Punch House and prison

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Punch House and prison

Postby Harvey » 25 Oct 2013, 15:40

Decided today I'll make a prison and a house for Mr punch and judy +and may even squeeze a clock in if I have time

Design

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A bit of my prosienium to help me measure things out


Image

Going to cut it out and paint it




Also going to make a hector horse (gosh I am busy) has anybody go any plans for him looked everywhere I could but nothing
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Re: Punch House and prison

Postby Richard Coombs » 25 Oct 2013, 22:36

Hello Harvey .
Well it certainly looks like you are having Fun.


Unless you are very good at cutting out clean straight edged holes : an easier way to make your prison would be to cut the 'window' out as a completer rectangle first .

After that cut some 'bars' a bit longer than the opening hole , and glue them on at the back.

This not only makes it easier to space them out neatly , but also will give a bit of 3D relief to the shape even before you paint it.

Just a thought , hope it is helpful.

Good Luck

Richard
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Re: Punch House and prison

Postby Harvey » 26 Oct 2013, 10:05

Thanks Richard

my dad did say that (beacause of the wood I am using) that it will brake easily and we needed a soloution.
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Re: Punch House and prison

Postby Richard Coombs » 26 Oct 2013, 17:56

Yep in that case Harvey Dad is right.

I took nothing for granted ...I did not know if you were going to transfer your designs to wood or thick cardboard ....but in either case cutting out those shapes would be tricky.


If you are using wood , then you have a load more options available ( actually thinking about it you could still do this even if your main cut out was strawboard or thick card)-

The high street DIY shops ( Wickes , B&Q and the like ) all have a rack full of different sized and shaped wooden dowels and trims .
For about £3 you could go along and pick out either flat strip wood , or dowelling or half round to make great prison bars . The choice of wood is dazzling , and for a small project like yours , it is not outside the realms of 'pocket money' prices.

You can glue great looking 'Bars' to the back of your prison window hole : and even add a decorative 'frame' around the front of that same window - making the whole thing very 3D.

The wood comes in 6ft lengths I think ..so one would easily do all the bars.
Easy to cut with a junior hacksaw .
And a small squeezey pot of wood glue will do the trick ( that will cost you a pound or two more than the wood perhaps , but you will have loads left over for other things)

The 'bars' will glue easily if the wood if you choose is the flat sort ...but it will still work if you choose rounded dowel.

You will have a six foot length of trim to play with ...loads more than you would need even for two 'Prisons" ...so cut the bars extra long and allow at least 5 or 6 cm of wood at to project beyond the window opening at each end. This will give you a greater area to glue , but will result in it all being much stronger.

If you do use dowel , sit each end of the bar in a little puddle of glue overnight ( use selotape or masking tape to anchor each bar in place while it dries ) - with the prison laid flat on something like an old newspaper to catch any glue runs.

In a day or so when its all properly dry ..but not 100% strong ( because the round wood only contacts the flat wood in a tiny narrow area) ... you will need to squeeze some more wood glue down each side of the join at both ends of each bar . You can thicken up the wood glue to a paste by mixing in some sawdust .

You might need to do this for a few nights to build up the strength.

Extra strength will be gained by soaking some strips of fabric ( or left over swazzle tape ?) in the wood glue and using it like sellotape along the top and bottom of the bars : squishing it onto the prison wall ..all around base of each bar ..to the prison wall in between each one , around the next bar and so on across each row.

Make sure you press all that firmly in around each 'join' and leave to dry overnight, longer if needed.

Another application of glue around that , or thickened sawdust glue/paste mix , will ensure maximum strength.

All this takes time to build up and dry over several days I know ....but if you are poking Mr Punches nose /hands through the gaps, you don't want the bars snapping off in the middle of your show.

Bars made with flat wood strips should glue on strongly first time ...even so I might be tempted to used a glue soaked fabric strip over it all for extra peace of mind . But rounded bars might look better ...all up to you.


But it is a fun building project. Good Luck with it.

Post some pics , let us know how you get on.

Richard
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Re: Punch House and prison

Postby Harvey » 02 Nov 2013, 15:27

Also just started carving a policeman
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Re: Punch House and prison

Postby Harvey » 14 Nov 2013, 10:37

nearly finished the policeman will try and get photos as soon as i can no news on the prison and the house

tell a lie there is

all edges have all been straightened and I have had an idea to make the bars stronger

the policeman will hopefully be done for Christmas I don't even have any carving tools just to chisels and a hammer.

the prisons and even the house have names
'Karen's House' and 'st Shane's Prison' (names have been made up)

the policeman's helmet is going to be a bit of a bother.

still no news on hector as I cannot find any plans on him.
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Re: Punch House and prison

Postby Richard Coombs » 14 Nov 2013, 16:46

" The Policemans Helmet is going to be a bit of a Bother"


He he ...never a truer word Harvey :-)

Are you going to do a fabric Helmet in the same material as his uniform ? Or carve in wood?


If you are doing material , put a tape measure around the wooden head where you want the hat brim to be.

Then divide that measurement into 4 or five equal parts . ( think a helmet of 5 panels would turn out less 'boxy' or 'square' than one made of 4 parts ..but I am only guessing , as I always carve mine.)

Then on some cardboard make a template.

Start off with an equal sided triangle ( but then flesh it out to a gentle arch shape ) ..The base of the triangle is the measurement you got from the head . Find the middle of this line and draw a centre line up from it at right angles ( 90 degrees )

Make the height of this line the height you want your helmet to be plus just under a quarter as much again ( 25 percent ) .....this is because with the curve of the arch , the overall height of the bits when sewn together will shrink down the hat height a bit. Leave a good 25 cm extra at the bottom of each panel to turn under to make a good brim- adjusting the size of this fold will also let you adjust the size of hat to suit too.

Turn these two measurements into first a triangle , and then an 'arch' leaving some of the hat brim ends straight not sloped-- or you will end up with more of a witches hat than a police helmet.

Cut out your templates onto fabric ...add extra for hems all round , and sew them all together and turn inside out. stuff with wadding or foam (personally I would get a 50p bath sponge and snip it with scissors roughly to shape and than stretch some wadding over it to soften out the shape , and put the fabric over that ).


A picture being worth a thousand words , I will try to upload something. Not done this before so hold tight .....
Image

You May not get the shape you want the first time ...in which case adjust the templates and try again until you do ...these things are seldom an exact science.

If you have plenty of your blue material then dive in right away once you have constructed your template.
But if you only have just enough blue cloth to cut out the uniform and the helmet once , then you will have to experiment on some scrap fabric until you get the hat shape working the way you like.
...and yes , I know how frustrating and boring that is when you are keen to see a quick result...so I hope you have lots of blue cloth , and so can afford to dive right in and discard any that do not work ( but you might get lucky first time )

The main problem that could happen , would be getting a great looking hat first time , but then finding it is just a bit to tight to get it onto the puppets head.

This would be because your template measuring was a bit too exact , and your seam allowance not generous enough. You could even try making one of the five panels just a smidge wider than the others to make sure you don't get this problem ( that panel could then be the middle front one you put the badge or button on )

After that there is the question of an actual peaked 'brim' , and should you want one a chinstrap.

I would suggest adding these on after the main hat is made , stuffed and glued / nailed in place.

Others might have templates that include a peak already as part of the design ...but this would mean the whole template had to work perfectly first time ( something probably only achievable if you carve policeman quite regularly like Brian Clarke or Miraiker ..and then only if your puppets' heads are roughly the same size each time )

Doing the extra details as 'extra' add on bits to the bulk of the hat would seem the logical path to me , as that way you can fit the hat to your liking to the head first , before decorating it....and after all that might mean having the helmet at a jaunty angle , or leaning back , or forwards ....and as such adding the brim afterwards would be much simpler .

Also if the main hat was pinned on with tin-tacks or upholstery studs , then the glued on brim etc could be used to cover up the metal fixings ( nice to have the brass ones showing on Punches hat as part of the decoration embellishment - but the Policeman needs a simple look perhaps)

Good Luck .

Richard
Last edited by Richard Coombs on 14 Nov 2013, 18:14, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Punch House and prison

Postby Richard Coombs » 14 Nov 2013, 18:04

Or you could carve .....

Image
And Yep that IS most definitily " a Bit of a Bother " as Harvey put it :-)

More pics and a full commentary of my convoluted process on Flickr:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rkcpuppets/

Best Richard
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Re: Punch House and prison

Postby Chris » 14 Nov 2013, 21:16

Fascinating as always Richard.
It's good to squawk!
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Re: Punch House and prison

Postby Richard Coombs » 14 Nov 2013, 21:33

Thank You :-) although I never know how firmly your tongue might be in your cheek Chris :-)

I might be teaching a lot of grandmothers here to suck eggs ,I know , but I hope Harvey will find it useful .
Did you trawl though the full flickr saga ?
All the cutting open and hollowing out proved worth it in the end , I have a -moderately- heavy head despite its size. And it is nicely balanced on my fingers.

By the look of it alone it should weigh much much more , and be unwieldy to use- but early signs are he will be very nimble for chasing Punch about. I will know more when I join the body and head.


But the fabric Helmet method should work Ok for Harvey don't you think?

As I said I have not actually tried this one 'as such' - although I have made several different fabric hats , including a fitted baseball cap with a peak in panels . So this is how I would tackle it if faced with it myself.

A carved police helmet is my preference despite the extra weight , as it makes a nice noise when the slapstick hits it ( you get same with a copper with a fabric hat if you hit the back of his head of course ) ..but a helmet is nice big target to aim at . And as I usually give my policeman matching fur fabric moustache and hair ...the hair on the back of the actual head dulls the sound of the stick a bit ...but the helmet is a much easier 'lump' to aim for.

Cheers Richard
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Re: Punch House and prison

Postby Chris » 14 Nov 2013, 23:25

But the fabric Helmet method should work Ok for Harvey don't you think?


I'm sure it will Richard. That is very much the way I made my helmet. Of course it hasn't the longevity of wood, although it still survives after 33 years. I can date it fairly accurately because a puppeteer called Stephen Mottram was working for us at The Harlequin while I was making this set of puppets, and he only worked for one season which was the summer of 1980.

I used black thin craft felt as the material and used pretty much the method you detail - except as far as I can tell I only used four segments, and then probably tweaked the shape with tucks where needed. I used cotton wool to stuff the helmet, and a blazer button for the badge. The main difference is that unlike you I didn't use templates or patterns. I rarely measure things and tend to just cut freehand - quite the opposite to your craftsmanlike approach. I am not advocating my slipshod methods for anyone else, they are wasteful and hit and miss and indicative of my disorganised mind.

One thing I remember doing is that when finished I soaked the felt in varnish which hardened somewhat when dried - a sort of primitive celastic I suppose. This was a trick I learned from a theatrical prop maker. You can similarly stiffen felt using artists' fixative. But over the years the felt has lost its stiffness and now feels soft. It has, however, retained something of its shape - which is astounding considering the careless way I pack my dolls and the rough handling they get, year in year out.

But yes, I am sure your fabric helmet method will work.

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Re: Punch House and prison

Postby Richard Coombs » 15 Nov 2013, 00:53

He looks jolly fine too Chris.

Varnish on felt is an actual Hatters process I think?


I certainly remember Mary the wardrobe mistress at Polka Childrens Theatre blocking wet felt over wooden head blocks and using FEV ( french enamel varnish ?) on them to make basic hat shapes.


And actually , if I was doing a Police helmet myself , like you Chris I wouldn't bother with templates either ...just cut and tweak . I think something like that will always need a 'tweak' anyhow , which is why I told Harvey it is not an exact science.

But from his comment about not making a Horse yet "because he hasn't seen a Template for one " ...I figured he is a chap that likes templates ( and also wanted to show how to easily calculate dimensions for your OWN templates )

Anyhooo ..hope it all works out for him.

Right Bedtime !

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Re: Punch House and prison

Postby Harvey » 20 Nov 2013, 22:04

Makeing all this for the 2014 season planning to cut the wood soon Will have to paint the policeman soon
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Re: Punch House and prison

Postby Harvey » 10 Dec 2013, 10:08

hi all just like to mention aswell I am starting on a new Mr Punch aswell also a ghost soon
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