Making puppets - Part 2 – Silicone puppets

The hands were made in a similar method as the head, only without the master model and the silicone mold steps.

The model

First I made a simple wire armature and covered it with NSP Chavant Plastecine. I modeled it with small tools until I got the right shape.

Making the mold

First I placed the hands model on a bed of water based clay, keeping the bottom part of the hands (the wrists) linked to the edge of the clay bed. I built a wall around it and poked the clay bed with a pencil in several places. I surrounded the bottom half of the model with clay, so it looks like half of the model is sunk in the clay. I mixed the plaster with water, first brushed the model with it gently, using a small brush, and then poured the rest of it on the model until it was all covered with plaster.

When it cured, I turned it over, took off the clay, cleaned the plaster with water using a small paint brush and built a clay wall around it, this time taller. I applied a thin layer of Vaseline all over the plaster and added a small piece of clay on each side. Then I brushed and poured the plaster until it covered all the model. (Unfortunately I don't have pictures from this step)

When it cured I had a two piece plaster mold. I cleaned it with water and it was ready for casting the silicone inside.

Making the hand armature

Using aluminum thin wires, jointed with epoxy putty, the bottom wires were twisted and jointed into a copper tube that goes into the arm armature.

Everything was fitted inside the mold, on each fingertip a drop of clear epoxy and then filed it to fit the mold. I covered every finger with thin cotton thread to give the silicone something to stick to, and glued the edges of the thread with a little drop of super glue.

I painted the epoxy putty with white acrylic color (the silicone is a little transparent and I didn't want to use white epoxy because it's weaker than the gray stuff).

Casting in silicone

I brushed a thin layer of flesh tone silicone inside both parts of the mold and let it cure. Then I filled both parts of the mold with more silicone and placed the armature inside, making sure it was all covered with silicone, then quickly closed the mold and poured some more silicone through the wrist holes, pressing the mold with clamps until the silicone cures.

Then I opened the mold, carefully got the hands out, cut the crust around them with small scissors, made some more silicone and filled the gap around the hands, using a very small brush and feathering it gently.

I painted it the same way as the head, using SycoPaint base silicone, thinned with Naphta. I mixed it separately with small amounts of flesh and red tone and painted everything. Then sprinkled some sugar powder all over it, brushed it gently with a soft brush and let it cure, and finaly wiped it with a wet cloth.

Making legs

We used a very small scale (1:6) so we needed a very small armature. The smallest armature we found was almost not small enough, so I had to sculpt the model around the armature (And still needed to file the feet armature around to make it smaller). That created a lot of cleaning work later to get the Plasticine out of the armature.

The model

I covered the armature with NSP Plasticine, leaving the top edge exposed. Once I finished modeling I screwed the bolts inside the armature under the feet for the tie downs.

The mold

Same way as the hands, I placed the model on a bed of water based clay, leaving the top edges of the armature stand out of the mold to make a hole through I can pour the silicone, and letting the bolts stand out from the bottom of the mold.

I surrounded the bottom half of the model with clay, so it looks like half of the model is sunk in the clay. I built a wall around it and poked the clay bed with a stick in several places.

I mixed the plaster with water, first brushed the model with it gently, using a small brush, and then poured the rest of it on the model until it was all covered with plaster.

When it cured, I turned it over, took off the clay, cleaned the plaster with water using a small paint brush and built a clay wall around it, this time taller. I applied a thin layer of Vaseline all over the plaster and added a small piece of clay on each side. Then I brushed and poured the plaster until it covered all the model.

When it cured I had a two piece plaster mold. I took the model out carefully (along with the armature inside it), piled the NSP plastacine from the armature and cleaned it. Then I cleaned the mold with water and it was ready for casting in silicone.

Casting and painting silicone

Again, same way as the hands. I sealed the bottom part around the bolts with NSP plastecine, so the silicone won't drip through there and poured the rest of the silicone trough the holes on the top.

I brushed a thin layer of flesh tone silicone inside both parts of the mold and let it cure. Then I filled both parts of the mold with more silicone and placed the armature inside, making sure it was all covered with silicone, then quickly closed the mold and poured some more silicone through the top holes, pressing the mold with clamps until the silicone cures.

I painted it with SycoPaint base silicone, thinned with Naphta and mixed with small amounts of flesh, red and blue tones. Then sprinkled some sugar powder all over it, brushed it gently with a soft brush and let it cure, and finaly wiped it with a wet cloth

Jointing all the parts

The rest of body – from the neck to the legs – was made in the same method as all the other parts of the body – modeling, making a plaster mold and casting in silicone.

All the parts were jointed together with the armature links. In places the joints are not covered with clothes I had to fill the space between them with silicone - the joint between the head and the neck and between the hand and the arm.

#puppet #stopmotion #silicone #model #plastermold #armture

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