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.
Following his advice, I began with a clay sculpt of the head and the front of the body.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Brush off the excess cornstarch (or talcum powder). The finished skin is over the armature.
This is what the skin will look in place over the armature. Now we need to bulk it up with some muscles.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.