How my puppets’ heads are made. Part 1

I can’t really call this a “tutorial”, as everyone has their own way and their own style of doing this. My heads are extremely simple, and do not involve a lot of parts and extras and carving.Maybe someday they will, but I’m really a fan of simplifying puppet heads for maximum expression and flexibility.
Anyway, this might give any newcomers a few tips on dealing with foam and contact cement.

First off, plenty of kitteh help is essential. George Kitteh has graciously volunteered to assist.

Laying the roll of 1/4″ foam out on the floor, I draw my pattern directly onto it. I usually have a pretty good visual in my head of what it should look like, but I make a copy on heavy paper, just in case I ever want to re-make the same head again.
The pieces are cut out–with most of my heads, which are narrow and beaky and muzzled, I only have two sides to deal with; right and left.The mouth is cut right into the head.

Again, kitty help is essential.

Next, I go out to the garage to visit my old friend Contact Cement. This stuff should only be kept in a garage,or shed, or someplace FAR away from any stove, open flame or pilot light. It is deadly flammable. Good ventilation is important when working with contact cement as well, as the fumes are pretty intense.

I even keep my contact cement in its own  container.It gets gummy strings everywhere when you work with it.

Now it’s time to get gloppy. Using a brush that will soon be destroyed, I apply a thin layer of contact cement to the edges of the head–the parts that will be joined together. This glue cannot be washed out of a brush, so it’s good to have disposable ones on hand.

This is a good shot of how it should look; you should barely be able to see the contact cement.

Showing how much NOT to put on.This is getting it a bit too gloppy and uneven, and will take a longer time to dry.

Now there is the 15-20 minute “window” in which contact cement creates its magic. It has to become tacky in order for it to work.

Part 2 coming soon!

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