Sunday, December 08, 2019

Eye catching

After years of trial and error, trying various products on the market and various ways to prepare them, I found a way to make eyes for 2T and conversion figures. I buy 28mm plastic eyes from a doll supplier. They actually come with a rounded back and small stem, but I don't use the backside. I separate the front half of the eyes.

I fill the interior of the hollow half-shell eyes with a bit of Magic-Sculpt. Then I insert a 1-3/4" length of 3/8"-square piece of wood into the Magic-Sculpt. I use a small probe to scoop the Magic-Sculpt around the wood on all four sides so it grips the wood.

After the Magic-Sculpt hardens, I drill holes in the wood just behind the plastic eyes so that a rotation rod can be inserted on which the eyes will turn. I also drill a hole at the end of the wood so that a spring can be inserted for the self-centering action. Once mounted on an eye tray, I secure the eyes with a small wooden bead. The next step will be to synch the eyes together with a plastic sync bar I buy from Braylu Creations.

Friday, December 06, 2019


Making progress. One benefit of examining a photo of a sculpture is to see imperfections not noticed as one works. For example, the right side of the forehead is slightly larger than the left side.  Sometimes these kinds of imbalances can be remedied during sanding. The other option is to add a bit more clay to the left side. Right now I 'm just working to cover the armature in clay to form the basic shape of the head. Then the detail work begins.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

For Sale

My little Asian boy is completed and ready to find a new home. I decided not to add the mustache and chin whiskers because... well... he's just so darn cute the way he is. He'll be for sale on and Ebay.

His mechanics are simple and smooth. He's a conversion figure with moving mouth and self-centering side-to-side eyes.

His asking price: $450 plus shipping.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Nearly done

My entry back into the vent-building biz is starting by finishing the project I left unfinished 5 years ago.  I have two more conversion figures to build before I allow myself to tackle one of my original characters.

This little Asian fellow will also get a mustache, small whisker on the chin and a black braid. I already have the body and beautiful traditional silk-like Asian costume. Mechanics are simple... just a jaw and self-centering side-to-side brown eyes. As soon as he's whiskered, he'll go up for sale.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Clay every day

Today I've filled in some cheek areas and some territory on the sides of the head and above the eyes. It's best not to do too much because you risk putting finger dents in wet areas you've already worked on as you work on new areas. When that starts happening, it's time to stop for the day.

Monday, December 02, 2019

Hey, it's clay

This was even more fun than I thought it would be. I've laid on the first layer of paper clay on my alien figure sculpture. I have created a good foundation for the eyes and nose. I'll be putting on more nuanced wrinkles and facial textures. This will dry overnight, then more fun tomorrow.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

My... what big eyes you have

I know this photo looks a lot like a previous photo, but there is a difference. The eyes are actually attached. I also decided that the front should be the back and the back should be the front.

I used Tacky Glue to attach them. I plan to start the application of paper clay around the eyes to secure them better.

A new part of the plan is to give this alien vent figure a long thin neck.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Filled the bill

The Locktite Foam worked. It expands as I was warned. In fact, it expanded even more than I expected. After it dried, I used a pair of old scissors to chop away the excess. My goal in this was to fill the voids so I wouldn't have to use so much paper clay. The bulging alien eyes aren't actually attached yet. I just wanted to show you for effect.

Tomorrow, the paper clay application starts... well... soon anyway.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

See foam

My idea of filling the cavities on my armature with wadded-up plastic bags, then using duct tape to secure them was a failure. Not my first dumb idea and likely not my last.

My new strategy is to fill them with Loctite foam..the stuff used to seal cracks in walls and window frames. I have been advised by the fella at the hardware store to be very conservative with how much I spray into the cavity. Y'see, the foam expands... a lot! He said he once used it to seal a crack in a wall. He sprayed too much of it, it expanded and blew a BIG hole in the wall.

If it works, I'll post a photo. If it doesn't work... well.. on to my next bright idea.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

My new website

Here's the new website I launched. It's a listing service for folks who want to buy or sell ventriloquism or puppetry items. I charge a modest listing fee of $10 for items priced $100 or more, and $5 for items priced under $100. But for a limited time, ALL LISTINGS ARE FREE! I'd like to attract a large number of listings so buyers will find a selection of cool items to purchase. Please give it a look and by the way, feedback is appreciated!

Monday, November 25, 2019

I wonder if this'll work...

Eventually, I will have to indicate where the jaw cut lines are on a clay vent figure sculpture. But how do I make sure the lines are parallel to each other and straight up and down? Well, this hacked tool might work.

I took two 90-degree-bent brackets and Krazy-glued them together. I measured the top and bottom to make sure the distances between them are the same (in this case, 2-inches apart). Then I Krazy-glued a small line level to the bottom of the brackets.

My plan is to make sure the line-level bubble indicates I'm holding it level, then I'll gently press the edges of the brackets into the clay.

For wider jaws, the brackets could be spaced and glued farther apart. Think it'll work?

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Head on a pole

Sounds grisly, but it's harmless actually. I have mounted the styrofoam armature on a PVC pipe. I drilled a hole at the bottom, vacuumed out the debris and slid the pole into the hole. I used Tacky Glue to secure it.

Next, I need to fill the cavities on either side. As I stated in my last post, I'll try using wadded-up plastic bags secured with duct tape. I don't want to waste paper clay filling those cavities. Plus, the weight would be objectionable if I filled them with paper clay.

Pretty soon I won't be able to avoid starting the actual sculpture. (GULP).

Friday, November 22, 2019

The task before me

My big project is sculpting the alien from the drawing.  As I mentioned previously, the sculpture is for Buzz James of Braylu Creations. He intends to make a mold, produce polyurethane castings, and build figures from the castings. I came up with the drawing with his help, then Buzz provided the styrofoam armature, the vacuum-form eyes, the wood egg eyes, and the PVC-pipe neck.

My first job will be to mount the styrofoam armature on a PVC control stick. I figure I'll drill a series of small-to-larger holes at the bottom of the armature until the control stick slides in. I'll try to glue it in place. Next, I want to fill the cavities in the armature with wadded-up plastic bags secured with duct tape. Then I'll attach the vacuum-form eyes. Finally, the laying on of paper clay begins.

Thursday, November 21, 2019


Can you see it? I can't. I have a common red/green color-blindness. I think I've admitted to that before. In any case, one of my band members saw the Charlie head I'm working on and said, "Oh...a Frankenstein puppet". I asked him why he thought that and he said, "because it's green".

Usually, I ask my wife to check me on color, but she hadn't seen this guy yet. So, yeah. It's green. I prefer house paint on my figures which I order in the sample-size from Home Depot. I picked the color from online swatches. That's not a reliable way to pick color samples because every monitor is different.

I use a Behr house paint color called Coronado Dunes to paint Caucasian skin color. I think I'll mix in some acrylic yellow and try that out for Asian flesh tone.

And that's all for today.