Creaturiste's Laboratory

Techniques, works in progress, and everything that doesn't fit in the portfolio. Comments and questions are encouraged, custom orders are welcome!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Simpler Rod Puppet

Click on image to see it full size

Hi all

I just made a simpler version of rod puppet.
It's going to be for workshops aimed at kids from age 10 and up.

My puppet's whole head goes up, down, and 360 degrees, is very easy to make,
and even easier to operate. That head can launch at any moment and reach
the moon!
Most details are done with fun foam and hot glue.

If you don't have pool noodles with a hollow core, you can cut your regular
pool noodle in half, dig out a core with a craft knife, and glue the sides
carefully back together, with hot glue, at low temperature (to avoid melting
that fragile foam).
Or you could use another kind of material. I know a tube can be done with
cardstock and tape.
Or you could use a pvc pipe with a diameter slightly larger than the caliber
of the dowel.

Pool noodles (a form of polyethylene, I think) are so easy to cut,
carve and glue. They only have two weaknesses: they can be bruised if hit hard or if
squished for extended periods of time, and the colors will fade (guaranteed)
when exposed to sunlight. The fade can be a loss of color, or a shift to a
dull, other color.

I have thought workshops where we used those noodles to make decorative
elements on top of other materials.

I actually built this puppet to have a picture of the process for the
workshop proposal I was sending out to a potential customer last night. I spent more time than I planned, just because I was enjoying the character's evolution. I liked the scales' effect,
so I put plenty of them, until I ran out of the green fun foam.

>From actually doing it myself, and from past workshop experiences, I already
know it's going to be easy, and within an hour, most kids would have a
puppet. I'd make sure the workshop lasts two-hours, so we don't have to
rush. I made sure all the steps were made super easy.

For instance, the most difficult part is making the hands, but even this is
very easy.

Each finger is a long rectangle with a rounded end. I put glue inside half
of the length and flatten until cooled. Then I add each finger to the arm.
Decorative applications of Fun foam on top hides the linking. I used the
same exact shape to make the ears. I must have seen this kind of shape
before, either online, or most likely among the hundreds of crafts books I
read as a teenager. Those were the only sources of technical information I had back then.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Paper Mache Casting

Articles about the mold making and casting processes coming soon.
Got the two puppets to finish first...

Molds are made of hot glue.
Very stable, and no small detail can be broken off...

The paper mache strips create a hard shell that is lightweight and extremely strong. They will bounce back instead of breaking. The finished puppets are often mistaken for carved wood.

UPDATE: the finished puppets from these molds and casting methods can be seen in my online portfolio: