My journey creating and producing puppetry... trials, tribulations, inspiration and contemplation.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Costuming My Puppet

I love a simple trick to get things done - whether it's the magic that happens during the performance or the little tricks we use in creating our build. In the final scene of my new puppet show, a character breaks out into a song and dance number. He exits the stage and returns in full 'Chorus Line' costume. I purchased some gold sequined fabric and thought that some way, I would find the right hat and vest to cover in the material. I purchased a small top hat for a doll that I figured would tilt to one side on the puppet's head. I wasn't really comfortable covering it with the fabric so, purchased metallic gold glitter spray paint instead. After getting that situated, the hat just looked too small for the puppet.

In creating the vest, I couldn't find a child's suit vest cheap enough so, went about patterning my own - cutting it from a sheet of fun foam and then spraying the cut out foam with super 77 spray glue and then laying it on a flat piece of fabric. After sitting with that, I figured - if I could find a hat pattern, I could cover the flat pieces with the fabric and then fashion the hat. A quick google search and I was set. I enlarged the pattern to fit my needs. The hat was a little tall - more formal for my taste so, I cut it down before I glued everything in place. I ordered a silver sequined bowtie online and I will have a black shirt underneath it all when it's finished. For now - here is the costume in process. Happy World Puppet Day!!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

All Hands On Deck...

...or, these are a few of my favorite things. I went out shopping over the weekend to my favorite puppet supply stores, Home Depot and Lowe's, America's best known hardware stores.

Any puppet builder will tell you that there is no one place to purchase puppet building supplies. There is inspiration everywhere and I compiled some well-known supplies readying myself to complete a build this past weekend. In the image is a package of doll joints from the hobby shop, hands and foam pieces from the fabric store, Weldwood contact cement and a small container of flat black paint from the hardware store, pre-fab wooden handles for the control rods from a materials exchange and drop ceiling wire for the control rods as well [from the hardware store as well.]

Quite a while ago, I purchased The Complete Doctor puppet building tutorial DVD from Dr. Puppet. I have watched the various installments at different points and it's just a wonderful resource to go back to time and time again to re-establish technique for the budding puppet builder. Jay, who runs the Dr. Puppet website, talks through the lessons like a puppet building friend who has tried all the techniques and knows some of the best and easiest ways to get professional results. In my latest viewing, I picked up on Jay referring to the group of puppeteers over at I knew the site but had failed to join until recently. One of the admins at Puppets and Stuff is Daryl of StiqPuppet. Daryl was known for his blogtv channel of puppet building tutorials. I was thrilled to find that Daryl has transferred the videos to a Youtube account. Daryl shows various aspects of puppet making as well as proper puppet performance, cleaning your puppet and even a video on how to keep your puppet workshop organized. We're so lucky to live in this day and age where inspiration is right at our fingertips. Sometimes, I'll even grab the good old Foam Book and just leaf through to stoke the ideas.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't give a nod to Pasha over at Project Puppet who has been SO instrumental in getting my dreams off the ground. His new website Puppetsmith will be providing even more inspiration for puppet builders for years to come, I'm sure. My latest puppet was designed from the Project Puppet Simple Series Roly pattern. His name is Lee and he will be starring in an anti-bullying show for K-5th grade elementary school assembly programs.