Saturday, August 11, 2012

Making eyes at a good looking bird!

I got started on making the eyes tonight!

I started with a styrofoam ball, cut in half...

Then I used spray adhesive to cover the halves with white felt...

Cut off the excess and smoothed/trimmed the wrinkles...

I used scrap material from the beak and body to make the eyelids..

So, let's hold it up and see how they are looking...

I used the lighter grey jacket material for the eyelids for a bit of contrast...

Not bad, eh?  

 A big thanks to ClothespinPuppets for this fab youtube tutorial!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Head and beak attached!

Wow, he's nearly done!  After receiving some marvelous advice from the Puppets and Stuff forum, I used contact cement to attach the foam of the beak to the foam of his head and then hand stitched the fabric.  His beak feels nice and secure and moves freely.   I think he's coming along quite nicely!  All I really need to do now is add a few finishing touches like eyes, plumage and possibly some added details to his beak to cover the imperfections.

You can see his body a bit better in these images as well.  I think the two-toned look worked out quite well, even if it was improvised at the last minute due to a lack of fabric!

I tried to give the arms and hands a wing-like look.  I wish I would have tapered the darker sections towards the bottom,  but I barely scraped by with the fabric I had!  As a result, he has quite a few more seams than I originally envisioned, even one running down his spine!  That is because between two old jackets, I didn't have a single unbroken surface that was large enough for the pattern.

 The two panels of his back were the sleeves of the second jacket, cut into flat pieces and sewn together.  And the hands are separate pieces, as well.  His body is comprised of 9 pieces of fabric!  I didn't use any of the original jacket seams, and those jackets had a lot of seams!

 Oh, and I haven't yet secured the foam body to the fabric.  Any advice on that front would be appreciated.

I think he wound up with a nice profile!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

He has a body!!

Okay, I thought I would get started on making his body tonight... and I finished it!

First, I started by making a simple foam body to go inside.

This is my first time making a foam body for a puppet, but it was easily the simplest thing I have done on this project thus far.

Next came the tricky bit!  I knew from the start that I wanted this to be a glove arm puppet, my first, and I decided to use an old pull-over that no longer fits to save money on fabric.  Unfortunately, it didn't even occur to me that a pull-over doesn't have near enough fabric to make a glove arm puppet! Not even close!  And the material that is there is in small pieces because of all of the seams on the pull-over!  So, I had a dilemma. I didn't want to have to go out and try to buy or find fabric to match the head and the fleece I have left over from the previous puppet builds is no where near the right color.  So, I decided to go back into the hall closet, find another old jacket from my chubbier days (a 2XL, thankfully) and try to piece together my first ever glove arm puppet using the small bits of material I could pull from both jackets using my meager sewing skills (seriously, I had never even operated a sewing machine before I started making puppets a few months ago... my sewing skills are pathetic).  And do it in a way that looked like it was supposed to be that way!  

So... I stayed up all night and here's what I came up with...

The front:

The back:

And the entire thing with the foam body inside and the head pinned together:

Not bad, right?

(Sorry for the shoddy photos... but it's freaking 4a.m.!)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Head is covered!

Okay!  After a harrowing few hours doing battle with the sewing machine, the head is covered!  I made a number of errors, but to my amazement, it didn't turn out to be a total disaster!

From a distance, he looks pretty good!  I haven't attached the beak yet, I'm just holding it in these photos. 

It looks lighter with the flash on, but the lighting in my apartment is wholly inadequate.  You can see a bit here how uneven it is, making his head a bit lumpy. 

I accidentally cut and  sewed it a bit small and the seams don't line up quite right.  Well, they line up okay on the top, but I totally missed on the chin! D'oh!  Also, i accidentally squared off the jowls more than I intended to.

The beak wound up a bit lower than I expected once the fabric was wrapped around the foam, but that's okay.  Hopefully it will open and close a little easier that way.

But on the whole, he's looking pretty good!  I have to keep reminding myself that just a couple of months ago I had never made a puppet without a sock or a paper bag... and now I'm designing one without a pattern to work from!  

Friday, July 27, 2012

Stop motion!

Just for fun, here are a few little stop motion tests I did to test out some software.  Nothing fancy, just shot with a crappy old webcam on the computer desk.

This is N.I.T...

N.I.T. encounters a strange life-form... that takes a liking to him. 

And here's another I did with a couple of toys.  Watching her toys move around blows Emily's mind!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bird head: Ready to sew!

Well, I have my fabric all pinned and ready... but the thread I bought is too light!  And Veronica is sick!  I supposed the bird's head will have to wait a bit.   But in the mean time, here are a few pics.

First, my incredibly expensive fabric sources!  The yellow vest was purchased at Goodwill for under $3 and the Old Navy fleece was mine before I lost weight!  I'm finally getting some use out of that old thing!

And a few shots of my duck's head all pinned up.  As soon as I get a chance, I will be getting the proper colored thread and removing the foam skull so I can get to sewing!  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Covering the beak!

For tonight's adventure, I covered the beak with fabric!  It turned out pretty well... though not as well as I might have liked.  I have to keep reminding myself that this is my first attempt and a learning experience.  And as Veronica reminded me, Jim Henson's first puppets weren't perfect either.

In order to keep the fabric cost as low as possible (in case I screwed it up), I went thrift storing this evening and found a bright yellow fleece vest for $2.90.  Needless to say, it is no longer wearable!

In order  to keep the beak as seamless as possible,  I cut the fabric to the appropriate shape and used the hot glue gun to attach it.  Over all, it looks okay.  But upon closed examination the flaws are apparent.  The points of the beak are bunchier than I would have liked and on the right side of the top beak (pictured above) the yellow fleece and black felt didn't quite meet, due to a miscalculation on my part.

And here you can see the bunchy beak tips I mentioned.  Veronica thinks that the beak turned out really well, but I'm trying to think of ways to cover the flaws.  Maybe I can give him lips?  Or a mustache?  We'll see.