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it went totally wrong....

Discussion in 'Puppet Building and Performing' started by BorkBork, Nov 4, 2002.

  1. BorkBork

    BorkBork Member

    i just made the worlds ugliest puppet!
    My first try at a handpuppet was a total disaster....

    Sure, making beaker and Sam models was easy, but when i tried to make a handpuppet, it just screwed up for me. Well, everyone needs practise in the beginning. At least i know where i went wrong.

    And attaching the fleece to the mouthplates wasn't the easiest thing in the world. I think i need a fleece with more stretch as antron, and i think i need a stronger glue too.....

    well, i am not wasting anymore money on supplies now for a while, i'll just have to think over what i did wrong, and what i can do to correct it for a while.

  2. CaptCrouton

    CaptCrouton New Member

    Don't feel too bad Bork,

    Once I tried to make an elephant out of an old pair of gray jeans that I owned. His name would be Jean, (ha ha?) But the fabric had really no stretch at all and I busted 6 of my mom's sewing machine needles. I did finally finish him, but he's definitely nothing to be proud of.

    But trial and failure is a better teacher than no trial at all. Sure, you're out a bunch of money on supplies, but the experience is worth it. The next one will be better.

    I don't remember if you were trying to duplicate a certain muppet, but I remember reading in one of the Henson books that it was much more difficult making the duplicate muppet than creating the first one. You might be too hard on yourself not getting the shape right. Just concentrate on making a puppet, or a cool puppet, rather than trying to duplicate Janice or Piggie or whoever.

    You also might consider playing with the look of your "failure" to cover up parts you don't want seen. You may discover a character that you hadn't come up with before. My first puppet from scratch was an "anything"-type human puppet. At "completion," one ear was a slightly higher than the other, some obvious ugly seams were clearly visible, and one of his arms were stitched on upside down. I wanted to keep him without permanent eyes or hair so that he could be modified for "anything." I discovered that people thought he was great just because I was the only person they knew who actually made their own puppet. (I made it in a high school clothing class more than a decade ago) He still is a favorite in my class. I never gave him eyes or hair, just let him be Martin (named after a favorite church usher) a rather confused fella with a hero complex.
  3. officermom

    officermom New Member

    Take heart, BorkBork!

    The "right" supplies exist and as you learn what they are FOR YOU, you will find greater success and happiness with your puppets. A "mistake" is only bad if you don't learn from it. Also, consider transforming your puppet into someone or something which you had never imagined but which might turn out to be fantastic!

    Having built three puppets and started (badly) on a fourth, I endorse contact cement and hot glue. For contact cement, I use a leather-working brand and would suggest the same as might be available in Sweden. I do not suggest using DAP (or a similar brand intended for wood working). It was a horrible sticky mess compared to the Tanner's Bond. Also, consider using a brush and scrap foam cubes to apply the contact cement. I tried it from a squeeze bottle and ended up with thick, crusty foam-to-foam seams. I also whole-heartedly endorse the use of any weight of Antron Nylon ("Muppet") fleece. The stuff dyes wonderfully and has just the right stretch. The nap hides alot of mistakes. ;) I built two puppets using a puppet velour available from One Way Street and, while it was good quality, it just was not "Muppet" fleece.

    Consider getting a video which walks you through the mouth construction process. Many also have great hints about seams and fabrics and foam and adhesives. I have two. One is from ArmsLength and is professional and just super. The second is from VIP and is more amateur-ish but still offers a lot of invaluable advice from someone who actually builds puppets. You don't have to use the company's pattern to gain insight from the video. The principles hold for people puppet building as well as building animals, inanimate objects, or monsters.

    Also, continue to network with other puppet builders. I have gotten some great ideas and suggestions in my personal and on-line contacts with actual puppet builders.

    Don't let yourself be discouraged. Your enthusiasm is your best material!

  4. BorkBork

    BorkBork Member


    Thank you both for your support. It's great to see that you care. i am going to think over my errors for a while, and soon i'll go out and buy som antron too. The glue i used was in a tube, so it was sticky and yucky. I will definately consider some glue that can be brushed on. Anyone got any suggestions on where i can buy some online?

    The video from armslength arrived 2 weeks ago, so i have been watching it :)
    It's great to see someone who really can build puppets.


  5. officermom

    officermom New Member

    The contact cement I now use and is actually recommended by David Pannabecker of ArmsLength is Tanners Bond Contact Cement by The Leather Factory. (The name changed but the formula is the same.)

    The Leather Factory has a website from which I ordered mine. I'm not sure about international shipping but you may be able to find the right link by starting out at their home page at www.leatherfactory.com

    Hope this helps!

  6. BorkBork

    BorkBork Member

    Yes, tanners looks like the thing i need. Thanks. I am ordering it right now ;)


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