My Kermit the Frog puppet

Discussion in 'Replica Props' started by Lynn TXP 0369, Apr 9, 2006.

  1. Lynn TXP 0369

    Lynn TXP 0369 Sr Member

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    **EDIT***
    New pics of my Kermits progress in my last post.
    The body is now on.

    Lynn

    **END EDIT***

    I have the MR Kermit the Frog poser puppet on order, but I wanted a true hand puppet, so I decided to go ahead and start to make my own.

    It is not coming out too bad so far since I have no clue as to what I'm doing and how to make a puppet, so I'm totally winging this by the seat of my pants.

    I joined the Muppet Central forum http://forum.muppetcentral.com/forumdisplay.php?f=23
    and asked many questions to get this project going.


    I got a Fisher Price 1976 plush toy off eBay to help use referance to make it and I used the pattern of the Fisher Price head from the MCF by up sizeing it by 125% to make the head.

    I used green Alpine fleece for the main head, stiff red felt for the mouth, regular felt for the mouth detail parts.

    The color may not be perfact, but it looks pretty good. The Alpine fleece dosn't accept dye to well, but if dyed it does tint just a bit, so I dyed it with dark green just to try and darken it a bit and worked.

    I used 1/2" foam to make a "skeleton" to pad out the head just a little and I used rubber matt material to make the mouth a bit stiffer for manipulation.

    The eyes are regular ping pong balls cut in half and glued in place. I drew on the pupils to get a feel for them before I paint them in. The real pupils I believe were fur flocked, like and old Adventure team bearded Gi-Joe, and not painted in. I'm just going to paint mine.

    I made a test trial out of all white fleece to see how it went together and I learned a lot of things sewing this up.
    I have no clue on how to do the body, so I gotta study the Fisher Price toy to get a feel for it and draw up a pattern and try that and do a practice run in white fleece.

    I gotta decided on wether I want to do my puppet with just the arms and no legs, or a puppet with legs, I'm leaning towards to a puppet with no legs.
    I will probably do it as a stick pupper with the sticks for the arms, I still gotta decide that as well.

    I'll post more pics later as I make more progress on it.
    Enjoy the pics.
    Lynn
     
  2. The Mantis

    The Mantis Sr Member

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    That is * good.
     
  3. Apollo

    Apollo Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Great job so far Lynn..

    For someone just winging it you have done an outstanding job so far..
     
  4. turok96

    turok96 Well-Known Member

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    That is good work for just winging it. Keep those progress pics coming. :)
     
  5. Lynn TXP 0369

    Lynn TXP 0369 Sr Member

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    Thanks for the comps guys..
    Yes, I'm totally winging this and I think I figured out how to do the body pattern..

    After watching the Muppet show some more right now I realized Kermits body is kind of shaped like a balloon, If I blow up a balloon to his body size I could cover it with paper mache and then cut it apart to make the pattern.
    I may even be able to keep it and use it as the inside frame to keep him filled out.
    Lynn
     
  6. vaderdarth

    vaderdarth Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Lookin great Lynn...........can't wait to see the final pics. :)

    Dave
     
  7. Lynn TXP 0369

    Lynn TXP 0369 Sr Member

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    Thanks..

    I redid his mouth a bit so that he can smile better and to give him thinner lips.
    I also redrew the pupils a little to make them more better placed.

    Lynn
     
  8. NakedMoleRat

    NakedMoleRat Sr Member

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    Looks like Kermit to me. Keep up the good work.
     
  9. TomSpinaDesigns

    TomSpinaDesigns Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    great job so far man. Can't wait to see him done.

    Tom
     
  10. rmschneider104

    rmschneider104 Sr Member

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    Yeah, that is definitely great. Are the eyes anything other than ping pong balls cut in half?
     
  11. DarthBish

    DarthBish Well-Known Member

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    That, my friend, is sen-freakin-sational...keep up the GREAT work
     
  12. gonk27

    gonk27 Sr Member

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    He looks great and nice idea for the body.


    I want to get some antron fleece (Henson muppet fabric) and try a muppet, or muppet-styled character myself at some point, I'm a member of the Muppet Central forum too by the way, but not a very active one at the moment, there's a lot of talented folk over there.


    Watching Kermit closely I've never been able to work out just how much the shape of his head is formed by interior foam and how much is just the shape of the puppeteer's hand? There must be some foam at the front, but from behind you often see (I think) the puppetter's knuckles showing through the material meaning there can't be much padding there..


    Jeremy
     
  13. RoCKo

    RoCKo Sr Member

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    looking very good. :thumbsup
     
  14. Lynn TXP 0369

    Lynn TXP 0369 Sr Member

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    Thanks for the comps guys...

    Yes, there is a lot of talented folk over there..
    What is your forum name? Mine is Boba Lynn.

    From what I have read and been told by the guys on the MCF that is all of Jim Hensons hand inside Kermits head, the newer ones may have foam insind because it is new puppeteer, but not when JH did him. I guess JH had some huge hands.

    Lynn
     
  15. phase pistol

    phase pistol Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    You make it look easy... to be green. :thumbsup

    - k
     
  16. gonk27

    gonk27 Sr Member

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    I'm just 'gonk' over there. Posted a bit in the puppetry forum, but not for a while. I keep meaning to get back there actually, pick up a needle and thread and get started on a puppet but always get sidetracked.

    I like the idea of doing either a Kermit like yourself or maybe a freestyle creation of my own with vivid, colourful wavy feather hair, fleece and characterful eyes like those wonderful muppets have. :)

    Thanks for the Kermit info. It's amazing to see the range of expression Jim Henson was able to get into the frog's face just through shifting his fingers around a little. Pure genuis.


    Jeremy
     
  17. Lynn TXP 0369

    Lynn TXP 0369 Sr Member

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    Thanks.
    Yep, they are just plain old ping pong balls cut in half for the eyes.

    Lynn
     
  18. SithLord

    SithLord Sr Member

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    I think you have an eye for 'ol Kermit.... :thumbsup


    Nicely done....


    t
     
  19. Lynn TXP 0369

    Lynn TXP 0369 Sr Member

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    New progress pics up 4/24.

    Lynn
     
  20. Apollo

    Apollo Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Wow. Still coming along VERY nicely..
     
  21. Prop-Maker

    Prop-Maker Well-Known Member

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    I remember saying someone could easily make their own Kermit when MR announced theirs. I was right, too. Great job. If needed, I can imitate Kermit very well. :D
     
  22. DarthBish

    DarthBish Well-Known Member

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    Me too.....listen to THIS..

    (ahem)...."It's the MUPPET SHOW"


    good, hey
     
  23. Lynn TXP 0369

    Lynn TXP 0369 Sr Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Prop-Maker @ Apr 24 2006, 10:38 PM) [snapback]1232558[/snapback]</div>
    :lol
    Thanks..
    I wouldn't say it is easy. ;)
    It has taken me a while to get the body pattern down and I had to resew it a few times.
    I'll probably end up making several until I get it to where I want it, then I'll have to figure out what to do with the extras. :lol

    Lynn
     
  24. spcglider@aol.com

    spcglider@aol.com Sr Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Lynn TXP 0369 @ Apr 9 2006, 04:40 PM) [snapback]1223039[/snapback]</div>

    As an experienced puppet builder, I can tell you that you're really doing well with your intuitive construction.


    As for making a pattern with papier mache, I would suggest that instead of using something that will get really hard, try using many many many overlapping strips of DUCT TAPE (yes, another use for the world's most popular sticky stuff) on the balloon. It is more flexible and will be easier to flatten when you cut it apart.

    If you continue making puppets, you will eventually move to using real "antron" fleece. You have to dye it yourself as it comes in white. There's a company called "Georgia Stage" that carries it (or at least, carries the new replacement for it as the ANTRON company stopped making the original).

    Another great secret for really fluid puppet building is that you can get red rubber toilet gasket in sheets from your local hardware store. Buy the stuff off the roll... its a billion percent cheaper than the pre-cut stuff in packages. That's what the Muppets use for their mouth palettes lined with Ultra Suede. You'll need to use barge cement or contact adhesive to put it together, but it's great stuff.

    You obviously have a talent for understanding how to make a pattern, which is very good. And you're able to translate 3-D forms into workable flat pieces.

    Another tip: If you have access to a decent photocopier, you can size up images of Kermit to gain rough measurements for his body size, arm diameter and length, neck length, etc. Its a good way of maintaining proportions that you like.

    Keep it up. Nice work.

    -Gordon

    WWW.PUPPETFORGE.COM

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(gonk27 @ Apr 10 2006, 12:35 PM) [snapback]1223594[/snapback]</div>

    When Jim had Kermit on his gigantic meat hooks, there was no padding at all. When someone else had to puppet Kermit, they had a little foam bit they would slide in and pad him up so his head didn't look like it was caving in.

    -Gordon
     
  25. Lynn TXP 0369

    Lynn TXP 0369 Sr Member

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    Thanks for the tips Gordon.. They will help alot.

    Yes, it is pain to try and figure out patterns for this thing, I have made at least 4 patterns to get the body where it is now and I think I still need to tweek it a bit.

    I started a third and larger Kermit head this morning, I changed my mouth pattern to make it less pointed, I want to steer it away from the Fisher Price patter a bit as that is what I'm using for the head, I will see how that works out.

    I was going to use the Antron fleece for my Kermit, but from pics I have seen and the info the guys had on the MCF Kermit was made with a more traditional fleece as he was more pilly. Antron seems to be less pilly.

    I have seen replica Kermits made in Antron, including MR's, and it dosn't look right like he did on the MS in the 70's, that is look I want. The newer movie Kermits may be made in Antron, but apprently not the older MS Kermits.

    I will have to adjust my body pattern just a little bit, I'll know better when I get the arms and legs on this one. I'll probably end giving this one to my daughter as she loves him.
    When I get it tweeked a bit more it should look a bit better.

    Thanks again,
    Lynn
     
  26. vaderdarth

    vaderdarth Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Antron predates the original muppet show from what I understand and supposedly it was used on that show too. True that the "new" Antron isn't as pilly as the older material..........it's still a good choice as you can brush the seams to hide them. Regular pilly fleece won't hide seams very well. Just a thought.

    Lookin great by the way.

    I suggest when making these parts..........that you machine stitch the most visible seams.........and then place the material over your foam forms............then pull to tighten the shape and turn under and hand stitch the final seam. This makes for a more "finished" look to the muppet. And doing the hand stitching allows you to pull tighter the areas that have excess fabric.

    Dave :)
     
  27. spcglider@aol.com

    spcglider@aol.com Sr Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(vaderdarth @ Apr 25 2006, 09:51 PM) [snapback]1232989[/snapback]</div>
    Antron fleece can be "groomed" in many many fashions. You actually can make it pilly if you want. Just run it through the wash and toss it in the dryer. Boy... it WILL pill. I usualy don't want that so I let it hang dry after dyeing.

    Something else to know (and I'm about to completely blow a trade secret here): The secret "muppet stitch" is really just a baseball stitch. There's no seam allowance. It pulls the raw-cut edges of the fabric together and secures them. Then you fluff the nap up and trim it if you need to and the seam goes away. It takes some practice to get the feel for how you fluff the nap, but once you get it its really cool.

    To see some of my puppets, visit WWW.PUPPETFORGE.COM and click on the archive section.

    -Gordon
     
  28. Lynn TXP 0369

    Lynn TXP 0369 Sr Member

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    New pics up 5-21.

    Lynn
     
  29. vaderdarth

    vaderdarth Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Lynn,
    this one nailed it... Get some of that self adhesive backed black craft foam and cut out the "pupil" pattern just like you have it on the eyes.........then stick it in place. It worked great on the one I made. If there is a choice of the foam........choose the thinnest they have.

    Dave :)
     
  30. Lynn TXP 0369

    Lynn TXP 0369 Sr Member

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    Thanks..
    So he looks pretty good???

    Thanks for the pupil tip..
    I heard of people using the black velcro dots for the pupils as Kermits eyes were supposedly flocked like a GI Joe head.

    Do you got pics of your Kermit? I would love to see them. Feel free to post them here.

    Now I gotta start back on the body, I got an old football that I will base my pattern on.
    Lynn
     
  31. Boba Frett

    Boba Frett Sr Member

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    Looks great :) , can't wait to see it completed.
     
  32. Apollo

    Apollo Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    You should be working for 'The Creature Shoppe'.

    Kermit looks fantastic...
     
  33. Lynn TXP 0369

    Lynn TXP 0369 Sr Member

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    :lol, Thanks..
    I don't know if it is that good, but thanks.

    I tweeked him a bit more since these pics, I think I got a little closer.

    I hope to start the body today.

    VaderDarth, I would like to see pics of the Kermit you made.

    Lynn
     
  34. Lynn TXP 0369

    Lynn TXP 0369 Sr Member

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    The head has been fine tuned a little more.
    I may do a little more fine tuning, but I think it is looking pretty good now.
    Lynn
     
  35. Lynn TXP 0369

    Lynn TXP 0369 Sr Member

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    Here is Kermit with his body on.
    It is made from fabric store cusion foam and wrapped with duct tape and stuffed with cotton batting to get the shape.
    The Antron fleece is two peices stretched tight and hand sewn to the body.
    The wires for the arms and legs will allow for some possability.

    He's getting there..
    Enjoy,
    Lynn
     

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