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

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ollyhills

New Member
So just how tight should he be? I just quickly whipped together this lil chappie as a proof of concept for myself and to get a feel for the stitching, and I was surprised how tight he was. You can see the knuckle of my thumb poking thru giving him a little off-centre Adam’s apple.

This material is just a cleaning cloth, and isnt at all stretchy. I guess with the elasticity of the antron fleece it probably would just stretch out in this area and provide the rest of the neck with the slight bagginess that Kermit seems to have there?

So I literally just printed your original plan off for the head, no resizing or anything, and cut along the inside line of my marking. His mouth is a totally different shape too—just a quick and simple “near enough does it” guesstimate, which I’m sure affects the tightness too.

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ecl

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
So just how tight should he be? I just quickly whipped together this lil chappie as a proof of concept for myself and to get a feel for the stitching, and I was surprised how tight he was. You can see the knuckle of my thumb poking thru giving him a little off-centre Adam’s apple.

This material is just a cleaning cloth, and isnt at all stretchy. I guess with the elasticity of the antron fleece it probably would just stretch out in this area and provide the rest of the neck with the slight bagginess that Kermit seems to have there?

So I literally just printed your original plan off for the head, no resizing or anything, and cut along the inside line of my marking. His mouth is a totally different shape too—just a quick and simple “near enough does it” guesstimate, which I’m sure affects the tightness too.


Cool! As for how tight it should be, I would say that generally it should feel comfortable around your hand—’snug’—but it shouldn’t actually feel ‘tight’ because you want some room for the head to expand and move when you‘re using it. If it feels like your hand is already filling in the head too much even at resting position, it’s probably slightly too small. What’ll happen if it’s too tight is the fabric will pull on the mouth too much and result in too much of a curl on his mouth-plate. Kind of hard to figure out exactly, since it’s going to vary from person to person. A good way to would be to see what happens when you try to form different expressions—if things are fitting ideally for you, the face should remain expressive but without a ‘stretched’ look. And yes, the shape of the mouthplate will greatly affect how the head will work as well, so it’s good to experiment with that.

As you mentioned, the material will really affect the final result, even if cut from the same pattern. The more tradition puppet fleece is for sure more stretchy and forms shapes better I think. From your photos, you may need to size up the pattern slightly better accommodate your hand, and possibly make the neck a little longer. One other thing that’s important is that when the head is actually attached to the body, it moves and looks different than when separate. What I often do is make the body first and then pin things together to test it out. My current builds have an elongated ‘neck’/‘liner’ that goes all the way into the body and attaches the bottom opening of the body, and also sewn around the outer edge of the neck to the top of the body to secure it, so it makes kind of an inner liner too, but that’s not really necessary.

My older patterns do require some trial and error to make them work for each build, so that’s pretty normal! Overall, it looks like you have the idea down!
 

ollyhills

New Member
Cool! As for how tight it should be, I would say that generally it should feel comfortable around your hand—’snug’—but it shouldn’t actually feel ‘tight’ because you want some room for the head to expand and move when you‘re using it. If it feels like your hand is already filling in the head too much even at resting position, it’s probably slightly too small. What’ll happen if it’s too tight is the fabric will pull on the mouth too much and result in too much of a curl on his mouth-plate. Kind of hard to figure out exactly, since it’s going to vary from person to person. A good way to would be to see what happens when you try to form different expressions—if things are fitting ideally for you, the face should remain expressive but without a ‘stretched’ look. And yes, the shape of the mouthplate will greatly affect how the head will work as well, so it’s good to experiment with that.

As you mentioned, the material will really affect the final result, even if cut from the same pattern. The more tradition puppet fleece is for sure more stretchy and forms shapes better I think. From your photos, you may need to size up the pattern slightly better accommodate your hand, and possibly make the neck a little longer. One other thing that’s important is that when the head is actually attached to the body, it moves and looks different than when separate. What I often do is make the body first and then pin things together to test it out. My current builds have an elongated ‘neck’/‘liner’ that goes all the way into the body and attaches the bottom opening of the body, and also sewn around the outer edge of the neck to the top of the body to secure it, so it makes kind of an inner liner too, but that’s not really necessary.

My older patterns do require some trial and error to make them work for each build, so that’s pretty normal! Overall, it looks like you have the idea down!
Well I guess the elongated neck idea would be good to just go all the way down the arm and out and make for the sleeve. So, elongated neck aside, would you expect the head to cover your whole hand then?

I think when it comes to the day I'll just have to get the body down and then just keep making head after head til I get it right. I have another cloth though I was gonna cut up and use for round 2, so we'll see how that goes (y)

I just realised something though—when I printed the head pattern out it printed at 76%. 100% is too large for a single sheet of A4. I'm guessing this was sized to be what it is? i.e. printing at 100% over two sheets and sticking it back together again if needs be?

Thanks again for all your replies, and thanks for being here for us all (y)(y)(y)(y)(y)(y)(y)(y)
 

ecl

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Well I guess the elongated neck idea would be good to just go all the way down the arm and out and make for the sleeve. So, elongated neck aside, would you expect the head to cover your whole hand then?

I think when it comes to the day I'll just have to get the body down and then just keep making head after head til I get it right. I have another cloth though I was gonna cut up and use for round 2, so we'll see how that goes (y)

I just realised something though—when I printed the head pattern out it printed at 76%. 100% is too large for a single sheet of A4. I'm guessing this was sized to be what it is? i.e. printing at 100% over two sheets and sticking it back together again if needs be?

Thanks again for all your replies, and thanks for being here for us all (y)(y)(y)(y)(y)(y)(y)(y)

76% scale would for sure be too small—that explains why it feels so much tighter. I usually suggest printing the older patterns at around 90% scale, or slightly more at 91-92% if you want to make things a little bigger but still want it to look proportionally okay with the 35mm eyes. Yes, the head should generally comfortably cover your whole hand, with the neck part passing your wrist. There are couple parts that do need to be printed in two and then taped together, but that’s just the arms and legs. The files ‘should’ be formatted to print at full scale on A4 sheets—I’ll have to see what’s going on with that. But since my older patterns are too big anyways, printing them at a reduced scale would be best.

I should probably just size them down to the right scale and then reformat the files...just been too lazy to do that haha. But it’s pretty much the same as altering the scale in the printer dialog box.
 

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KOMakesThings

Active Member
Initially my plan was to start with Robin and get a feel for how his construction is before moving onto Kermit, but then I had the thought "Well, how do I make sure he's to scale with Kermit?". So here I am testing out Kermit's pattern with some felt to give me a reference point. Even with the wrong material/poor glue job his head is looking pretty good so far! I'm really excited to get the correct fleece to see how that looks.

I went with a 3 1/4 mouth plate, I've been told I have small hands even for a woman so I figured the smaller size would work better for me. I do feel like I could possibly scale everything down a bit smaller, the stiffer felt kinda hides it but there's definitely a bit of room in the head right now (Not so much on the sides but vertically, curse my stubby fingers).

I recall reading somewhere (Maybe even this thread) that Jim Henson had larger hands and that when Kermit was performed by someone other than Jim they would wear gloves while puppeteering to fill out the head. I'm thinking I may do that instead of sizing things down to fit me specifically as I do like the current scale.

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Ecl if you don't mind answering another question about your Robin build, can I ask approximately how much smaller Robin's head is to Kermit? Based on the pictures I'm pretty sure Robin's eyes are a smaller dome size (30 mm?) so I'm assuming it's at least 15% or so?
 

ecl

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Initially my plan was to start with Robin and get a feel for how his construction is before moving onto Kermit, but then I had the thought "Well, how do I make sure he's to scale with Kermit?". So here I am testing out Kermit's pattern with some felt to give me a reference point. Even with the wrong material/poor glue job his head is looking pretty good so far! I'm really excited to get the correct fleece to see how that looks.

I went with a 3 1/4 mouth plate, I've been told I have small hands even for a woman so I figured the smaller size would work better for me. I do feel like I could possibly scale everything down a bit smaller, the stiffer felt kinda hides it but there's definitely a bit of room in the head right now (Not so much on the sides but vertically, curse my stubby fingers).

I recall reading somewhere (Maybe even this thread) that Jim Henson had larger hands and that when Kermit was performed by someone other than Jim they would wear gloves while puppeteering to fill out the head. I'm thinking I may do that instead of sizing things down to fit me specifically as I do like the current scale.

Ecl if you don't mind answering another question about your Robin build, can I ask approximately how much smaller Robin's head is to Kermit? Based on the pictures I'm pretty sure Robin's eyes are a smaller dome size (30 mm?) so I'm assuming it's at least 15% or so?

That is shaping up real nice! Especially around where the cheeks are—looks like you’re getting some good definition there. I’ve actually made a 3 1/4“ mouthplate before—crazy how taking 1/4” off the width can make such a big difference—and I think it can work really well, and also gives Kermit a slightly tighter looking ‘smile’, which I really like.

I’ve heard that about Jim Henson as well, and it just illustrates how specific this kind of flexible puppet can be for the performer. Also a reason why one set of patterns wouldn’t work the same for everyone!

I’ve been using 30mm domes for my Robin builds. That‘s mostly because I think it contrasts the 35mm domes on Kermit pretty well, and also because I found clear plastic Christmas ornaments that come in halves that are perfect for eyes (need to be painted). Personally, I think my Robin builds could be made slightly bigger, but it’s so hard to pin down his scale, even from references. Sometimes he looks absolutely tiny, and sometimes less so. Not to mention camera angles, changes to the builds over the years— it’s hard to pin down. I just went with something that I think complements Kermit. Something around 15% sounds about right. I usually scale everything using the eyes as reference. Even then, it’s possible to go slightly smaller, or slightly larger with measurements without looking off proportionally, so there’s room to work with!

I don’t have a Robin here currently, but here’s a pic taken earlier this year. (Kermit in this photo uses the fleece from Weird Kid Store. Right now it’s my favorite fleece because of the texture):

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KOMakesThings

Active Member
That is shaping up real nice! Especially around where the cheeks are—looks like you’re getting some good definition there. I’ve actually made a 3 1/4“ mouthplate before—crazy how taking 1/4” off the width can make such a big difference—and I think it can work really well, and also gives Kermit a slightly tighter looking ‘smile’, which I really like.

I’ve heard that about Jim Henson as well, and it just illustrates how specific this kind of flexible puppet can be for the performer. Also a reason why one set of patterns wouldn’t work the same for everyone!

I’ve been using 30mm domes for my Robin builds. That‘s mostly because I think it contrasts the 35mm domes on Kermit pretty well, and also because I found clear plastic Christmas ornaments that come in halves that are perfect for eyes (need to be painted). Personally, I think my Robin builds could be made slightly bigger, but it’s so hard to pin down his scale, even from references. Sometimes he looks absolutely tiny, and sometimes less so. Not to mention camera angles, changes to the builds over the years— it’s hard to pin down. I just went with something that I think complements Kermit. Something around 15% sounds about right. I usually scale everything using the eyes as reference. Even then, it’s possible to go slightly smaller, or slightly larger with measurements without looking off proportionally, so there’s room to work with!

I don’t have a Robin here currently, but here’s a pic taken earlier this year. (Kermit in this photo uses the fleece from Weird Kid Store. Right now it’s my favorite fleece because of the texture):

Thank you! I was pretty excited to see those cheeks, they really make a big difference in how the head feels. Kermit is so simple that the cheeks really add a lot of personality to his face, something I didn't appreciate until I started reading through this thread.

And thank you for mentioning the Christmas ornaments, I actually have some of those stashed away and it never crossed my mind how they'd make for perfect dome eyes! I've still got some supplies I need to order before I make the final versions so that sounds like a good excuse to try and draft Robin's pattern (And practice Kermit's build a bit more).
 

itsjustadam

New Member
I hate to ask ecl, as it's a question I'm sure has come up before, but do you you ever sell any of your Kermits? I've wanted one for ages but as you know they aren't very easy to come across. I'd love to build one but I'm afraid I just don't have the time or skillset. To be frank, your Kermit is the nicest replica I've seen and I've been looking at it for a while.
 

Frelax

New Member
Is there any way there’s any links or images to you version 4 or 5 measurements and shapes of the body and parts I’d love to make my own I can see there’s a few idea images on here; or if you don’t want to just put those out there I get it but I’d pay a pretty buck to have the specifics of your design thanks
 

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Frelax

New Member
Is there any way there’s any links or images to you version 4 or 5 measurements and shapes of the body and parts I’d love to make my own I can see there’s a few idea images on here; or if you don’t want to just put those out there I get it but I’d pay a pretty buck to have the specifics of your design thanks
My main questions is around body length and height recommendations on how to get a smaller more accurate look like the 4 and 5 as well as estimations on arm and leg lengths sorry to add more
 

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