stop motion puppet part 2

When the latex dries, add more detail.

neck area

neck area

That is the neck seam. I stuffed some more cotton in the head.

getting there

getting there

Build up all the areas at once so you have one part drying while you work on another.

a puppet

a puppet

It is starting to look like a puppet now.

clay sculptor

clay sculptor

I use a rubber tipped clay sculpting tool to apply the latex. When dry, the latex peels right off. I use mask latex.

green stuff

green stuff

I add two-part epoxy putty (Green Stuff) for the hands, so there is something solid there.

hands

hands

IMG_6006

You can add really fine detail by dabbing with a toothpick.

spikes

spikes

Notice the tiny spikes on the skin. Just dab and lift.

detail

detail

Those tiny spikes are only the size of a pencil lead or smaller.

add some toes

add some toes

Add some toes made from cotton and latex. Build them up to the desired shape and thickness.

toes

toes

You can pre form these first on the side and then glue them on later like Richard does. Twist the cotton in your fingers, dip in latex, let dry, then apply later.

We will let all of this dry, and then start again later.

Go ahead, make a puppet, have some fun.

stop motion puppet

So, I showed you how to make an armature for a stop motion puppet. Let’s finish the puppet up.

I will be using almost the same technique that Richard Svensson uses. You really should check out his blog. He has made many blog posts about this technique.

http://loneanimator.blogspot.se/2015/03/i-thought-i-saw-that-jersey-devil-part.html

Following his advice, I began with a clay sculpt of the head and the front of the body.

clay sculpt

clay sculpt

I only sculpt the head, and the main body torso. The limbs are usually too much work to mold and cast. This flat side sculpt allows for an easy mold. You could also sculpt the back if you desired, and mold and cast that as well. For this puppet we will only sculpt the front.

clay

clay

This guy doesn’t have a lot of crazy detail, but your sculpt can be anything you desire.

I made a quick and ugly clay wall around the sculpt and then poured in plaster of paris to make a quick and ugly mold.

the mold

the mold

I will probably only use this mold once, so it doesn’t have to win any beauty contests.

When the mold was dry, I poured in some mask latex, let it sit for a few minutes, then poured out the excess.

latex

latex

The latex is now dry in the mold. I brush cornstarch on the latex so it doesn’t stick to itself when I remove it from the mold, and carefully remove the skin.

the skin

the skin

Brush off the excess cornstarch (or talcum powder). The finished skin is over the armature.

in place

in place

This is what the skin will look in place over the armature. Now we need to bulk it up with some muscles.

foam

foam

I use regular cushion foam to create the muscles and fat. Cut it to fit it under your skin. It takes awhile to get it the right size. Tiny scissors help.

skin on the foam

skin on the foam

You can glue the skin on with latex, or glue. Sometimes I wrap it with thread to hold it in place while the glue dries

latex and thread

latex and thread

Now start applying latex. Dab it on. Use cotton balls to add bulk. It takes forever to build up thickness if you just use latex alone. The cotton can be shaped just like muscles and is held in place with the latex.

muscles

muscles

The threads are removed when the first batch of latex is dry. Keep dabbing on muscles and latex. You will have to add some, then take a break while it dries. Come back later and add some more. All of the rest of the puppet will be built up like this. If your back has lots of detail, you could mold/cast the back as well. I have tried to mold and cast the legs and arms, but I find it way too small to work. I always build up my arms and legs and hands and feet.

cotton

cotton

Grab a clump of cotton ball and shape it in your fingers just like a muscle and apply it to the armature bones. Get it stuck at the ends, later you can shape it or compress it down.

neck

neck

This is the neck area. I pushed cotton into the head area to fill up any holes or spots that needed more padding. Keep adding small muscle groups.

slowly

slowly

The wet cotton can be mushed down to form shapes, or puffed up to add dimension, and the latex can be cut when dry and even buffed down. Mistakes can be cut out completely and re done. It is very forgiving.

Keep going, while I go get a sandwich. Sunlight will help the latex dry quicker or you can use a hair dryer. When things start to get too messy, or sticky, take a break, and let it dry some, then come back to it.

Go ahead, make a puppet, have some fun.

Elven long blade

So, we need a hero, an elf type guy that lives near the sea. He uses a long knife. Go.

So, I began with an aluminum bar. I drew out the design on blue tape so I could see the marks.

blue tape

blue tape

I used a dremel tool to engrave the design.

dremel tool

dremel tool

Use your safety goggles boys and girls, there will be a lot of fine metal dust.

I used a circular engraving bit. They sell them right beside the dremel tools in the hardware store.

bit

bit

I carved/engraved right through the tape. Once I was done, I peeled off the tape, and did any touch ups. I cut the blade shape out with a jigsaw and a metal blade.

carved right through the tape

carved right through the tape

close up

close up

There is a close up view of the engraving.

I spray painted the blade black, then sanded it off, leaving the engraved part black.

painted

painted

I glued two pieces of wood onto the handle, and did a ton of sanding. Once it was completed, I applied an oil finish to the wood.

finished

finished

There is the finished project. Let me see if I can find a photo that shows off the engraving better.

engraving

engraving

elven

elven

Let’s tell the project manager something like “the wave design represents to the Elf the homeland where he grew up, and the ocean will always be a part of his soul, and the waves on the blade will remind him to always remember home and the fellow elves that were lost when the Kraken came ashore”.

Perfect.

Go ahead, make a scary long blade, make a mess, have some fun.

fancy leather parts of the scabbard

First, before we begin, you need to go to this site:

http://www.yeoldegaffers.com/project_scabbard.asp

It is absolutely incredible. It was my inspiration for my own leather scabbard. I appreciate how well put-together his site is.

So, following along with his instructions I began the fancy part of my scabbard.

pretty scary

pretty scary

The first cut is super scary. Just check, double check, then triple check and cut slowly and carefully. I cut 5/8″ cuts for 1/2″ wide straps. I chose to use 4.

Keep the leather pretty wet when you slide straps through.

tools

tools

Gently stretch the holes up with a tool. I used my sculpting tools.

long strap

long strap

Leave a radius circle where you split the straps to prevent it from splitting more. This is a great tip for lots of materials, including latex or metal. That hole or circle is way stronger than a sharp V cut.

I will end up cutting those straps thinner as I progress. The widest part of the strap is about 2.5″. I wanted to make sure I had enough. I left everything oversized and cut it down as I progressed.

Slide the top strap in the front slots, wrap it around to the back, and slide it through two slots cut on the back.

first part done

first part done

You can see the wet leather. I got the top strap through the front slots. While it is still wet, press down on the slots, and burnish your leather in place. Press it all down to make it look snug. You want these and all of the slots pretty tight. You will have to tug pretty good on the strap to get it in the slots. It is slow, patient work.

slots in the back

slots in the back

There are the two slots cut in the back. The front strap wraps around and goes through these two.

wrap around

wrap around

The strap goes back to the front, wraps under itself, then up and over and towards the back. Once the strap is on the back side again, a slot is cut and it passes through, like the above photo. There are lots of cuts to make, so keep referring back to the website listed above to figure out the lacing procedure. And only cut the slots when you come to them.

hard part

hard part

This is the bottom belt. This one is tough. You have to cut four slices in the scabbard, then 4 slices in the belt, and pass the straps through all of them. The other website has better photos than mine. But this part takes some focus, and some patience.

bottom strap

bottom strap

The bottom strap comes down a few inches and scabbard leather pokes through a slot cut in the bottom strap. My strap could have been thinner but I was afraid I would not have enough room to fit the top strap in.

belt end

belt end

This is the end of the strap that turns into the top and bottom thin strap. You can leave holes like this, or put a buckle here. The holes are probably historically correct, but I may still put a buckle later on mine.

finished

finished

In the above finished photo, you can see the short strap on the left with the two holes in the end. You can see the long belt on the right. The long belt has to be long enough to go around your waist. I think mine is 2.5″ wide.

the knot

the knot

I cut the straps thinner as they progressed. They go through another slot, then the knot.

finished product

finished product

The long belt is split into two straps that get pulled into the short strap with the holes (where the buckle could go).

shot of the back

shot of the back

There you can see the back side.

the lower belt

the lower belt

For this, you are supposed to use vegetable tanned leather because it stretches easier and you can tool it, and dye it. But this is what I had on hand.

straps on the waist

straps on the waist

The long belt enters the two holes on the short strap, pulled tight, then tied over.

how it hangs

how it hangs

This fancy system helps the sword to hang better, and with more support.

So, there you go, a long, drawn-out project that I have always wanted to do. It takes a lot of time, a lot of patience, and some guts. But it will level your skills up a notch or two by time you are done.

Go ahead, tackle a huge ass project, have some fun.

leather work on the scabbard

Once the wood was completed, I began the leather work.

I cut a piece of leather large to cover the scabbard.

pinned

pinned

I marked the center line and pinned the one side of the leather to the center line. I pulled the leather around tight and cut it so it barely touched the other edge

thumbtacks

thumbtacks

I had to use thumbtacks because pins were not holding well enough.

marked it and cut

marked it and cut

When I pulled the leather over and tight, I pressed on the seam with a pencil to leave a mark. I then opened it back up and cut the leather with scissors or a razor knife

baseball stitch

baseball stitch

I stitched the seam together with a baseball stitch using two needles, like I have talked about in a past blog post. I left the tip for last.

the handle end

the tip

I stitched towards the tip, and pulled it tight, and stitched a little more. You will have to experiment on how to make your tip the neatest that you can manage. It takes some patience.

tip

tip

This is the backside completed.

backside

backside

And here is the front.

front

front

A few shots of the tip.

front side tip

front side tip

And the back side of the tip.

back side of the tip

back side of the tip

baseball stitch

baseball stitch

I had to pull the leather up a little and keep it damp while I stitched so I could stretch it to close the gap. I also applied barge cement to the wood before I wrapped it in leather.

Now the basic part of the leather work is complete. Next steps are the fancy leather work.

Go ahead, make a mess, have some fun.

Refining the wood scabbard

Once I had the basic wood shape, I began sanding.

sanding

sanding

I used a hand wood rasp for the rough start, then a random orbital sander.

corners

corners

You want it pretty thin when you are done, but not too thin. Thinner looks more elegant but it is up to you how brave you are.

less boxy

less boxy

Taper the edges so it is less boxy.

sword

sword

Here is the sword in the scabbard.

swa----ching

swa—-ching

This also shows you that it is metal sliding out of a wood scabbard, so that Hollywood swa -swing noise is all fake.

more views

more views

It is a nice feel to it when it slides in.

final look

final look

I started at this end where I could see the shape, then worked down towards the tip.

ready for leather

ready for leather

the tip

the tip

ok, done.

ok, done.

This is as far as I took it. The next step is the leather work.

Go ahead, make a mess, make a wooden scabbard piece, have some fun.

Wood work for the fancy scabbard

So we made an aluminum sword with the intents of making a fancy leather scabbard for it. See the past blog posts on how I crafted the sword.

The next step is the make the wooden part of the scabbard. I laid the blade on a piece of 3/4″ thick pine and traced around the blade shape. I gave myself just a tiny bit of extra space so the blade would not bind. Once the shape was drawn, I cut a groove in the wood with a wood router, about half the thickness of the blade.

groove

groove

I traced the groove onto a piece of paper for a pattern. I used the pattern to mark the other half. I cut that groove out as well. I held them together and slid the blade in to ensure it fit. Adjust as necessary. Once it fit, I ran the pieces through the table saw to make the wood thinner.

the tip

the tip

You could always just start with thinner wood. Once I had the groove in both pieces, I marked about 1/4″ clearance all around the groove. I cut this shape out with the scrollsaw. You can see the final part above in the tip photo.

I added glue

I added glue

I added glue to the parts that touched when the two halves go together.

two halves

two halves

So, two pieces of wood with a groove cut into them. When put together they make a shell that fits around the sword blade. There are several ways to actually do this. If you don’t have a router, just take flat pieces of wood and glue tiny strips of wood in place as a riser, then glue the pieces together. You could also do this with a chisel by hand if you wanted to.

glued up

glued up

The pieces are glued up and taped in place.

The wood is still thick, and needs to be shaped. The sword slides in and out easily. This wood will get wrapped in fancy leather before we are done. Stay tuned.

Go ahead, make a mess, make a wooden sword scabbard thingy, have some fun.