Work on the unfinished Troll Screamers shown above as well as several NEW Troll Screamers will resume soon. I have several body parts ready to go for the new creations.

Saturday, 10 October 2009


String or wire hooped joints on string puppets are perfect for easy moving flowing joints. Especially for fast moving dancing puppets. What if you wanted a more smooth yet sill fluid joint though how could you achieve that? Simple take a leaf out of natures book of designs thats how & make a 'true' ball & socket joint thats how. The same joint can be tightened to make an art doll have moving & fixable poses too. Here's how to do it.

Take a ball of any size that fits your project then cover both in paper strips 6/8 should be more than sufficient, add more if you wish. I made one darker than the other here for no ther reason other than making the pictures easier to understand. Do not forget to add some kind of limb 'anchor' points to 'both' the ball & the 'socket' for limb attachment later. To keep the joints as light as possible especially for string puppets cut the 'ball' out of the joints when dry. If the joints are small then this won't be a requirement anyway.

Now cut the top off one of them around a quarter of the top you can remove more if this is not enough. Try NOT to remove too much at first or you will have to make an entirely NEW 'socket' joint if you cut too much off at first.

Now cut 2 slits into it on opposite sides around a third of the way down from the cut open edge.

Now simply slip the 'socket' over the 'ball'. The 'split' WILL open slightly do not be concerned this IS meant to happen. Unless you did not make the slit deep enough there should be no problems no matter how many layers of strips you added to the joints.

If you are making a string puppet then leave this split loose at this next stage. If you are making an art doll that you want to pose later then pull the split a little tighter at this next stage. Now take some tape & seal over the splits pulling the splits as tight as required for the type of project i just mentioned.

Make sure you have the 'entire' split covered.

Now test the joint gently.

Ease the joint straight then in a single go pierce a hole clean through the joint. ONLY do this NOW as the balls WILL be weak on the sides especially the one that you cut the top off. Doing this NOW means you have better support across the outter surface of BOTH balls for this step. I prefer a large cross head screw driver myself but YOU use what ever YOU are comfortable with.

Now tape a length of nylon cord to a wooden skewer or something similar (long & thin). Then feed this through the ball & socket joint.

Knot up one end or attach something that will not slip through. Pull the cord 'snugg' then fix it tight in place.

When it comes to joints for string puppets then as this joint slackens off with wear it will become a smooth action joint which will give the puppet a much more natural look to it's movements. Of course you want the joints to remain stiff for an art doll which you can still pose too. So for an art doll replace the nylon cord with small but strong elastic bands to maintiain a snugg grip to the joint(s). Either way the nylon cords or elastic bands will keep the joint together even if it falls apart at some stage until you can repair or replace the joint.

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