Hi everyone,

For the short I'm working on I require the puppets to do some quite delicate (hand and finger) movements with cutlery.

So I want to rig the knives, spoons etc to the hands. As you can see in the pics they are not the biggest hands :) There is a m2 threaded nut in the hands for tie down.

Is there anyone who knows of some nifty tricks of doing this? Is there a general way of doing this at all in bigger productions?

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2 things you can try - lashing with thin thread and using a blob of sticky wax in the palm. They both have their advantages and disadvantages, but both work quite well in various situations.If you use thread the color of the hands it won't show very much, maybe you could even paint over it with a little pax or tinted silicone (depending on what the hands are made of). I once bought a set of bobbins (small spools of thread) in many colors so I'd have something very close to whatever color I might need. Very good thing to have handy. 

For wax I use a brand called Quakehold, which is a microcrystalline wax. Very sticky and extremely useful for rigging all kinds of tiny items down that need to stay put but that you want to be able to animate. 

Like Strider says, I used dried Pros-Aide for that method and it works quite well, if not being maybe too sticky.

I'm currently playing around with magnets. Not ready to say whether it's a positive approach or not, but I have high hopes. Animators tend to disparage magnets for their inflexibility, but that is usually just associated with foot tie-downs. I think they could work well in hands. The other issue is whether they will be strong enough through the silicone cast. I purchased a wide assortment of little tiny magnets from this online retailer: http://www.kjmagnetics.com/categories.asp?gclid=CIfOh8XOz8gCFUyAaQo...

They are ridiculously strong and magnetize to each other through my index finger. Picture attached of my build. I'll be testing its effectiveness this weekend. Optimistic.

Hey Guys, Thanks for the tips!

Using a bit of dried up pros-aide might be a good idea for some shots. I have a batch already mixed in the color of the silicone the puppets were cast in, so that's easy. As long as it does't ruin any of the paintjob. I'll have to test that first I guess.

Magnets could be good in some situations, but in this case the cutlery has to be held between the fingers like a pen. So not actually touching the palm at all.

Strider, about the quakehold: I was looking into that allready for the liquids and really wanted to buy some! Problem is, there seams to be absolutely no way of ordering it from the Netherlands... Do you know an address maybe? I would love to get my hands on some of that stuff!!

By the way, I will try to post some pictures of the finished puppets soon. Might be nice to see where it's going.   :)


I should have mentioned this, but there are 2 different Quakehold products (that I know of anyway) - the one that's good for liquid animation is called Museum Gel, and the other is called Museum Wax. The wax is a slightly yellowish-white wax that's somewhat translucent, but far from transparent. Pros-aide would work well for some situations too - hadn't heard of that one before. One factor to keep in mind about wax is that it's a thick wad of gummy stuff that can be animated like clay, so you can make a blob of it and stick something into it. That means the wax can actually hold small items up off the surface and allow some extra movement - like for instance something that needs to rock around a bit.

There's no particular reason to use the same brand, try just searching for microcrystalline wax - that's universal and is probably available in the Netherlands. Or if you want to get some of the museum gel for liquid (I don't know of any other similar product), maybe try Amazon in France or Germany or somewhere. 

Ok, putting on the reading glasses I do see something close to an address on the container - Ready America Inc, Escondido Ca (which is California) and a web address - www.readyamerica.com . No street number or phone number though.

And yes, let's see the puppets!  The heads and hands are looking good.

Ah right! Ok, that explains it. I was looking for the gel before. There doesn't seem to be an alternative product but maybe with all your info I can find out if I can order some from here.

The fact that the wax can be animated is nice, so I might try that. I will definately use thin wire to rig to the hand but it's great to be able to switch between 2 options for different shots if necessary.

I'll put some pics up as soon as I have some decent ones. But I don't think you've seen the heads yet... Which ones are you referring too? Now I'm curious :)

I was talking about the head in your avatar picture - I just assumed it was from the same puppets, probably because the color nearly matches the hands. I guess it's not though?


No it's not. It's a character of a previous film called Archipel. (Dutch spoken and no subs, sorry...Should have one with subs somewhere)


In a way this film will be a little similar but no dialogue and a lot longer.

Hi Jasper. Cheap as I am I find double sided tape works for me just fine. Scrunched up a little it will give you a raised surface for contact allowing for a certain degree of "posing". I don't know how you plan to shoot/cut the sequence but if the shots are long enough to grant it I'd build a larger set of hands and cut to close ups. It'd save you a lot of hell come animating if dexterity is key. The replacements in the photo I attached saved me a lot of time as they can actually hold stuff and behave like a "normal" hand would. If not a complete solution may be a complementary option.

Hey gustavo, Thanks for the tip. Yeah I thought of that, the problem is that there are shots from close with hands working and then tracking back to reveal complete set with multiple characters... Boy, am I making it easy on myself!! :D

Hi Jasper,
I would make the hands of rubber, but leave the ends of the wire stick out of the fingers on the downside, where you can't see them. Then make the cutlery out of a tin can, stick the wire through, and attach it with hotglue.

In the film I'm making there's a figure feeding a grannie with a spoon, using the same technique. Can't show it just yet, maybe in a month..

Ha ha!! Yea man! No doubt there are easier ways of doing things but I get you. If that tracking/ revealing/ multiple characters shot is what you need so be it. Once you solve the cutlery problem maybe framing can help ease the complexities. Here is a 15 sec. tracking/revealing shot with 4 characters. No way I'd pull it off within mini-budget on a lineal tracking way so i solved it by a combination of tracking and panning. I hope it helps. Jowanneke (commenting above) in Holland did the faces. Maybe you are neighbours?

 minute 1.17


Hi Johan. I look forward to watching your film! All the best.

Nice to hear all these different options. The wire sticking out is also quite a nice idea. Unfortunately the hand are allready finished (with the wire nicely tucked inside...)

Gustavo, I dont know Johan, but I see now in his profile that he lives in Etten Leur which is a neighbouring city of Breda where I live. So apparently we are neighbours, haha!

A very smart solution by the way with the track and pan. Allso keeps things very interesting this way.

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