I am pleased to welcome a new puppet to the family! This little muppet puppet is Mr. Snuffles, a cute fluffy eared creature who might either be a rabbit or a cat, but it is really unclear.
Mr. Snuffles loves super snazzy top hats and thinks bow ties are cool (because they are).
In terms of technique this little guy has the simplest construction. He is essentially a sock puppet with a mouth plate installed. Think Kermit the frog muppet puppet. While he does have hand rods for easy puppeteering, he lacks armature wire in his fingers so his hands are (sadly) not adjustable. Unlike my other two puppets he also does not have much in way of foam body construction. He has a little foam in his hands for padding, but that is about all. I might add some foam to the inside of the top of his head later just to give his eyes a more stable platform. As it is right now sometimes his eyes lean in two different directions. This isn’t too much of an issue for still shots, but when he is moving (the way all puppet’s should) his eye focus goes all over the place. It could be considered a stylistic choice I suppose, but it will probably be adjusted later all the same.
Mr. Snuffles is made from hand dyed muppet fleece and acrylic fur. His eyes are ping-pong balls and his pupils are just googly eyes from the craft store painted with black nail polish. I spent an ungodly amount of time sitting in my living room trying to get the pupils to properly focus. For all the hand sewing involved with these puppets the eye focus is still probably the most tricky thing to get right. A pupil being even slightly off results in a far off gaze at best, and a drunken stare at worse. Looking back in the pictures I am still not convinced his eyes are quite right, but this is why I attached the pupils with double sided tape. I can keep taking them off and readjusting until this litter bugger finally looks at me.
This is the only puppet so far where I have made all his accessories from scratch (I bought a children’s bow tie for Mister Turtle). I say that, but the construction was still pretty simple. Mister Snuffles’ hat and bow tie are made from patterned sheet felt I found at the craft store. I found a nice neutral beige to match the colour of his muppet fleece. I love sewing with fleece because when you are in a time crunch, which always seems to be the case with me, fleece inexpensive and probably the easiest material to sew.
I also had the opportunity to stretch some old embroidery muscles I haven’t used probably since I was in middle school! All the trim on his hat and bow tie are hand stitched with inexpensive embroidery thread using the same stitch that is commonly used to finish the edges of blankets. I even sewed on a few old buttons I had laying around just to give it a little extra cuteness.
This is the last of the small scale puppets I will be making for this year. Everything from here on out gets exponentially bigger. I have a couple large scale creature suit projects coming up that will keep me busy for the next few months. At least one of them I will unfortunately not be able to post for some time. The reason for this is that the monster suit is being made for TV, and I am unable to circulate pictures until after the episode airs. I promise that as soon as I am allowed to post pictures I will dedicate a post to each and every project!
If you wish to take a look at my previous puppet posts you can find Mister Turtle here. Included in this post is also a handy foam sculpting tutorial, which has a wide variety of potential applications for props and costumes!
Bennie the Rat can be found in his home on this page. He is a people-rat so please visit and show him some love.
A big thank you to my fiance who has been the puppeteer in all of my puppet photo shoots!