Painting The Heads

The next stage of the head making process is to paint them.
I first sprayed all the heads with a base coat of white primer  

The primer brings out imperfections in the face such as where the sculpey meets the fast cast 

I used a fine wet and dry sand paper to sand all these areas and make them smooth

I re-sprayed and re-sanded the heads 3 or 4 times using higher grade sandpaper to get them looking nice before adding the final skin colour.

I covered the eyes in plasticine to keep them white and then sprayed the heads in a flesh colour 

removing plasticine after drying exposed the white eye

I also added plasticine around hairline to make it easier to paint the hair

Here are the final painted heads

The mouths were done in the same was as head using white primer and sanding before adding flesh tone

Finally to add tone and more realism to the heads I brushed chalk pastels onto cheeks ears and around eyes. It is very subtle but makes a big difference.
This is not a great picture but left is with pastels right is without.

I also made eyebrows from sculpey and the pupils are dots of dried latex which I can move around the eye.

Making Mouths

To make the replaceable mouths for my character I used super sculpey firm.
Using the heads I cast I placed sculpey in the mouth section and moulded it into shape

I then sculpted the basic mouth shape I needed

Here are some examples

once I had the basic sculpts and mouth positions I took pictures of the head and mouths to make sure they all worked and were in the right place. Any adjustments needed were made here. The top teeth need to remain in the same place that is the most important thing to have right. Once I was happy I added final details and baked the mouths to harden them

Here are some of the mouth pieces after baking the next stage will be to paint them

Time To Suit Up!!!

So my main character needed a suit which means I had to figure out how to make one. Considering I haven't made many clothes before let alone a suit it wasn't an easy challenge.
To begin I first measured my puppet to get correct sizes. I then drew patterns for the clothes on paper an traced these onto an old material to make practice clothes before using the suit material. I done this to make sure the clothes fit and if not they could be adjusted at this stage before wasting suit material itself.

paper patter

material pattern

sewing seam line on inside then turn it right way out  

Once I was happy with the practice clothes I moved onto the real thing

all the jacket panels sewn together

Jacket on puppets body

The next section and part which I found most challenging was adding the collar and the lapels for the jacket.

I pinned a layer of fabric around the inside collar of the jacket with enough material spare to allow it to fold over to make a collar

I then shaped and cut the top lapels for the jacket and used contact adhesive to prevent fraying

I added the sleeves to the jacket using contact adhesive to stick it in place before sewing it in for strength.

To make the lapels stay stiff to the jacket I sprayed them with hair spray and then ironed them.

For the shirt I just made the body and collar section as it is the only seen part under the suit jacket

I used contact adhesive to attach collar to body

Final shirt

all that is left to do is make a tie out of blue ribbon and add details such as pockets


I could use a hand!

I have made hands before for a few different puppets using various techniques, so I decided to use the one I have found most effective and with the best results...........but this time it didnt go exactly as planned

I began with hand armatures I made in a previous post

I then sculpted the hands with plasticine over the armature to get the hands I wanted to cast

Here they are on my armature to make sure look and size was good

I decided the method in which I was going to make my hands was to make a two part plaster mold of the original  hand and then use latex to make the final product from the molds.

To make the two part mould  I started off by  building clay half way around each hand leaving the top half uncovered

I added keys in each corner using a sculpting tool, these are to help the two parts of the mould lock together once complete. I also put a layer of vaseline over it so as it will release from the mould once set.

Then the same way as I done for the head in the previous post, I make a wall around clay and hot glued it all together making sure there were no gaps. I then mixed the plaster and poured it in a corner allowing it to cover sculpt 

Once the plaster was set i removed the clay exposing the hands. I cleaned off the remaining clay, covered hands and mould with more vaseline and then repeated the same process above giving me a two part mould of my hands which I could then use to cast the final hands needed.

I decided to used latex to make the final hands. Latex is strong, flexible and good for animating also it is a lot cheaper then silicone and as a student every little helps 

I mixed a small bit of paint with the latex to get the colour I wanted. One problem with latex is that it dries nearly twice as dark as the colour you mix so often it is a guessing game with getting it right! I also added a small bit of latex thickener to help it set

I then applied the latex into the mould to form a skin. I do this to help avoid air bubbles and also so the armature doesnt come through.

as you can see the latex begins to change colour as it sets

I then placed my hand armatures back in the mold and added more latex to cover. I put both sides of the mold together and added a clamp to keep them secure.

Here is where things went wrong!!!

When I opened my mold my hands looked like this covered in dirty looking spots. This had not happened me when I done this before so it surprised me. I thought at first it might be something it the molds so I gave them a good clean and tried again.....same result.
I then thought perhaps it was the latex as it was an old enough bottle so tried with some newer latex instead.......again same spotty result. I figured then that it was probably the armature reacting with the latex.


So to help prevent this I first dipped the armatures in latex to give them a skin and let them dry I figured this might stop whatever reaction that was happening to stop

Hurraahhhhh It worked!!!!! 

.........well for a while

After the mould is opened the latex still isnt fully dry it needs more air to fully cure and as it did the hand colour turned nasty and the dirty spot once again began to appear (It got worse after these pictures)

I realized then that it was the K&S brass tubing which was causing all my trouble so I had to fix it.
To do this i decided to wrap the armature with plumers thread tape

I covered all the metal on fingers and then the rest of the hand so as to make sure no area was exposed to latex 


After many tries and fails I finally had a nice pair of hands for my puppet.

As you can see they are a much nicer colour and spot free. Although it was a pain in the ass to finally get them it was a good learning curve and will have learned from my mistakes for the future

There were one or two holes where there must have been air bubbles but they were easily filled with small drops of the latex mixture.

Finally I trimmed the seem line around the hand and had a nice pair of hands for my puppet.