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Question about Creating Teeth for Muppet-Style Puppets

Discussion in 'Puppet Building and Performing' started by BruceB, Jun 4, 2018.

  1. BruceB

    BruceB New Member

    Hi everyone,

    This topic may have been covered elsewhere, so my apologies in advance if it has, but I was wondering how everyone here make teeth/fangs for their various foam-based Muppet-style puppets.

    Example of what I'm referring to are: Dr. Teeth, Janice, Walter, Animal, and others.

    I've also seen some Muppets who are usually toothless, but had some teeth in a special episode (Like Elmo did in the spot "If Elmo Had Teeth" and in Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me
    "Brushy Brush")

    Anyway, I'm more interested in creating regular-looking teeth instead of fangs...

    Some teeth I've seen on puppets are individually distinguishable (i.e., glued in one at a time, I suppose), while some others that I've seen seem to be a solid bar of foam glued in as one piece, with no individual teeth noticeable.

    My questions:

    1. Are these teeth cast/molded plastic?

    2. Or could these teeth be Painted Wood?

    2. Or are they just high-density white foam cut into desired shapes?

    3. How are the teeth attached? Contact cement or screwed into place?

    Any tips or advice would be appreciated....thanks to everyone here.

  2. Bear Man

    Bear Man Well-Known Member

    I believe most of them are closed cell white foam, cut then sanded into shape and contact cemented in place.

    Animal is a difference story though, his teeth look to me like reticulated foam carved into shape and then painted with acrylic. I’ve made similar teeth by carving them out of upholstery foam, and then soaking in acrylic paint thinned with water and then squeezing the excess out. If the colour wasn’t strong enough, I’ve just repeated the process after they’d dried.
  3. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    The correct answer is...all of the above.

    There really isn't one right way, it really depends on what works best for the puppet you are building, what materials you have available and how much you're willing to spend. Cast/molded plastic is great when you have the time, money and equipment. Carving and sanding high-density white foam is usually the fastest way. Contact cement works great, or even hot glue (just make sure you use good quality hot glue, not cheap low temp glue sticks from the dollar store).

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