Monday, June 29, 2015

Monkey Mischief Managed

Well, that's one monkey off my back! Seriously, though, I had a blast making him.

Schlep was created for a community theater production of "Zink: The Myth, The Legend, the Zebra".

Glamour shot

You see, Schlep is a monkey who thinks he's a zebra.

(The costumer produced some amazing results!)

Elegant singing zebras. L-R: Zap, Ice Z, Zip
Here's his first time out of the box* - meeting the actresses.

The hands are leather gloves which were fastened to the arm fabric with pop-rivets. Extra fur was glued to the hands. When the puppeteer slips her hands into the gloves Schlep will be able to point, gesture - even handle things.

Of course she'll need a third hand to work the mouth.

The limbs and tail are simple sewn tubes fitted like sleeves over the body parts. All other furring was done piece-by-custom-piece and hot-glued into place. Thanks to my wife for teaching me how to use a sewing machine (I think!).

Schlep (on your left)
*Thanks to Out of the Box Community Theatre for permission to post their pictures.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Bits and Pieces

Ooh, plastic tubes and pots and pans
Bits and pieces and ...

Weird Science

Heavy gauge wire (scavenged from political signs) used as attachment points for the arms and legs.

Monkey bones

The movable jaw is made of shop towels and bits of can.

Rolling my own:
Knee joints are PVC sections joined by rope. The tape will be covered with more paper mache.

Assembled legs plus a kneecap.

Here's Schlep's head after painting and installing eyeballs. Eyes are ping-pong balls with paper irises.

 I bought green fur* online with which to cover this beast. I'll skip the "furring" details except to say that sewing and lots of hot glue were involved. Also hair spray.

Hair Club for Primates. I'm also a client!
Completed monkey pictures to follow.

*No green-furred animals were harmed in the making of this project.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Evolution of Monkey

Continuing monkey business.

First step: a basic paper mache ball of the appropriate size, with cardboard attached for the facial area.

More refinement with paper and masking tape.

With temporal regions hollowed out.
I keep the circles I cut out and simply reverse and tape them back into place.

More paper mache and some paper-clay features - but he's too human-looking.
("Too human-looking" is a comment you never want to hear about your child.)

That's better - more monkey-like! Pictured with the eyeball assembly.

 Still needs a jaw; I'll be working on that next. I usually save that for last to avoid back-talk.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Monkey Shines

So a friend asks me to make him a monkey.
I reply, "Sorry, I can't improve upon what nature had already done to you!"

Not really. I start making him a monkey:

I swear, officer, I never saw that monkey before in my life!
Monkeys like limbs, right?

Monkey limbs
The body is two paper mache balls joined together. The arm and leg parts are now p.m.'d and have great simian strength. The monkey paws are intended to be the feet.

Double the monkey paws, double the wishes.

More monkey madness to come!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Project: Junk Mail

(This is a project I started last year but never got around to publishing. Happy New Year!)

What do you get when you combine wings, tail, jaws and claws with a discarded mailbox?
You get Junk Mail, of course!

Why a mailbox? I've always thought the door resembled the jaws of some creature, maybe an angler fish? Anyway, it's a sturdy, ready-made body. (Do not steal your neighbor's mailbox to make your own.)

Now to make some appendages. Start with fingers of clothes hanger wire wrapped with paper and masking tape.

Make two bat-like hands.

More wire, paper and tape.

More "fingers" and some paper mache'd legs. These were covered in "cloth mache" (a technique perfected by "Dan the Monster Man") and some scales. Claws are of polymer clay.

After puzzling over how to attach the legs securely to metal I cut a piece of press-board to fit the underside of the box, built the legs onto that and then the screwed whole thing to the sheet metal.

Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!

Here's where things start getting nightmare-ish!

I'm sexy and I know it.
Again utilizing a piece of press-board a PM tail was constructed and attached to the box.

Not approved by the Postmaster General!
I thought there were more pictures than this - but let's leap ahead to the wings.

Wing attachment posed a bigger challenge than the legs because there is more stress on the attachment points. The solution: flag-standard holders. These inexpensive metal pieces are engineered to support flags flapping in the breeze - they certainly are strong enough to support wings. 

Wings! A lot of steps are being stepped over to this point. Here the arms have been draped with glue-soaked cloth to make wings. I shortened the upper arms to a more pleasing length and then attached the wings. Attachment points will be covered up eventually.

Wear those wings proudly, son.

Much more "Junk Mail" to come! Don't bother complaining to the Post Office - it's still going to come.