How my puppets’ heads are made. Part 2!

Although he has a name, I’m just calling this character The Sharkface right now, because it could change.

(I might need a photo for this)
During the 15–20 minute “window” in which you have to wait for contact cement to do its thing, it gets tacky. It takes a little experience to learn when it’s right at “the moment”, but generally it should feel sticky, but dry. Once it is tacky, join the edges together…if the glue is at the right consistency, it will immediately grab onto itself with an iron grip.Then the edges get pinched together to further seal them all the way around.

Now we have the finished sharkface head, without the mouth put in. And here we go, putting in the mouth!

I have never found a better mouth-interior material than composition notebook cardboard.I’ve tried plastic canvas, styrofoam, and a few other things, but nothing else has the right firmness or “feel” to me.So, I tend to stock up on composition notebooks a lot. It’s easy, since they’re often only 80 cents to a dollar.

After separating the cardboard from the notebook, I put it completely in the puppet’s empty mouth, all the way to the edge.Again, there’s no science to this, it’s all instinctive. I then trace around the mouth shape and cut it out. I do it twice, so I have a top and a bottom.

Using Fabri-Tac,I then take the two shapes(after evening them up with each other by trimming) and glue them on a piece of black felt. I leave about 1/2 inch for a “hinge” between the two pieces.

I trim it so there’s roughly a half inch excess all the way around. This is where I will sew the fabric of the face.

Sharkface head and mouth inside.

Time for the contact cement again. I brush a thin band of the glue, 1/2″ wide, around the outside edge of the cardboard pieces, taking care not to get it on the fabric. It is very hard to sew through the glue. No glue needs to go on the hinge in the middle–just the total outer perimeter of the mouth cardboard.

And, of course, the contact cement goes into the foam head’s mouth as well, around the edge—

—using a thin layer as before.


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