Sandart Puppet Factory

The SanDart Puppet Factory
Join us for a moment in our factory to see how our hand-made SanDart Marionettes are created.
How SanDart Marionettes Are Made:

Before anything else, we must have an idea for a puppet which we think would appeal to our customers. This is at times the most difficult step and is most certainly one of the most important parts of the puppet-making process.

A clay sculpture must be made which contains all of the features which the puppet is expected to exhibit. We use both modeling clay and normal pottery clay and hand sculpt each figure ourselves. The Monkey Marionette head is shown to the left with his big stuck out ears, wide smile and sockets to attach his eyes..

After the sculptures are prepared, a plaster mold is cast around the figure. We typically make two-piece molds which can be taken apart easily in order to remove the latex pieces from inside. A three-piece mold is shown to the left for our new Dino Marionette. After a time, the mold gets worn out and a puppet model must be retired. New sculptures must be made if the particular model type is to be replaced.
The next step is to pour the liquid latex into the plaster mold. It takes about a day before the latex skin is ready for removal and final curing outside of the mold. A seam forms on the latex piece which must be removed and sanded down. If air bubbles form in the latex surface, they must be patched and additional sanding is required. Holes are drilled in the pieces in order to secure the control strings in the final assembly.
Once the latex surface is properly prepared, each piece is hand-painted using acrylic-based paints. Some of the paint colors must be specially mixed in order to get the right shade required for the particular piece. The lighter colors usually need more than one coat and fine details are added later.

Each puppet has a specially-designed costume which is sewn individually for each puppet. We generally buy our fabric from retail fabric sources which contain limited quantities of each pattern so there are distinctive differences even within each model type making the SanDart Puppet a truly unique item.

In the final assembly of the puppets, soft fabric bodies are attached to the latex pieces after being stuffed with a polyestester filling. The control lines are then tied to the latex pieces on one end, and to the wooden hand controller on the other. Each puppet is checked thoroughly after assembly to assure proper movement of the body parts.

We are preparing a CD available for purchase which contains complete step-by-step instructions and tips on how to create marionettes of your very own. Send email using this link for more information. Be sure to include in the text your interest in our CD.

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