building a new set for Woolly Monster puppet

ok, everyone pull up a seat and lets begin our next set. This set is designed for the puppet that Woolly Monster (Ceri Watling) sent to me from the UK in our puppet exchange program at

After the set was cleaned up from our last film, I went to the library and read some books by Bob Ross the famous oil painter. I am trying to learn oil painting on the side. Well some of his techniques can be used with fast drying acrylics. So, began painting my set background with acrylic paints using some of his landscape techniques. I have no pictures in progress of that part but this is what it ended up looking like when done. Remember the set is about 3′ or 1 meter long.

Once the painting was completed in the back I started a cushion foam base for a tree in the corners to help hide the seams where the back meets the sides.

Here is photo of the background with a little less glare.

This is my pile of assorted brushes, paints, knives, and whatever else.

To hide the seam where the back meets the ground I built up a berm (a small hill made of earth) out of paper mache.

I paper mached over the tree form on the right side

The beginnings of a tree…only here to add depth and to hide the corner seam.

I also added the same tree idea in the left corner.

The berm will get grass later but for now I painted it black so none of white would show through the grass.

I added a mid/foreground tree. I twisted up electrical wire, glue it to the floor and then paper mached over it to make a trunk and branches.

Added the same type of tree on the left side. I also started laying out some silk plants I had in my prop box.

Here are some of the extra plant props being assembled.

This is the first test shot looking at different camera angles for filming and figuring out a puppet’s path. I have to be careful about that glare on the floor and have to prevent any shadows from hitting the back wall because that would ruin the illusion that it is a real 3d space.

So that is what I have so far. All of the white paper mache will be painted black and then grass glued on.Ā  More in the next post.

So, I know what you are thinking, “wow that looks great but I can’t do that, because I am terrified that I might make a mess”….well, I can almost promise you that you will make a mess. I can also promise you that it will be fun, and almost guaranteed it won’t hurt you in any way.

Go ahead, make a mess, have some fun.


5 responses to “building a new set for Woolly Monster puppet

  1. That paper-mache tree is awesome!


  2. Ceri (Woolly)

    Wow, that looks fantastic. I think the Ent (or whatever you are casting him as) will feel very at home. I love the gnarled twisty looking trees.

    The samurai is still impatiently waiting to be animated. Projects with deadlines keep taking priority and the samurai is not happy about it… maybe I’ll let her take part in the drunken soundbite challenge. I wonder if she likes saki?


  3. castlegardener

    the set is pretty much finished, now all I have to do is learn how to lip sync…I am using a free ware suggested by woolly, jlipsync which somehow makes all your puppets sound like they have a Bolton UK accent.


  4. (^ try putting some unintelligible subtitles to it.
    (^ know: seriously. and try to get some folks around your place to do voices just fer funzees.

    (^ and ceri? perhaps the drunken challenge could be a lead in to HOW the sameri firsts SEES your monsters?

    (^ like oopsies perhaps I drank too much?!
    (^ and the poor little softies keep giggling and jumping out of the way of the katana or however you spel sword in sameri language.
    have one sand on the blade. a light one: learn to do flight rigging as the REAL challenge?
    when’s the drunk deal due?

    (^ my mind’s dancing all over the place from watching too many old black and white music videos.


  5. greatly done set – really suiting a wooly monster (as Ceri already commented), and thanks for the hint about Bob Ross ! Sure I knew him but couln’t remember his name anymore. Ah, web 2.0 can really work like a charm

    (^ try putting some unintelligible subtitles to it. – what an idea. Giving me ideas… thinking about the subtitles during the titles sequence of “Monty Pyhton and the Holy Grail!”…


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