Skinning the puppets? Posted by bluetackman on Jun 25, 2015

So I've made my foam puppet bases using a pattern I found online and now I'm ready to skin them. I have anti-pil fleece in various colours for the job.

I have done a lot of research and I've found there are two good ways to apply the fleece: either a) trace the original pattern I used onto the fleece and glue/stitch this onto the foam or, b) wrap the foam in fleece then pin and cut, pin and cut.

I'm a beginner to this, which method would you recommend for skinning my puppets? Pic enclosed is what I have made so far.

I've got a lot of fleece to do some trial and errors, but obviously I'd like to avoid doing loads of do-overs if possible.


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Re: Skinning the puppets? Posted by jeezbo on Jun 25, 2015
This is a tricky one to advise on really, as you say that you are a beginner to skinning a puppet/making puppets, so either way you might encounter a few minor problems, but I would say that tracing your patter is a good place to start, but trace it slightly larger to allow for a seam/the pieces to be sewn and for you to lose a little around the edges, its not massively hard to do and im sure you will have success, but it really is a learning curve and there have been times people have created these lovely skins for their puppets and then went to put them on the foam puppet and they where too small!! but saying that as long as you remember to enlarge the pattern a bit, you should be fine.
doing it the other way where you pin and cut the fabric is a little more advanced I would say, but this doesn't mean that it might not work better for you or you might get on better with it, I would just say that it takes a little more knack as you would have to be pretty near perfect where you cut (although stretchy fabrics can help to minimise this and help to give a nice smooth skin once all is sewn) and sewing those bits together afterwards can take a bit of practise to make look good, however if you do choose to give this method a go, then plan your seams cleverly, make sure you drape the fabric and cut where the seams will be in areas that might not necessarily be the most noticeable or at least make the ones on the face where you might be able to cover them a little with features, like the nose, eyes, etc..
Any way you choose, I wish you luck, they are both good methods and are both great to have under your puppet building belt and both will help to make great puppets that look professional.
Re: Skinning the puppets? Posted by jeezbo on Jun 25, 2015
Just out of curiosity, where in England do you live?
Re: Skinning the puppets? Posted by bluetackman on Jun 25, 2015
Thanks very much!

I was leaning towards tracing the pattern onto fleece and doing it that way, because it seems a bit more beginner friendly and easier! And should provide roughly the same result, right?

I do not actually live in England, I live in Wales - England's little cousin of a country strapped onto the side.

I'll post progress pics when I fleece the puppets (which will be next week) to help others in a similar situation.
Re: Skinning the puppets? Posted by Shawn on Jun 26, 2015
Tip for the future. It looks like you have already glued the ears and noses on.  In the future it well make things easier if you wait to attach these to the head base after you cover in fabric. Cover the base head and then cover the pieces you want to add. You can then glue or stitch those to the base. Also say in the case of the ears, you might still want to actually glue the foam of each for stability so you would leave or cut a slit in the fabric of the head then trim the fabric back on the ear so it comes right to the base of the ear. Then glue foam to foam and do hand stitch to connect the fabrics. Noses if they are small well normally stay on ok without having to do this but ears need a bit more stability.

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