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    How to get started making outdoor figures/dolls?


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    I'd like to start making themed outdoor animated scenes where I have figures/dolls such as elves and reindeers. They can be purchased, but what fun would that be?

    I've gotten some great info from PC contributors regarding motors to use for animation, but now I'm looking for the how-tosfor making figures/dolls with the Christmas theme in mind.

    Can anyone recommend links or provide inputs for this? Such as the how-tos for making heads, body frames, vendors for purchasing head+body+doll parts instead of making from scratch, costuming, materials to use when making outdoor figures/dolls, etc.

    dallasmike

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    Ever thought of making outddor cutouts with coro.

    Lightweight and waterproof.

    You can animate them with reindeer motors.

    Here is a link to the motors for $9.00 each.

    http://www.cwebdirect.com/pivetarm.html

    http://www.britestar.com/products.ASP?PID=7567&SID=3600005

    Here is a link to corrugated plasticsales site $13.95 sheet plus u.p.s. shipping

    http://www.signsupplystore.com/ProductCart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=10913#details

    -Duane

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    Can anyone recommend links or provide inputs for this? Such as the how-tos for making heads, body frames, vendors for purchasing head+body+doll parts instead of making from scratch, costuming, materials to use when making outdoor figures/dolls, etc.

    Good question. After seeing several displays on the HGTV Christmas display specials, I have been wondering where these people are getting these animated figures and dolls. There must be acommon linkto the companies that supply the stores with their various holiday window displays, but I have not heard much about what is available to the public. Much of what I have seen is custom work for the commercial market. To me, this translates into being costly.

    For me, it seems that we have maxed out the lighting and computer animation to a degree, and it would be a natural progression to focus on the more decorative aspects of the display,perhaps to include these animated dolls into out Santa's Workshop. I would love to know more of these particulars to get an idea of the cost and to plan a scene layout to use these figures.

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    I have a site for you. Don't be afraid of the title, he does Christmas too.

    http://www.born2haunt.com/

    http://www.born2haunt.com/xmas2002.html

    http://www.born2haunt.com/Elve02.html

    I am planning on making foam elves and animating them. I already have a toy shop building in mind. I just need to revamp it. I can't wait tilll Christmas 2006. It is gonna be cool.

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    Sorry this post is long but just trying to help:

    I have a little scarecrowthat I made for Halloween...he isn't animated but I did manage to change him into an elf forChristmas. I needed something to look like it was pushing my lemonade cart...had the cart decked out in orange lights and pumpkins for Halloween...have it in LEDs with little plastic candies and cookies...for Christmas.

    There are different ways to go about making dolls and their faces. Some crafters use clay and make their faces that way.You can also buy vinyl faces...if you look in a local craft store or fabric store they carry small versions of faces for doll makers. Online you should be able to find out where you can buy bigger faces, just depends on the size you want...oryoucan also look up doll makers or dollhospitals or people who make vinylmasksin your area and ask them some questions. Or if you have a local school for the arts they might offer you some ideas on where to get supplies.

    My elf has a fabric face, stryofoam head. They make iron on transfers for faces or some people just use fabric paint and paint them on. This is nice as each elf/doll you can give a different look to. You can use covered buttons for noses or even pom pom noses.Fake eyelashes for a real eye opener.

    I have also seen faces made with foam, like Mark says he is going to doand some that are covered with stockings to give them an aged appearance but stockings snag especially if your hands are dry.

    I used burlap for the scarecrows clothes and felt foron the elf. Both are easy fabrics to work with. Need little sewing, the edges don't fray on felt. Also if you just use cord, ribbon or even twist tiesyou can just tie it around the wrists, necklines, legs for cuffs and it will hold the fabric in place. Felt also is fun in the fact that you can cut it pointy for rough edges, pinking shearsgive a good effect.I did Scotch-Gard the Fabric for outdoor weather. Another fabric that seems to hold up well and doesn't fray is that new washable faux suede. It is a little more expensive though but would look great as a reindeer. Now if you are doing dolls in fancy dress thengo to your local fabric store and see what you like. The people there should help you out and tell you what fabrics would work best for your needs.Keep in mind some things you may have on hand....like old flannel shirts..you can cut them down and put them onaSantas workshop elf or even a small boys flannel shirt and jeanswould work or an old robe that you no longer use.

    If you want something that is going to last for years and years...I would recommend putting them where weather isn't going to be a factor. As you noticed most of the ones on the shows are covered somehow. If you are going to have them out in the weather I recommend that you prewash the fabrics as they do shrink and some of them will bleed/run.

    Arms and legs can be anything. You can use something that you stuff or even metal or wood...as you can cover them with fabric so nothing shows. If you want arms and such to show...like maybea doll with short sleeves then you will need to find who supplies doll parts. To me it would just be easier to use long sleeves.

    Hands I have seen made out of vinyl or foam or once again stockings...just stuffed and sewn where the fingers are. My scarecrow had straw coming out of his sleeve...for the elf I just made felt mittens and put itover the straw.

    There are patterns out there for clothdolls, doll clothes, stuffed animals and even stuffed animal clothes...like teddy bears.

    Hair can be anything from yarn to straw to wigs that they sell for dolls. Even an old white sheet torn by hand would work as elf hair or one of those rag mops.

    Sequins sewn or gluedon the clothes can add a bit of sparkle. Looks nice in the daytime when your display isn't lit. Especially the bigger sequins...I put big gold snowflakes on my elf costume.

    Shoes can be made out of felt also for elves...or you can find doll shoes...once againcraft stores sell these.Look for childrens/babies shoes on sale...or even justchildrens socks (bell on theend)will work on elves if you have the right size of elf. Also look for slippers, alittle pair of bunny slipperswould begood for a laugh.

    Why do I only have one smallelf in my yard...whenI couldhave had a dozen or larger ones orother things like that....because I may love to quilt...but I hate to make dolls andclothes.

    Oh and some local places do offer doll making classes. Though you might be the lonely fellow there...the woman would love it.

    Snowmen now they are really easy to make out of styrofoam and felt with a guazy fabric over them or withsparklesor with the paint that looks like snow. You can also dress them in vest or scarfs...remember they too can wave...or tip their hats or look like they are hanging lights up on a treewith their little stick arms.

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    Just to add what Mary said, the guy from born to haunt recommended "The Foam Book" to me last year for making foam puppets. My wife bought it for me this year topractice with making puppets. The book only has about 112 pages, so it isn't long. But it does tell you how to make characters and where to buy the foam. So, it is an ok book. My plans for next year are add on to my crypt that I made this year.(Picture below) so that it looks like a toy shop. All I need to do is redo the front to make it look like a window and the walls to look like bricks. Anyway, theelf puppets will go inside so that it looks like elfs aremaking toys. I can't wait. I just hopeI have enough time for Halloween and Christmas. I guess I Will have to make time.I already bought another controller for next year, so I will have to do both. But, my goal for next Christmaswill look somewhat like the 2nd picture. So,wish me luck. The 3rd picture is what I am truly tryingto do.I snaped this picture on 67th street in Downers Grove, Illinois. He has these all over. I really want to do something like this.

    DSC01713.jpg

    Mvc-115f.jpg

    DSC01968.jpg

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    Mark,

    That ghost scares me...it's so dead like...if I were little no way would I come near your house at Halloween. No matterwhat kind of candy you give out.Though I can see it's doubleuse at Christmas as the Ghost of Christmas Future if someone did a Dickens theme.

    Those reindeer though...oh those I would love to have.

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    Thank you Mary. But, I didn't have any problems with the little kids coming to the house. I actually had a record number of kids come to the house this year. And everyday I had kids sitting in front of my house wanting to see the ghost. It was unbelievable.

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