Mar 30, 2011

Making a Foam Latex Puppet: Part I


So I'm learning a new way to make foam latex puppets for stop motion and I'm freakishly excited about it! Before, I was creating puppets by layering sheets of foam over the armature and then cutting away using tiny craft scissors to create the shape of the puppet. It was a very slow, tedious process and getting a smooth surface was difficult. But with this other method, you create a sculpt of your puppet, create a mold from that, and then you can foam your armature using the mold. 


I started out by doing a turnaround of my character, which I kept really simple because it was my first time doing a puppet using this method and I'm going to use this puppet mainly for animation exercises. The design is also simple because I hate character design. There, I said it! I can always see ideas for characters clearly in my head, but getting it onto paper is a struggle. Turnarounds are important though, so I do them!



Next, I made a simple armature out of aluminum wire and propoxy. The legs ended up being a bit too short. I should have left the wire extra long so that a bit would stick out from the bottom of the foot, making it possible to  prop the sculpt up on a base.



Here's the completed sculpt! I used Roma Plastilina for the sculpt, which is an oil based clay. Two things I wish I did differently are using a different brand of clay and getting one that has a harder consistency. My clay had a strong sulfur smell to it that stayed on my hands even after I washed them. The clay was also a bit too soft, if I was doing a more detailed character it would not have turned out well. But I stuck with what I had since my character was simple. 


You can use Bestine or Citri-solve to smooth your sculpt out, but I didn't do that for mine since I'm going to be crocheting around the outside of my puppet. Overall, I'm really happy with how it came out, it's a nice change from snipping crazily away with scissors!

I got this great dvd about the whole process of making a foam latex puppet, which really helped me along. The dvd is by Kathi Z. of Zung Studios and it came with lots of info sheets about where to buy your supplies and lots of helpful tips. I highly recommend you check it out and make a puppet of your own!