Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Silicone Puppets

So, I've decided to give it a go... silicone puppets. A big part of the decision was the Coraline box (dang them and their making me do more work!) I knew I wanted to try something different, and being able to handle a silicone cast piece gives a better idea of the feel and look I'll be pursuing. Foam Latex is a very popular and tempting choice, but as I've never handled it before it's hard to be as concretely sold on it as I'm sure others are.

I've spent the last two days reading everything online I could about Dragon Skin in particular and silicone in general; I've gone through the handbook on SMA, as well as most of the threads referencing it; Strider's blog, and a good chunk of threads about it at the Effects Lab - a great place to catch up on information!! My plan is to paint intrinsically, airbrushing thin layers of FW Inks between thin layers of the silicone, then filling the mold with a mix of the silicone and slacker to create a softer inner bit. I've read this might cause wrinkles, but as it's for an older character I'll be sculpting quite a few into the master sculpture to begin with. The only catch is that it will still be awhile before I can order the materials safe from freezing; in the mean time I can get some NSP clay and start the master sculpt!

As for knitting... the problem with knitting with itsy, bitsy, teeny, small-as-a-hair kneedles is that.... they're a tad easy to loose. You drop one, you'll never find it again. So I'll need to be ordering a replacement before I can finish the gloves!

I've also been creating something for the Coraline contest over on stopmotionmagic - hope to get alot of filming done over the long weekend and soon have something to show for it! I don't want to post any pictures yet, but lets just say that roller coasters are a time consuming prop to make!! ;)

13 comments:

Darkstrider said...

Hey Em, best of luck on the silicone puppets!! If you can lick the painting problem then it should be a great way to go.

About your disappearing needle problem.... I wonder if you could use a solution I resorted to with a tiny little hex key I didn't want to lose (it's for the almost microscopic set screws on my Radkin puppets). I tied a long piece of red silk thread to it, put a big dollop of epoxy on the knot, and tied the other end to a large turkey legbone. Strange, I know, but I haven't lost it yet!!! I keep the drumstick bone in a drawer here in my computer table where it can't go anywhere, and any time I drop the allen key I can just trace the red thread right to it. I did have to re-glue once though... after a while the glue works loose.

Darkstrider said...

Hey Em, best of luck on the silicone puppets!! If you can lick the painting problem then it should be a great way to go.

About your disappearing needle problem.... I wonder if you could use a solution I resorted to with a tiny little hex key I didn't want to lose (it's for the almost microscopic set screws on my Radkin puppets). I tied a long piece of red silk thread to it, put a big dollop of epoxy on the knot, and tied the other end to a large turkey legbone. Strange, I know, but I haven't lost it yet!!! I keep the drumstick bone in a drawer here in my computer table where it can't go anywhere, and any time I drop the allen key I can just trace the red thread right to it. I did have to re-glue once though... after a while the glue works loose.

Darkstrider said...

Wow, is there an echo in here?

jriggity said...

yes ....good luck !

Please document your experiments for the rest of us.

jriggity

emmyymme said...

Thanks for the comments - Strider, I think I'll do the string between the two needles when I get the replacements and maybe tie that to something as well... I'm so used to working with circular knitting needles I forget how easy they are to lose individually! (Although a turkey leg would quickly disappear and leave a string with a knitting needle hanging out of the dogs mouth... ;)
Your blog has been a huge help in researching silicone, thanks for all the info!

Thanks Justin! I'm going to email the company tonight and order as soon as it's safely warm out again. I'll document as I go!

Darkstrider said...

Oh yeah, with a "studio dog" I guess the turkey bone isn't the best idea... maybe a hammer or something... ;)

After messing iwth Dragonskin a bit, I can't recommend a silicone skin filled with softened silicone, unless you can get the same density for each. The 'wrinkles' you get won't look right on older characters.... they're more like giant flesh rolls than wrinkles really. What ended up feeling the best for puppets to me was using the same ratio of slacker to silicone for the outer skin and for the filling. That way it all moves together.

Mike Adair said...

This will be so informative to watch! I'm starting to think about the next project and wondering about this same thing.

emmyymme said...

heh yah, the studio pup manages to eat enough that's not even food related!
Thanks for the tips - I'd read softened silicone interiors made it more realistic, but I'm guessing the distortions don't scale themselves down for puppets.

Turns out DragonSkin can survive the current temps no problem so I should have some by the end of the week! Can't wait to start playing with it.

D. Carlson said...

Hey Em,

Let me know how the silicone 'speriments go! I've been thinking about going that route as well, but for now Sculpey III and olive oil (to soften it and keep it flexible) will have to do.

Jed Bramwell (actor-bear/blog host) said...

Hello! I just found your blog and am looking forward to read more!
Jed Bramwell

Hermanos Encinas said...

Ey! This blog is incredible, congratullations.

I read that you are involve in the coraline contest, good luck!. I made the short of the alien with the genie for this challenge.

Silicone Keypads said...

Silicone is overall easy to work and durable material so I hope your experiment went well and you had great results.

Silicone said...

Good luck with silicone. Nice disappearing needle solution.