ecl's Kermit the Frog Puppet Replica (later builds, using my newest patterns)

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ecl

Sr Member
Very cool! Thanks for sharing—he’s looking good! Has an old school feel to it, which is always fun to see.
 

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ecl

Sr Member
Hi! I’ve honestly never really used discord, although I know some people from a game I used to play had one set up. True that these forums tend to be set up conveniently enough to share information, process, etc. I’m guessing it’s some kind of group chat kind of thing.
 

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New puppeteer

New Member
Hi! I’ve honestly never really used discord, although I know some people from a game I used to play had one set up. True that these forums tend to be set up conveniently enough to share information, process, etc. I’m guessing it’s some kind of group chat kind of thing.
Hello, I was wondering how you got the pupils on his eyes.
 

ecl

Sr Member
For the pupils, I print out a template (basically a photo of an original Kermit’s pupil sized to actual size), and then glue it to the back of some adhesive velvet to use as a cutting guide. I simply use a sharp pair of small scissors to cut them out—not as easy as it sounds though, as you have to make some very fine cuts to make sure the shape is looking good. Then I just peel the backing off and stick them on a toothpick, which i then use to help position them correctly, and then stick them down.

Something like this:

BC79139F-0B00-4319-B6E2-0DDF9871752C.jpeg


If you have a cricut cutter, you can also just use that to easily cut them out that way. I personally prefer doing them by hand, because a lot of the originals show evidence of a slightly imperfect hand cut look. But whatever works!
 

New puppeteer

New Member
For the pupils, I print out a template (basically a photo of an original Kermit’s pupil sized to actual size), and then glue it to the back of some adhesive velvet to use as a cutting guide. I simply use a sharp pair of small scissors to cut them out—not as easy as it sounds though, as you have to make some very fine cuts to make sure the shape is looking good. Then I just peel the backing off and stick them on a toothpick, which i then use to help position them correctly, and then stick them down.

Something like this:

View attachment 1414546

If you have a cricut cutter, you can also just use that to easily cut them out that way. I personally prefer doing them by hand, because a lot of the originals show evidence of a slightly imperfect hand cut look. But whatever works!
Thank you very much. Do you have any patterns I should go by when making the puppet or should I make my own?
 

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Propguyvancouve

New Member
Hello to ecl ! Colin here, Oustanding work on creating Kermit ! Several of them in fact. I’m in the props department here in Vancouver B.C. I’m really interested in attempting to obtain a fantastic Kermit Puppet ! Ive been doing Voice Over work throughout my career. I have been doing my own “ Kermit ” voice since 1978. and I have a small hand puppet ( Fisher Price ) ..its been fun..however Ive got a 4 year old and a 7 year old..and since Covid..well a lot more Dad time ! Ive been thinking that it would be great to have a proper full body version ! I also happen to have a number of items from a very popular show I worked on “ Battlestar Gallactica”.. I’m probably going to get ready to part with those items soonish, and I’m also open to the thought or possibility of trading. If you or anyone you know is interested in helping me achieve this goal, I would of course be grateful.
Thank you
Colin
 
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KOMakesThings

Active Member
I only just saw your post about the Robin replica in the Junkyard, I'm both sad and glad I didn't see it while it was active because I definitely would've blown my budget for the month buying him! Congrats to whoever snapped it up.

With that said, any secrets you can share regarding building him? I imagine you used your Kermit patterns as a jumping off point, but you do such a good job at building these that I'm having trouble parsing how similar Robin's build may be. Presumably the torso and head are separate just as they are for Kermit, but with a much different (and smaller) torso shape for Robin?

At least, I assume that Robin's head is separate from his torso but you're so good at hiding any and all seams that I'm doubting myself!
 

ecl

Sr Member
I only just saw your post about the Robin replica in the Junkyard, I'm both sad and glad I didn't see it while it was active because I definitely would've blown my budget for the month buying him! Congrats to whoever snapped it up.

With that said, any secrets you can share regarding building him? I imagine you used your Kermit patterns as a jumping off point, but you do such a good job at building these that I'm having trouble parsing how similar Robin's build may be. Presumably the torso and head are separate just as they are for Kermit, but with a much different (and smaller) torso shape for Robin?

At least, I assume that Robin's head is separate from his torso but you're so good at hiding any and all seams that I'm doubting myself!

It seems the Robin is very popular, even more so than I’d expected. I tend to have more fun building him than Kermit, because he’s like a simplified version of him (and who can resist how cuddly he looks :lol:). The way I build him, i make his head and body all one piece. He’s so small that there isn’t much reason to make them in two parts.

Below is a rough idea of what my patterns generally look like. For a puppet version, the bottom would need to be modified a little. But in a way, think of Robin as a sock with a mouthplate and eyes. Basically, I started with Kermits head, made some changes to the dimensions (stubbier mouth), and then extended what would normally be a neck into a body! In this case, there would be a vertical seam running down the middle of the body, but it’s easily hidden if using nylon fleece. To give his body shape on the non puppet versions, i just use a combination of shaped foam and stuffing. I’m not even sure if his body has much shape as a puppet on the originals—sometimes he really does look like a sock—but there may have been something simple inside, but there’s naturally a lot less clearance due to his tiny size.

4D6CDC6E-B370-4CAC-A2F6-0CE111F849D7.jpeg
 

KOMakesThings

Active Member
Thank you so much! Robin seems like a fun way to get into puppet building, a little less daunting than starting off with a full sized Kermit. Plus I just love the little guy so much, I have a ton of nostalgia for the old Frog Prince special that he first appeared in. Lotta fond memories of watching that special on VHS in my Grandma's basement... I'm gonna have to get off my butt and make myself a Robin to sit on my shelves (And then hopefully a Kermit when I feel like I've got the process down).
 

ollyhills

New Member
One question I haven't seen pop up yet — how much, typically, does each Kermit cost you to build?

And since a ton of people have asked and received no answer (and I'm probably damning my first question to the same fate now), PLEEEEEEEEEASE can you upload your updated specs and measurements? You'd totally be saving the day for us less talented/patient folks.

Either way though, boy oh boy has this been awesome... seriously, good work man!
 

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season3muppets

New Member
ecl, thank you so much for all guides and patterns! Here's my first Kermit build, with many adjustments and lots of room for improvement.

The arms and legs are way too skinny, and I can't seem to stitch the head perfectly straight. If you look close, the right part of the head is a little higher than the left. Also, I had a really tough time getting the foam body to stick together (I used rubber cement), and you can see the body panels splitting under the fleece. My favorite part about this build is the backwards leg that warped. How did others combat this?

All in all, this process was challenging and Kermit has brought a lot of joy to the household. Can't wait to start Kermit v.2!
 

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ecl

Sr Member
One question I haven't seen pop up yet — how much, typically, does each Kermit cost you to build?

And since a ton of people have asked and received no answer (and I'm probably damning my first question to the same fate now), PLEEEEEEEEEASE can you upload your updated specs and measurements? You'd totally be saving the day for us less talented/patient folks.

Either way though, boy oh boy has this been awesome... seriously, good work man!

Thanks for the comment, ollyhills! To be honest, I don’t share my latest patterns. The thing about a Kermit build—or any other flexible ‘Sock puppet’ type build—is that the pattern for every build will vary from builder to builder anyway. I often do share my early patterns mostly because it provides for a place to start, and the biggest challenge in the beginning is really just problem solving and working through the build (it can also be hair pulling frustrating), which is the most valuable thing because it builds confidence. It’s much better to get to the ideal place through the process than trying to build the ‘perfect one’ right away, which never happens anyway, even with the advanced/refined pattern.

As for how much materials costs to make a Kermit (or a puppet in general), I find that the fabric is most expensive, depending on the type and where you get it from. Puppet Pelts or Weird Kid Store are two great places to go for ‘puppet fleece’—a yard is typically under $50, and more than enough to build one puppet. The rest is fairly straightforward: foam, felt, etc. Most of the investment is in the time I think, and a lot of trial and error in the beginning phases, if you haven’t built puppets before. Although investing in a couple of good quality scissors is vital.

ecl, thank you so much for all guides and patterns! Here's my first Kermit build, with many adjustments and lots of room for improvement.

The arms and legs are way too skinny, and I can't seem to stitch the head perfectly straight. If you look close, the right part of the head is a little higher than the left. Also, I had a really tough time getting the foam body to stick together (I used rubber cement), and you can see the body panels splitting under the fleece. My favorite part about this build is the backwards leg that warped. How did others combat this?

All in all, this process was challenging and Kermit has brought a lot of joy to the household. Can't wait to start Kermit v.2!

Thanks for sharing this photo, season3muppets! I never get tired of seeing other builds—each one is completely unique. That’s the fun part, really. The fleece material is very stretchy, and if your fabric isn’t pinned enough before stitching, it’s possible that while you’re stitching, the seam might end up off /not centered. That could account for the twisting of the leg. That happened many times during my very early build attempts when I was still learning how to put things together. Contact Cement—which is a little different than rubber cement–generally works really well with the foam parts. It stinks and is terrible stuff, but just use in a well ventilated area. It’s best to lightly coat both surfaces, wait a little for it to get ‘tacky’ to the touch, and then press together for a strong bond.

I’m not sure how you did yours, but I usually pin the pieces like this (below, Kermit legs). Using a lot of pins really helps to keep things from moving too much, just remove them as you progress with the stitch. Also, when you’re sewing, it’s also good to practice a light touch. No need to pull overly hard on the thread, and just generally letting the needle do most of the work and not pulling too much on the fabric, etc. That will help reduce the amount of shifting the fabric might go through:

69C488AE-424B-4542-A391-B6017423D491.jpeg


Despite that, your build looks fun and has character, and that’s the whole point! If you decide to make more, it’s only going to get better each time. It’s pretty cool to see Kermit—or any character—appear out of a bunch of fabric and foam isn’t it? It’s kind of magical in a way, and eventually you can even make your own characters too.
 
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ecl

Sr Member
Is it known if there were any hand grips on the Kermit mouth plate?

I’m not 100% certain, although from what I’ve heard, it sounds like there might not have been. The fabric that forms the head appears to fit fairly snug around the hand, enough so to allow for a lot of very expressive movement as the hand will naturally pull the fabric away from the mouthplate, giving Kermit that wide range of shape and expression. I make my mouthplates out of thin pieces of rubber as a base, which helps with the flexibility as well. When I saw one of the originals, it was surprising just how small the mouthplate looked, and the overall size of the head as well. Must have fit like a glove! But of course that will vary from person to person, so each build will be tailored to the user. Certainly larger puppets may benefit from something like grips or loops on the mouthplate for sure.

One issue that might occur with grips on Kermit is that the loops can constrict the amount of movement your fingers will have for the more exaggerated expressions. In a way, if the fabric that forms the head fits well over your hand, the fabric itself is going to do what the loops would do anyway. It’s just that if the head is made too roomy/large, then it becomes hard to use. Kind of like a sock puppet would be easy to get expressions out of, but if that sock were three sizes too large your hand, it’s not going to be ideal to work with.
 
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Skelatorious

Active Member
Thanks for your reply! Will leave them out on my build. My daughter is very keen for me to finish this project and see the finished article. We couldn’t have done it without you, thank you for sharing so much info and time.
 

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