Latex puppet making
We show you how to create a fully detailed puppet using simple techniques.
There are some credits at the bottom of this article as it uses techniques pioneered by Nick Hilligoss and Michael Parks.
Traditional stop motion puppets are often made using a oven-curing foam latex that forms a "skin" on the outside with a foam filling on the inside. These are fabulous to work with, yet require complex tools and skills to create. We are going to use a different technique that creates a latex skin and fill it out with cushion foam. This technique is simpler and requires little specialized equipment.
It should be noted that some people have an allergy to latex, this techinique is obviously not recommended for latex sensitive people.
Also, gypsum products (used to make molds) create dust and also undergo chemical reactions while setting that can make them extremely alkaline. We strongly recommend you read and follow any safety instructions on the products you use.
View the embedded image gallery online at:This process does take time, it will take several hours over a few days to make your puppet. There are several stages and you must allow for drying time. This is why the first step is important... planning!
View the embedded image gallery online at:The head. The head will be made by firstly building the head around the skull and eyes using oil based clay. We will then make a two part hard cast of the head, and inside that, make our latex skin...
View the embedded image gallery online at:If you have never cast anything before, we recommend you test your technique and materials out with something simple before you attempt casting your carefully sculpted head.
View the embedded image gallery online at:The fun bit!
View the embedded image gallery online at:Building up the layers takes time for the latex to dry. Patience is the key at this step.
View the embedded image gallery online at:Hair, clothes and eyelid secrets.
- Armature (in this case a "Medium Studio Armature" from http://www.animationsupplies.net/armatures/studio-armature-medium.html)
- or - Armature (you could make your own out of aluminum wire)
- "Brushable" liquid latex http://www.sculpt.com/catalog_98/RUBBERS/latexrubber.html
- This latex is commonly available and used to make flexible moulds for plaster casts. In this case we are using it to make the skin of our puppet.
- Cushion foam (the "open cell" variety often found in furniture).
- Cushion / soft toy fluff (polyester fluff)
- Two part sculpting epoxy "Magic Sculpt" (or oven hardening Sculpy / Fimo)
- Oil based clay (plasticine)
- Water based clay
- Ultracal - Herculite - Plaster of Paris
- US - http://www.monstermakers.com/product/ultracal-30-gypsum-cement.html
- UK - http://www.maragon.co.uk/arts-and-crafts.html#Init
- Alpaca fibre (for puppet hair) - or your own / pet hair
- Acrylic paints
- Masking tape
- Plastic bead eyes
- Doll clothes / fabrics
Credits and additional information on this technique:
Big thanks go to these online gurus of puppet making and advice...