I've been debating with myself for a while about making a stop-motion puppet. I've got a good idea and I'm ready to try it. I've decided that using felt puppets will be the best way to go since I'm on a limited budget, fabric is relatively cheap, and I don't have the skills for clay, silicone, or plastic puppets at the moment.

So my question is, is felting (the actual wool & felting needle method) a good method to go for covering/making puppets, or should I cover the puppet with felt sheets? Does anyone have any other felt-puppet tips they'd like to add? I'm kinda a newbie at all of this. ;)

Thanks in advance!

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Hey there!

Needle felting can be an excellent choice for covering puppets. I used it for a little fox in this film:
https://vimeo.com/80366539

It was a very simple but very nice puppet to animate. I think I shaped the body first with some cushion filler stuff, forgot how it's called... then sewed thights around that to get the right shape then covered that with needle felting. The head was super sculpey (added some texture and painted it and glued on some bits of felting wool in edges where I couldnt felt directly) and legs had some foam dipped in latex, as they were very small and thin. But depending on your character you may be able to use felting all over, this is just what worked for this particular puppet.

Someone recently made a stop motion film entirely with felted characters that has been very succesful and even won a bafta this year. This is a trailer of that film (it was a graduation film at the National Film and Television School in the UK, saw some of it in progress while volunteering on another project there): https://vimeo.com/120974257

That's a beautiful fox!

That looks awesome, Roos! Definitely better than what simple felt covering would look like, especially for the furry look. I echo Nick's reply "That's a beautiful fox!".

Thanks for helping me out, I checked out that trailer as well and the materials used are inspiring. I think I'm definitely leaning toward actual felting.

Roos, that is most definitely a beautiful fox and some nice animation as well.

... jbd

Thank you guys! :) The poor guy broke two legs before the end of the shoot but was a nice small and very light puppet to animate. For this film the puppets were light enough to use pins to pin them down the set.

Oh actually, I have some production stuff I can share if it can be useful. This was a project I worked on with a fellow classmate about 2.5 years ago during my animation course and as part of that we had to document the process. There are some pictures and some rambling on this page of the making of both puppets: http://mistanimation.weebly.com/puppets.html


They were both cheap and low tech. Hope it can be helpful. Looking forward to seeing your puppet taking shape! Best way is to just start and try things and learn whilst doing what works and what doesn't.

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