Thursday, August 8, 2013
The Frog Armature
I've completed the armature and my frog is now ready to be dressed in her fairy outfit. Here's how I made the armature.
The body is stuffed fabric. I used the fabrics I intend to use for the outfit - the coral pink for the top and the turquoise for the bottom.
Three 12 gauge single strand plastic coated electrical wires form the "skeleton" of the armature. One wire is the neck, spine, and left leg. The second wire is the spine and right leg. I wrapped these two together along the spine portions with 22 gauge craft wire then secured the wrapping with hot glue. The third wire goes crosswise through the body for the arms and shoulders.
When I sewed the body pieces together I left an opening in the back for stuffing, I cut tiny holes for threading the wires for the arms and legs.
I began the assembly by running a gathering stitch around the hemmed neck edge of the body and tying it tightly to attach the body to the neck. (When I sculpted the head, I made a deep groove in the neck to accept the cloth body.) Then I inserted the spine/legs wires through the opening in the back of the body and threaded them through the small leg holes I had cut in the body. I pulled the leg wires downward as far as I could to allow me some wiggle room for inserted the neck wire into the hole I had made in the bottom of the head, and I used hot glue to secure the head to the neck wire. Finally, I inserted the arm wire into the body through one of the holes I cut for the arm wire, pushed it through the body, and out the opposite arm wire hole.
Then it was on to the stuffing. I stuffed it pretty full so it would nice and sturdy, then stitched up the opening in the back of the body.
When I initially cut the wires for the arms and legs I made them longer than I thought I would need them, so now it was time to figure out how long I really wanted them and trim them to length. I attached the lower arms/hands and lower legs/feet to the wires with hot glue.
My final step was to stitch wrappings of felt strips around the upper arms and upper legs. Since these areas are going to be covered with sleeves and pant legs I suppose the felt isn't strictly necessary. But it adds a nice bit a bulk and, now that I think of it, prevents the arm wire from shifting back and forth.