Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Rough Puppet

So, I've had some old liquid latex hanging around for a few years and haven't used it for much - I wasn't overly pleased with my early tests. I thought I'd give it another go and made a basic wire armature, glued bits of foam on and snipped it to shape. I experimented with different wire shapes to make the head able to have moving eyes and mouth. I don't think I have suitable wire for expressive eyebrows and cheeks. I'm fairly happy with how the latex works (esp after about 3 years in storage!!), so I'm leaving this puppet unfinished and starting on a proper one.
Add caption

I used a ping pong ball and a piece of wire hooped 4 times - the middle 2 forming the upper and lower lips and the bottom being the chin.

The foam from an ironing board cover works well. I tried polystyrene too (ears). The latex doesn't stick too well to it.

Dipped in latex a few times, then placed some eyes on. Dipped a couple times more. Then slit horizontally across the eyes to create eyelids.

Trousers made from an old black T-shirt but I didn't like em. Off they came.

Jumper made from an old sock. Pose!

I had to trim the ears to half their original size cos they wouldn't fit in the jar I had the latex in. Next time I'll use a wider jar!

I attempted to make hands a few times but they never came out right. I need some thinner wire. I want to avoid the 'giant hands' syndrome.

After a few days the latex had become a bit too stiff, so I may apply less layers next time. The lips and eyebags were coloured with left over latex mixed with a little red pigment and painted on.


  1. Hey man, nice results. You look familiar with the process. I specially love the "Freddy Krueger" shirt :) I would love to see him in movement. Do you plan to do anything with him even if it became too stiff ? How many layers of latex do you think you did ?

  2. Cheers, Vincent. A few people have mentioned the Freddy likeness. He was gonna have a similar hat too!! Completely unintentional! I think it was about 7 layers. His mouth doesn't fully close anymore. I don't think I'll be animating this guy, but I'll keep him in reach, just in case. I've started on a new, full-latex-body puppet, which I plan to have moving this week.

  3. Great progress, dude! I once tried a similar method, but gave up after I couldn't make it work. You've inspired me to try again! Hats off!

  4. Hi Dean, just found your blog. Nice work! I especially like the tinted area for the lips and eyes, and the wire underframe.

    Have you tried coating his head in baby powder or talc? The latex will always look shiny like that before you add the powder. If it gets too dusty, you can wipe it off with a damp paper towel.
    Keep it up man!

  5. Jon* Thanks. Things never go right first time - not for me, anyway. You really do need to play with materials to understand how they behave. If I'd kept the photos I could have posted some failed attempts.

    Duane* Thanks very much. I've read about the talc solution. I will be doing that with future puppets, for sure - so I appreciate the tip. It'll stop the latex sticking to itself too, I imagine. And they'll smell fresh! This puppet is on the shelf now. I have a new one made and ready to dip this evening. Photo's to come this weekend. And maybe a video.

  6. Great pics man!...thanks for sharing the process.


  7. jriggity* Cheers :) I'm starting to think the build-up technique isn't what I'm after. I want more detail and control of how the puppet looks, so next one might be cast in dragon skin.