Puppet Fabrication (Built-Up Method) and Clothing for Stop-Motion Puppets - Part 4

The next important element to address when fabricating these types of puppets are the hands and feet. Here is where the actual built-up method will be utilized. As I mentioned in one of the previous posts this method generally lends itself to being less expensive and time consuming than the foam latex process. One major drawback however is that once a puppet like this breaks, you'll have to re-fabricate the built-up portions all over again without the aid of a mold. This may or may not be a big deal depending on your specific situation. The materials you'll need will be: cotton balls and some form of liquid latex. I have used the "mold builder" latex (pictured above) in the past but have since moved on to "balloon rubber latex" because it handles and works the best. The mold builder will still work but will need to be thinned out with water and will require a lot of extra drying time. "Balloon rubber" latex can be found at Frends Beauty Supply and the "mold builder latex can be found at any Michael's Arts and Crafts.

Here we start off with our previously made armature.

Grab a cotton ball and tear off a lengthy sized strip like the one pictured above and apply the latex to it.

It should look something like this.

Next, take the latex saturated cotton and wrap it around one of the wires of the hand shaping it into a finger.

Dry it with a blow dryer. The "balloon rubber" latex will set in a few minutes while the "mold builder" would take much longer.

Repeat this process for each finger until you have something that hopefully resembles a hand.

You can smooth the fingers even further with a wood burning tool if need be.

Here's what the end result of that would look like.

Next, pour whatever latex your using into a small sized container that's big enough to dip the hand into. Dip the hand in allowing the latex to cover the entire surface. Let the excess latex drip off then blow dry. Repeat this process in layers until the hand is at a desirable thickness.

The finished product should look something like the photo above. Then all you have to do is paint it using PAX paints.

The same process can be used for the shoes, or slippers in this case.

As you can see here you really can create anything in layers with the built-up method.

Then just paint to your desired effect.



  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Very cool and interesting as well.
    Thanks !

  3. Reading your blog for the X th time. I'm going to try this build-up method in the next weeks. I was wondering the ratio you used when thinning down the mold builder latex with water. I have a 1/2 liter left and i want to use it with your method (dipping).

    Thanks !

  4. I'm glad your finding the blog helpful Vincent!

    What I found helpful to do with the mold builder latex is to do a 50/50 mix with the latex your going to use for the cotton. Then use a slightly thicker mix for the dipping process more like 70% latex 30% water.

    The reason for this is because when your applying the cotton to the armature the thinner mix will allow you to pull the cotton tighter around the armature and it'll also be easier to shape. The thicker mix is better for dipping because you won't have to apply as many layers as you would with the thin mix, you just have to make extra sure that you give each layer enough time to fully dry before re-dipping.

    Hope this helps! Let me know how it goes and if you have any other questions.

  5. That's awesome! I wanna get some latex to make my hands that shiny.

  6. You have made me to remind me a character from the movie called "The Night before Christmas" (the animation one) :D


  7. Does the mold builder turn out hard like ceramics or rubbery? Is it fragile? Thank you!

    1. It's very flexible so that you are able to animated the armature underneath without any resistance.

    2. perfect. thank you!

  8. Excellent method. Thanks so much.