stiff.

    I'm doing a bird myself. I'm trying painting foam. It'll be fairly rough but I think it'll work out for the type of creature I'm shooting for.
  6. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    I would try either casting the beak in latex or making it in foam and then applying several coats of latex to the beak. If you do enough coats and they are thin enough you will get a nice, smooth finish.

    Bonus points if you cast the beak in latex and flock it, but you need a flocking wand to do that.
  7. Melonpool

    Melonpool Well-Known Member

    I knew a puppeteer that used one of those baby ear cleaner things to blow the flocking onto a puppet. It looked good to me, but I don't know how it compares to a correctly-flocked puppet. He said that a flocking wand was basically the same device, only a lot more expensive.

  8. Dwo shwoom

    Dwo shwoom Active Member

    well, i need something rough as papier mache, but tuff as fiberglass
    :o edit: that might work
  9. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    The flocking wand uses static electricity I believe. I've been told that the old way of doing flocking was to blow the flock on to whatever you were flocking, but that's considered to be unsafe because you end up inhaling the flock.
  10. MGov

    MGov Well-Known Member

  11. Punch'n'Judy

    Punch'n'Judy Well-Known Member

    Please don't underestimate papier mache. There are many different ways of making it, and it can be very strong. And will certainly be easier to work with, and much cheaper than fibre glass.

    A number of layers of brown, parcel paper, glued over polystyrene is susprisingly strong (zippy and george from Rainbow are both made this way).
  12. Dwo shwoom

    Dwo shwoom Active Member

    how about i carve a beak out of puppet foam, put light brown and yellow spray paint on it, and put light wax coating on it:confused:
  13. Dwo shwoom

    Dwo shwoom Active Member

    i cant take this anymore, I'll try these ideas ALL out then I'll evaluate which one looks, best, must i say. but first let me get the lizard puppet done. and i dont care if its a waste, I'll make use out of the losing ones
  14. hennesprod

    hennesprod Well-Known Member

    My 2 cents

    - paper mache - great material easy to use and strong. Depending on materials used can be inexpensive. With work and patience you can get it very smooth

    - fiberglass - one of my favorites - strong but smelly and can be a bit messy to use for the first time. Also, depending on how you by it can be inexpesive or expensive

    - Plastic cast - casting the beak from silicone molds- duable strong- but expensive- plus create more weight to the puppet

    - 2 part epoxy putty - strong, heavy though for the puppet. Idea for prototyping small amatures

    - Liquid Latex cast - also a favorite of mine. Most expensive part is purchasing the latex. But you can make several casts, so in the end worth it. Plaster or ultra cal for casting. In this case I would go with plaster for molding the beak.

    -Polyfoam - looks like latex foam but no heat is required to cure it. You can get a smooth skin from it and very pliable. Again I like this stuff.
    You would need a mold for it, and it can be made from plaster, ultracal, or fiberglass. This is more on the expensive side.

  15. Dwo shwoom

    Dwo shwoom Active Member

    "thank you" said shwoom happily as he jumped up and down.

    FIN (japanese for "THE END");)
  16. practicecactus

    practicecactus Well-Known Member

    Having worked with fibre glass, I wouldn't recommend it to just anyone, unless you really did your research or were with someone who knew what they were doing.
    I hated the stuff.

    The catalyst for the resin is pretty hazardous and you have to take into account the weather for your rezin ratio.
    And once it's all hardened , sanding fibreglass should be done with a mask too, cause you don't wanna have that $#!+ in your lungs.
    Plus it itches.

    Maybe it was just hardcore cause it was in a factory environment, but, yeah, it's Not very fun to use. Too much of a hassle.

    I'd go for it If I was making a professional Animatronic puppet, but for a hand puppet, any one of the other options suggested sounds like a better alternative.
  17. propologist

    propologist Well-Known Member

    bird beak

    I would go vacumforming. What kind of bird is it? How big do you want to make it? I have a beak mold for vacumforming. I also have vacumforming machines.
    Let me know if you need help.


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