Building a Puppet that Feels Pretty

After looking for inspiration and settling on “I Feel Pretty”. We now had a song and a concept for the puppet. The thought was we could use a red costume wig on a puppet that from the front would have a big lopsided lip, possibly cross-eyes, one eye larger than the other, a witch like nose, hairy brow and chin.

I then set to work using non-hardening clay to make a model. Large chin tall head, I added a brow and nose for details that I would add later.

Next I wrapped the clay in cling wrap, and then a masking tape. On the masking tape, I marked the details like mouth, eyes, and the hemisphere, as well as register marks.

I was able to use a razor blade to remove this and flatten the pattern, which I then scanned and increased in size. I then made a 1/3 scale prototype from foam to test the pattern.  Based on the Prototype, I made a few changes and blew up the pattern to full size.

Next we assembled the materials. Not having time to dye antron fleece, we picked up a sickly grey large pile fleece. While picking up the skin fleece, we found a child’s dress that we picked up for $15.  I had on hand some fleece for the lips, some fur, and felt of various colors. Having foam, fleece and more I was ready to cut and assemble.

The thing I most enjoyed on this was using so many different techniques. I used Dry Fast Foam at almost an inch thick to create a theatre scale of the puppet. I created mouth plate using some of the techniques from BJ Guyer’s class using leather and a three piece mouth plate. I used the softer poly foam for the corners of the mouth. I used foam tubes for the arms and wire between to pieces of foam for the hands. I used Dr. Puppets pattern for the chest, and for the first time patterned my own head.

After checking the head body and hands I added some extra layers of foam for facial features, and started covering.

Once covering was complete I sculpted the nose from L200. I had vacuformed some eyes from some some half egg molds I made. Next, pinning the eyes, nose, and some foam for the mouth I could see the face come together. Using Photoshop I tried some colors and features to make sure we were both happy with the look.

The last step was to finish it like the image. Using fleece selected earlier I covered the foam and added  the lips. I cut fun foam for backing for the eyes, and lashes, and covered the lid in felt. I decided the fur I had was wrong and use a feather boa. Last I stitched on the wig, added teeth cut from a makeup sponge.

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