Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Making FUZZBRAINS! Part 1

Like many puppet builders, I find that I have a lot of stuff accumulating in my workshop: plastics, foams, furs, fabrics of various types. The problem with this accumulation is that it tends to take up a lot of space. I'd like to believe that I'm not a hoarder. There are certainly no decaying animals under my piles of potential parts, but my workshop can often look like I have a problem throwing things out. So, to offset some of that, I've started working on some small projects, which will be offered for sale through my Etsy store as they become ready.
To start, I give you the FUZZBRAINS! These simple little practice puppets are ideal for the beginning puppeteer to start working on performance techniques or for the person who just likes have puppets around to play with.

Arms/Hands cut and pinned, ready for stitching.
 Heads and arms/hands are made from Antron fleece and bodies are made of shag pile fake fur. When making the hands, I have two patterns: one which outlines the exact shape of the hand and the other outlines about a half-inch around the hand (seam allowance). This makes it easier to stitch on my sewing machine.  
Stitching up arms/hands on the sewing machine (specifically, a 1970's Singer I commandeered from my mother in 1991)
After stitching, I'm ready to snip away the excess fleece. I also carefully snip in between each finger. 
Sharp scissors make this so much easier!
A finished arm/hand, ready to be turned right-side-out.
 After all hands are trimmed, they are ready to be turned right-side-out. I like using a long, thin screwdriver to help turn out each finger, though being careful not to rip seams.
Now, onto foam. Each FUZZBRAIN has a top skull and "brain" made of foam. I use 1/2" foam for the skull and 1" for the brain. Let's start with the skull. Each skull half is cut from 1/2" polyfoam, including a dart, a triangular cut which helps give the foam a round shape when glued.
Foam skulls and brains. That's right, zombies. Foam BRAINS!
Firstly, I glue up the darts for each half using contact cement. Important to note, when using contact cement, please be in a well ventilated area. I prefer to be outside when gluing.  
Glued darts
After gluing up the darts for each skull half, you're ready to glue the halves together. Once applied and the contact is tacky, I start adhering each half together, starting at the mouth point, the point where the darts meet and a the the very back of the skull. Then using my fingers, I sandwich the edges together all the way around the skull.

Foam brushes are great for contact cement application.

A finished foam skull!

So, that's the end of Part 1. Check back soon for more fun making FUZZBRAINS!

No comments:

Post a Comment