You Are A Puppet: Create a Stop Animation Puppet of Yourself | Kerrie Lee | Skillshare

You Are A Puppet: Create a Stop Animation Puppet of Yourself

Kerrie Lee, Dreamer. Dabbler. Noodler.

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10 Lessons (28m)
    • 1. Class Trailer

    • 2. Materials List

    • 3. Armature

    • 4. Head

    • 5. Body

    • 6. Arms

    • 7. Legs

    • 8. Shirt

    • 9. Shoes

    • 10. Hair and Face


About This Class

In this class, I’ll show you how to create a stop animation puppet from scratch using easy to find materials. You’ll learn how to build a strong and flexible armature, choose materials to bulk out the body of the puppet, and how to dress your puppet. By the end of this class, you’ll have the skills to create a puppet ready to star in your next stop animation film!


1. Class Trailer: hi, everyone. When you miscarry Lee and I'm an artist and creator of delightful objects in this class, I'll show you how to create a stop animation puppet from scratch. Using easy to find tools and materials, you'll learn how to build a strong and flexible armature, Shoes materials to bulk up the body of your puppet, and I'll show you a simple way to construct custom clothing to dress your puppet. By the end of this class, you'll have the skills and confidence to create a puppet ready to start in your next stop animation film. 2. Materials List: I use aluminum armature wire. This is 1 16 inch and you confined aluminum armature wire easily online. You'll need 58 inches if you're using the provided template sticky back foil. I get this at my local big bucks hardware store nuts and screws. We're gonna use thes for tied outs, a Styer from ball for the head. Choose whatever size you like. An assortment of craft felt found at your local craft store, and it comes in a variety of colors. I get some color for skin and also some further clothing. Quil Betting This is a low loft quote. Batting, athletic pre wrap tape. I find this at the local pharmacy thread and needles. We're gonna hand so all of the clothing yarn or something else that you'd like to use for the hair to thumbtacks for the eyes. Embroidery floss. I use this for the mouth when I'm not going to animate speaking character scissors, pliers and wire cutters. Also safety glasses, superglue white glue and fabric glue. Baking soda. This is optional, but it does set the superglue really fast measuring tools such as a ruler or a tape measure , a bamboo skewer or a chopstick, a scrap piece of cardboard, a rubber band paper towel just in case armature template found in the files below. Now let's get to work on the armature. 3. Armature: The very first thing I like to do with my wire is put a tiny little loop on each end. This prevents you from getting accidentally scratched. Or if you're not wearing safety glasses from poking your eye out. It's just a safety measure I like to take next. You want to find the center of your wire. I fold it in half and put a little flat kink at the end, Measure two inches down for the neck and then twist those two wires together with a pair of pliers from the neck. We're gonna measure down four inches for each arm. Squeeze the wires flat together and, like before, give him a little twist. We repeat the same thing for the other arm. Measure four inches. Squeeze the wires together and twist. Bring the wires together in the middle. This is gonna form the torso, and from here, we're gonna measure down three inches, same as before. Crap off your pliers. Give it a little twist. Each leg should now be about 14 inches long. I'm just double checking here to make sure it's gonna be long enough, and then, rather than measure up, I'm gonna fold it in half. This time, I'm gonna leave a little loop at the end, and I'll show you what we do with that later. We're gonna twist the wires between the loop and the torso with the other leg. I'm just double checking that. I have those 14 inches. But rather than folding in half, I'm gonna measure it against the first. Like we did to make sure that the same. Once again, we're gonna leave a little loop at the end and twist the wires between the loop and the torso. Each leg you want to measure one inch down to form a hip so you bend it out, and then a right angle one inch away into it with both sides. Bend out and then at a right angle, one inch away. Repeat the step with the shoulders. So one and show bendito. Right angle. Have the other side, Then that one down, too. I'm gonna give it a little adjustment. I like to use this sticky back foil to keep the wires together at certain joints. So the hips right here, I'm gonna take some of the sticky back foil. Wrap it around there. We don't want it tight. We just want to keep it from popping open. While we're animating our puppet, we'll do the same thing at the shoulder and neck joint. Sure, Now let's address those loops at the end of the feet. The nuts. I showed you earlier need to go within the loops, so kind of fit him in there. Might get him tight, squeeze them fiddle with, um to get a good fit. Once you've got a good fit, take a little bit of gap filling superglue and just between the wire and the nut. You wanna hit that with the glue? You add a little bit of baking soda to the super glow. It'll set it really fast. Repeat with the other side. Get it good and tight before you add that superglue. And when you add the superglue, be really careful not to get within the threat of the nut. We hit this with some baking soda and then we're gonna check the fit. Make sure that the screw still fits within the nut. If it didn't work, you'd want to remove that nut and replace it with one that you could use the screw with. That's her finished armature. Let's move on to working on the head 4. Head: Kraft felt makes a good, inexpensive option to cover your puppet for a bunch of different skin colors. I'm gonna choose this kind of yellow since I'm making a mini me next, You want to choose the size of head. He's a bunch of different Styrofoam balls that I have is you can see different side head on a different puppet gives it a really different personality. With this puppet, I'm gonna go with this size head. First I put a hole in the Styrofoam ball and then check and make sure that I'm gonna push the wire up far enough to give it a nice size neck. Next, I cut a piece of felt large enough to go around the ball for the head. Then add a little bit of white craft glue kind of smeared around with my finger. Stretch the craft felt over the front of the face country and smooth out any wrinkles. We're not gonna worry about the back cause we're gonna cover that later. Really Just worried about the front of the face. I like to add a rubber band over the top and then kind of pull out all these little wrinkles. Adds more craft glue to the back, just around the underneath of the rubber band, just to make sure that everything is secure when it dries. Small adjustments here and they will put the head aside to dry. Once the heads dry, take off the rubber band, make sure that everything is secure. Once I'm satisfied with that, I'll just trim off the extra with the finish head. Let's move on to the body. 5. Body: low loft quilt batting makes really good rap for puppets, usually just by a small bag. And then while it's folded up, this comes straight out the bag like this. I cut off a couple strips from the top. You could see me open this up. That's gonna make a really nice rap. I like to start with the torso. You can glue this if you're having trouble wrapping it, but I find usually just wrapping it not too tight, cause me a really good hold grab until you're satisfied with the the width of fatness of your puppet published. Get a little fatter than I like, but I think I can tighten that up later. This is some athletic pre wrap tape that I got from my local pharmacy works really well. Puppets kind of tightening up some areas and holding them together. Next, use those trips of quote planning to wrap up the legs. You'll notice. Here I've wrapped all the way down past the foot with legs. You really want to stop with the ankle and leave that foot bear and I'll show you why later . Now, with the arms, it's perfectly OK to wrap all the way down past the hand. In fact, I prefer it once I've gotten him all wrapped up, ready to move on to his covering. 6. Arms: here. I'm estimating how much felt All need to cover the arms. Well, cuts two strips of felt, one for each arm. I like to call him a little bit longer than I know I'm going to need. Okay, I fold in half and make a sort of a heart shaped curve on the end. That's gonna be the hand. Then I'm just gonna measure this up against the other piece to make sure there through the same trim off any little bits make him even one more check. Yep, that looks good. Now, I'm just gonna use some plain old cotton thread here. Nothing fancy. And I like to work with a double length. So I cut twice as long as I'm going to need in the length threaded through a needle and then bring the ends together that's making not can roll it around your finger twisted and then pull it tight. And if you have a little bit of string at the end, I like to snip that off and I start my stitch in the middle of that little heart shaped there when I full the hand over and now we're gonna do something called a ladder stitch. It's just like a sound. It make a letters on one side. You go up, you take a little bite of fabric and then across to the other side to the right side here. So this be like the wrong off the ladder, and from that point, you want to go up the ladder again. So I'd be like the side of the letter that runs underneath the fabric. Phillips. And make sure you don't get caught underneath the felt there, pull that tight and then go straight across to the other side to form another rung and then just back and forth. You see her? I opened it up just to make it tightened kind of show you, but I'm not sure that that demonstrated any better. Letter stitch is a really common stitch that people use when making soft dolls and puppets so you can look that up easily on the Internet if you need more instructions. Once I've gotten this stitched up a little ways around the hand, I would say into about the wrist area. This is what I'm going to fit it onto the puppets arm and seen just kind of pulling it over there, making sure that the batting is stuffed down on the inside and then we'll do the rest of the stitching on the puppet. The same is before kind of an awkward angle here, but you can see kind of running downward with that letter. So the side of the ladder straight across would be the wrong. And, you know, I met that awkward angle, but you can see I'm going downward toward myself. And then there's the other length off the ladder, and you want to continue on stitching this arm up all the way to the torso. No, I already know. I'm gonna put a shirt with sleeves on this puppet. So it's not super important that I get the connection between the arm and the torso really accurate. If you're not used to hand sewing, this can seem really tedious. But really, it's not that bad. Takes me about five minutes per arm. Now that I'm a pair of the top, I'm gonna take one or two little stitches just to tighten it up and secure it. And then to not it, you stick the needle through, give it two or three little twists around the needle. Pull it tight. You snip off any loose threads, a little more friends and then check the fit. I like to keep the fabric long because if you're too short, you have to start over to keep it long and cut off the excess. That's what I think. You repeat with the other side, and then you have your arms finished on your butt. 7. Legs: this next step is optional, But any time you have an area that's a little too fluffy, sometimes I'll take a piece of yarn or a piece of string, just kind of wrap it up to make it a little tighter. Don't do anything specific here. Just This is just a slip knot in some regular old yarn, and I'll probably use for the hair and you just wrap it up. Always would want end, crisscross it back on itself all the way to the other end, and then just add another. Not this is helpful for keeping some of that batting in place. And also, like I said, to try and pin it up a bit, that'll kind of estimate how much felt I need for the pants. This is the with little need for the back half, and I'll just cut another strip same size for the front half. So I got to pieces like before I'm gonna double up a piece of thread and put a knot on the end, roll over your finger, give a little twist and pull that not and just like we've done before, we're going to Ladder Stitch all the way down the side of the pants. I like to do one full side while it's off the puppet. And when we get to the end, we're gonna make a little not make one little securing stitch, wrap that threat around the needle and pull through to not it cept those threads off and ready to fit this to our puppet here. I'm just double checking the fit. And I think it's gonna be nice and tight and like that. And I'm gonna start in this side. Same thing. A couple little stitches get us care and then ladder stitch all the way down the side. Once I got the sides finished, I'm gonna cut up the middle, being sure not to cut through the batting. This way, I can get a really good fit kind of figure out exactly where I want it to end. I start my threat this time right at the middle part. They like to start at the center and work down one leg and then with a second bread, start back at the center and work down the inside of the other. Like so here you can see I finished the first leg and I'm starting with a brand new piece of thread toe ladder stitch down the inside of that second leg. Here, you can see Emily using a little bit of poly fill fiber. Just some of those places up near the creases of legs looked a little flats. I'm just taking a needing needle or a bamboo skewer and stuffing at just a little bit fuller. There we go. That's a little bit better ever ready to move on to the shirt. 8. Shirt: we move on to the shirt. I want to make sure that the batting that's around the neck and chest area is covered with a piece of skin color felt depending what kind of clothing you have. You may not need to do this, but because I'm doing a T shirt with a bit of a scoop neck, you are going to see a little bit of that skin color underneath there and then nothing fancy here. I'm just taking needle and thread and attaching that neck and shoulder area to the arms that I've already put on that. I'm gonna trim off the access again. I'm gonna have a T shirt arm sleeve covering this so I don't need that to be great. And I'm just gonna cut off these corners. And then I'm going to repeat that for the other side. Same thing cutting the corners off next time, determining how much felt I'm going to need for the shirt. I want the arm to go right about here. Next will fold the shirt fabric in half and cut a little piece out of the center where the next gonna go? Just going to get small for now. to fit it on there and determine where I want that scoop to be. Think about this. Come down just a little bit more. Before you do that, though, let's add a neck. So this is just white craft glue and a little piece of that skin colored felt. I just usually wrap it around there. You could stitch this, of course, but I find that the white craft glue holds just well enough for the purposes of an animated puppet. Next, I'm gonna open up that neck hole. That's the front. Here's the back. Just one around it out. They start pretty conservatively at first until I make sure it fits the way I want. That looks about right here. I'm deciding how much I want to cut between the arm and the torso. It's about well, about half an inch, maybe a little more. Cem's gonna trim this off before we stitch it in. Repeat for the other side. Now we'll check the fit and start stitching. Once again, I start stitching in the corner and continue the ladder stitch down toward the hand. From there, I'll stitch from the corner down one side and then repeat the same steps on the other side of the shirt. Now let's get those shoes made 9. Shoes: and trimming off the excess batting that I accidentally wrapped around the bottom of the foot. Ideally, you want this stuffing to end at the ankle. I'm just using a bamboo skewer or needing needle here to press that stuffing up into the pant leg. Of course, have to repeat that for both sides. Using fabric glue, I attach a piece of felt that shapes like the front of a shoe. I'll be careful. Don't glue over that. Not you want to. Just put the glue toward the back of the ankle and then pinch the fabric together at the back, right around the back of the wire. This was not holding. I'm gonna add a little more glue. Just hold that for a second, and you can see that the front part of the toe is loose. Once those air secure, I looked at a little more fabric around the back. This will emulate the hell part of a shoe, but depending on what kind of animation or doing, you may not need to do this step. If your public's walking or lifting a foot in a way that you're going to be able to see the shoe, you'll probably want to get. This is covering on just making a couple more adjustments here and months again making sure that that stuffing is all the way up inside the pant leg. That's what the finish shoes look like, and now we can reattach the head. 10. Hair and Face: for? I reattached the hat. I like to check the fit. Make sure that that neck is gonna be the right length. I had some white craft glue that works great with Styrofoam. Now let's address that big bald spot in the back of the head. I'm gonna measure out some hair. This is just some yarn I measured from the crown of the head down to the length I want. And then I taken old scrap piece of cardboard. That's the length I want the hair to be. I'm gonna cut the cardboard down to there. I'm also gonna trim off this raggedy edge just to make things easier for me And begin by wrapping the yarn around the cardboard piece. This is individualized rap as much as you think you need. Once you've gotten a good amount, give it a little trim. Then I'm gonna take another little piece of yarn and tie it together Not to be too tight. Just needs to hold the yarn in place. Then you just want to slip those yarn loops off a cardboard at the opposite end where you tied the little piece of yarn. You're gonna cut those loops open kind of an awkward angle here, but just cutting through the loops. Now I'm gonna test fit this hair, trying to figure out where I want it, how it's gonna lay. And then I'm gonna use some fabric glue again. You could use white craft glue here, place the hair on top and then on the back, I'm gonna cover up that bald spot, Press the hair into the glue, smooth it down in the front here, shape it and see if I need to do any trimming. Now, this is a mini meat puppet, and I have bangs. So I'm gonna try and figure out where I want the banks gonna leave him kind of long. I can always go shorter later. And I think I'm gonna put the eyes pretty low on this puppet so the long bangs will work. Well, I'm gonna glue the bangs down, got some kind of unruly yard here, see a little place or needed trim, and then I'm just gonna glue a little more as needed with hair completed. Let's move on to the eyes. And here I'm gonna use just a couple of tax. I've sprayed these black I like tax because they press into the felt and the Styrofoam without making a mess. I'm gonna fit them in there where I like. No, See, they're not right, so I can adjust that just a little bit. Once I like that placement, I will glue those into place for the mouth. I just use a little piece of embroidery floss, cut a little shape, and then I could glue this into place. Now, if you're gonna animate your mouth, you're gonna have a speaking puppet. You're probably gonna skip this step and do something completely different. But for my purposes, I'm just gonna go with this little piece of embroidery floss.