Jack Skellington Puppet
The Nightmare Before Christmas
DescriptionThe skeleton was comprised mostly of PVC pipe and hinges. I made his ball joints out of office chair wheels. It took me a while to figure that out. They work pretty well. For stuff like that I would just roam the aisles of Home Depot until I came across something that caught my eye. I have a posable figure of him that seemed like it had the right proportions, so I basically used that figure's measurements to make it 7 feet tall, to scale.
His hands I carved out of wood. I don't really have the proper tools for this. I used a box cutter to whittle... I would wear a leather gardening glove on the hand I was holding the wood with, for when the blade would slip.
The head, I carved out of craft styrofoam with a steak knife. I read online that shop towels are great for papier-mâchéing. They're very flimsy when wet, and still very strong. This is the first time I've done papier-mâché so I don't know how it compares with newspaper, but it did seem to work really well. The first time I did it I used paper towel pieces that were too big. Once it dried I cut off/sanded the wrinkles and did it again with much smaller pieces. Then I plastered it with drywall plaster. After the first layer I sanded it down A LOT. Then I filled in the bigger holes (or as I called them, pock marks) with more plaster. At this point I realized that I just needed to plaster the whole head again, not just because of pock marks, but because I still needed to carve in his nostrils and stitches along the mouth. I spray painted it with a white gloss. Afterward lightly misting it with black. Hand painted the eyes/nostrils/stitches, then added some shading here and there by rubbing in paint, then wiping it off with a wet cloth. The look of the Jack's head at Disneyland was actually a big inspiration, even though he looks like an alien...
Connecting him to my feet was a challenge. It was hard to figure out how to make it comfortable and also not have my knee hitting his leg. Finally I bent a brace meant for wood into kind of a U shape. I drilled the bottom of the U into the bottom of some Goodwill shoes, and the top of the U into Jack's PVC legs. The shoes were perfect, a size too big to make room for the thick rubber insole I made to cover the screws on the inside, plus elongated toes to leave plenty of shoe to look like his foot. I wish his arms had a better range of motion, but they work alright. I toyed with adding poles to his arms to control them, but it seemed easier just to actually hold them, so I scrapped that idea.
I started by encasing his torso with off-white fleece and stuffing it. I made his clothes out of a black stretchy, velvety material I got for $2.98 a yard. I painted all his pinstripes on with "dimensional fabric paint". One thing that bothered me about all the costumes I found online, were that everyone seemed to just use a pinstriped material, but his pinstripes have definite patterns and aren't straight at all. Which makes it easy for doing freehand. Actually, that was a great thing about Jack in general, his style is very unsymmetrical and imperfect, so I didn't have to worry about things like his eyes or nostrils being the exact same size.
Weight - 22.5 lbs
Height - 7'3"
Cost - $250
Time to build - Roughly, a month and half.
Ragtime Mouth That is so cool and clever, awesome job.
Sheikahchica Seriously? No comments on this yet? WONDERFUL WORK!! Very nice alternative for a more realistic Jack! Really solves the problem of those thin limbs!