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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Making Mary Annette Part III

In the last 2 posts, I have detailed the process of building a puppet for Point University's upcoming show, "Nunsense".  When last we left, Mary Annette was stitched and glued but lacked a costume or the little details that would really make her come alive.  This week I want to show you what we did to make her ready to take the stage.

For her face, we all felt she needed something to give her a little more personality.  Bonnie had previously suggested eyelashes, so I grabbed the scissors and started snipping away at the black felt I had left over from making her pupils.  It took some doing to get them to match but with a little bit of glue, she was looking fabulous:

However, her mouth still needed something.  Mary Annette is quite gabby, so her mouth needed to be a focal point for her face.  Using the craft foam I had used for her tongue, I cut out a pair of bright red lips, trimmed them a little here and there, used a red marker to give them some shading around the edges, and glued her smackers into place.

At last, Mary Annette had a face we were proud of.  Bold and expressive, she was ready to shoot off those one-liners she's famous for in the show.  All she needed was a proper nun's habit, which Bonnie was able to provide.  A mini version of what she was already working on for the other sisters did just the trick:

Ta-da!  Mary Annette was ready to perform.  Dressed for success with her face in place, she will light up the stage!

"Nunsense" will be performed March 16-18 in West Side Chapel in East Point, GA by the Point University Signature Players.  For ticket information, call 404-669-2021 or email  For directions, go here.         ~Ellie, Seasoned Veteran Puppet Artiste

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Making Mary Annette Part II

So, last week I told you about my first steps in creating the Sister Mary Annette puppet for Point University's production of Nunsense.  However, she still didn't have a working mouth or a face.  Let's get that mouthboard put in so she can do what she does best--speak her mind!

Creating the mouthboard was very easy.  After gluing some black felt down to a rectangle of cardboard that I cut from a box of Capri Suns (drinking all of the Capri Suns was the hardest part), I folded the cardboard in half (felt to the inside) and rounded the corners, making the lower lip almost a triangle shape.  I used rubber cement to glue the felt because it has a good, strong bond and can easily be spread over a large area.  My rubber cement came with a brush, but if yours doesn't, a sponge brush works nicely.  I also added a tongue cut from red craft foam.  For an easy tongue shape, cut out a heart and round out the point.  Rubber cement works well to glue down the tongue as well.

Now I was ready to insert the mouth board!  I slipped it into the opening I'd cut in the face and hot glued it in place by folding the edge of the fabric and gluing it around the edge of the mouthboard:

The eyes came next.  I used styrofoam balls which I cut in half.  I covered them in white felt, added black felt dots for pupils, then used some of the fabric from the body to make eyelids.  Another half a ball covered in the body fabric made a nose.  Hot glue secured everything in place.

 Once her face was on, I added stuffing to her head to give it shape.  Foam rubber holds it's shape the best but I ended up using fiber fill just out of necessity.  Maybe my next puppet will have the head stuffing he/she deserves.

She was nearly done!  She had all the essential parts, but apart from being bald and naked, she still needed some finishing touches.  Next week, I'll show you how I added details to her face and how Bonnie gave her a nun-tastic ensemble.  In the meantime, get creative, people!  Post a picture of your own puppetry.  And check out last week's post if you missed the early stages of Mary Annette's creation.                ~Ellie, Slightly Experienced Puppet Artiste

She already looks sassy, doesn't she?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Making Mary Annette Part I

So, ClockQuirks was contracted to do the costumes for Point University Drama Club's production of Nunsense.  We were also comissioned to make the Sister Mary Annette puppet required for the show.  I wanted to tackle the puppet myself, barring the nun's habit, which I knew Mom would have to make (the sewing machine and I have a strained relationship).  I found a tutorial online to help me with the basics and dove in:

I started with the supplies seen above.  Kinda looks like a mess, right?  That's kinda how I felt, too.  This was all new for me!

Next I drew out my puppet's shape.  This first try actually turned out to be too small, so I ended up doing a second one, but you get the idea.  It was time to make peace with the sewing machine.  Eek!

I found out pretty quickly that I should have pinned the 2 sides of my folded fabric together more securely.  No matter how still I thought I was holding it, the wrinkles and puckers told the truth.  I could definitely do with some more practice at the sewing machine.  For those wanting to undertake a type of fiber art that requires sewing, I would say to not be afraid, but to give yourself plenty of practice time.  We just had to kind of fight it out and the results were...if-y...
As you can see, it took two tries to get her head rounded out...
...and she was kind of wrinkly when I cut and turned her right side out.  So, I drew a new pattern, pinned it within an inch of it's life and braved another trip to the sewing machine...

A few minutes and a few curses later and I had this:
Ready for a face!  I'll post about giving some shape to her head and adding the mouth and eyes next time.  In the meantime, check out this tutorial on puppet making: Puppet Making from Expert Village.  I strongly encourage fellow crafters, especially those with a theatrical bent, to try this.  I can already tell I'm going to want to do this again.

~Ellie, Newly Dubbed Puppet Artiste

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