Maintaining Your Soft Sculpture Puppet

All puppets from The Dummy Shoppe are treated before leaving the “delivery room”, however, they need to be re-treated from time to time.  Generally, if they are re-treated on an annual basis, that is more than enough to keep them in great shape.
FIRST – Always cover the eyes with blue (painters grade) masking tape.  Scotchgard is a wonderful preservative of fabrics, but it will destroy the finish on eyes if they are not covered.
Once the eyes are covered, take a can of spray Scotchgard (available in the paint department of most of the major building supply chains) and lightly spray the entire exposed fabric of your puppet holding the can 9 to 12 inches away from the puppet.  When this is dry in an hour or two, gently remove the tape from the eyes and you are good to go for another year.
If your puppet is used 3-4 times a week, repeat this process every six months or so.

Cleaning Your Soft Sculpture Puppet

From time to time, lint and debris may accumulate on your puppet.  You NEVER want to rub Antron (Muppet Fleece) as it will ball up like an old sweater from the 70’s.  Instead, obtain a sticky link removing roller from your favorite department store.  (Usually about -.00)   Roll the lint removing roller all over the puppet to remove stray hairs and fibers.  If you cannot find a lint roller, go to your favorite home supply store and buy a roll of 1-1/2″ blue painters masking tape.  Using a piece about 4-6 inches long, blot all over your puppet to achieve the same effect as the roller.
In more extreme cases, use a vacuum cleaner set on the lowest setting and carefully vacuum the puppet.
If you have spots which need removal, try using a soft cloth with warm water and blot at the spot.  If all else fails, use a drop of “Johnson’s Baby Shampoo” (No more tears) and VERY lightly blot in small circular motions to try to remove the spot.  Then rinse lightly several times, always being careful not to put any real pressure on the fabric which would cause it to ball up.

Storing Your Puppet

As much as we all like to keep our puppets working, there are times when one needs to be stored for some period of time.  
Remember, Puppets are People too.  Just like you, your soft sculpture puppet needs air flow around him.  DO NOT store your puppet in a plastic bag for extended periods of time.  The foam in a soft sculpture puppet will break down more quickly when it has no available air.  We recommend covering your puppet with something like a pillow case.  Also, just like you, your puppet does not want to be left out in bright sunlight for extended periods of time.  By storing him/her in a pillow case that is kept in a dark, cool environment you will extend his/her lifespan by many years.

Replacing Fingernails

One tip we would like to address is the fingernails.  
Although we have only had one instance where we heard about someone losing a fingernail from their puppet, we decided that since it was possible, we would include a tip on how to replace the missing nail.
We recommend that you just add a couple of items to the “fix-it” box that all Vents who have been doing vent for more than a day or two have.  THINGS DO BREAK.
If you should ever lose a nail, all you have to do is go to your fix-it box and glue it back on.  We will teach you how.
Things you will need:

  1. a Q-tip swab
  2. the fingernail
  3. Contact Cement

We do recommend keeping Q-tips in your fix-it box.  For Contact Cement, go to the paint department of any Lowe’s or Home Depot.  If they have Contact Cement in a small tube, that is the easiest to keep in your fix-it box.  If they do not have a tube, get the smallest can they have.
Dab your Q-tip in to the contact cement and roll it around to just get a little bit on the end.  Then apply a small amount to the injured finger or toe in the spot where the nail will go.  Apply a small amount to the underside of the appropriate nail and wait about a minute.  After a minute, press the nail firmly onto the finger and set aside for about ten minutes.  
All done.
NOTE: For those of you who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, DON’T BE TEMPTED.  Although it is the right kind of glue. . . sniffing glue will just make you miss the show and since you are the performer, this would be bad!!!!