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Large puppet mouth

Discussion in 'Puppet Building and Performing' started by biblebetty, Sep 18, 2003.

  1. biblebetty

    biblebetty New Member

    I have a question for everyone. I have just builted a large whale puppet to swallow Jonah. The puppet team suggest that I make only the whale head and make it larger! The problem I have is that I don't know what to use for the mouth. I don't want to use wood, because even a light piece of board is still too heavy. Does anyone have a suggestion on what kind of material to use on a large mouth.

  2. puppets_etc

    puppets_etc Member

    How big is big?

  3. Tztz

    Tztz Member

    Hello!! :) :) :)

    what about cardboard, really strong one?
  4. puppets_etc

    puppets_etc Member

    If you are using cardboard, double it to make it stronger.

  5. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    Cardboard will certainly work, but even better (and stronger) is corrogated plastic, often sold under the brand name Corroplast. That is the material real estate signs are often made out of. Large sheets (2'0 x 4'0 and 4'0 x 8'0) can usually be purchased in better art supply stores. A 4'0 x 8'0 sheet should cost $14 - $20 US. You can also check at local sign shops and real estate agencies - they might have old signs or scraps to give you.
  6. Torarin

    Torarin New Member

    there is a type of wood which I think is called aircraft plywood (used to make hobby airplanes)which JHC uses on stiff puppet mouths. I've seen it used on elmo, it's like a really light and thin plywood. (Perhaps it is balsa?) Most of the big muppets don't have mouthplates (not a hard one anyway), I'l try to explain how they work. First there's the foam rubber shape of the upper mouth. This is either carved so that you can put your hand between it and the mouth plate or if it is extreamly big it's carved hollow and a sheet of foam is glued on to hold your hand in place. Then theres a foam sheet where the upper mouth plate should be. In the lower mouth foam is also used as mouthplate. However, to keep the thumb from just bending the foam up, the thumb cup (heh, funny word)is actually fastened to the foam under the mouthplate instead of on the mouthplate itself. The thumb cup is made by folding a thin peice of foam down to shape an upside down U. The two edges are then glued on the lower foam shape, and might be reinforced with more foam sheets.
  7. ddavisborg

    ddavisborg New Member

    I had a friend who made a whale head to swallow Jonah for a puppet skit we did to the song "Turn back Jonah" a few years back. The whale head was made of a wire frame covered with a black heavy trash bag. She gave it eyes and made teeth out of fun foam. The head was hollow so that when it came to the part of the whale swallowing Jonah - the whale head came up, Jonah put his head in the whales mouth and the two went down behind the curtain. Then they came back up only this time Jonah was inside the whale head. The whale head was big enough to fit over the Jonah puppet and the mouth was open and big enough so you could see Jonah inside. The kids loved it - it was one of the more popular skits we did. We even got the big ooh ahh when Jonah came up in the whale head. I think the wire frame was made of clothes hangers if I remember correctly.


  8. HandySam

    HandySam New Member

    What a cool idea!

    I think we might try something like that in our Jr. Youth group. Thanks for the idea. I might try building the mouth as big as the stage though which is about 120". I wonder if I can make such a puppet from insulating foam board and the trash bags and wire you spoke of. id use the styrofoam insulation for the mouth pallets and put teeth on them.( very scary!! :eek: ) ahhhh yes and then when we show Jonah in the whales belly we can just change all the backdrops to the red ribbed innerds of the great fish :excited:

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