Cat and Thomas (Part 2 – Replacement Faces)

Quick note: Morezmore is now on Instagram – morezmorestudio
Another quick note: We sell everything I use here. So if you see something useful, get it from Morezmore.

Puppet Cat, Making of – step by step.

Continued from Part 1.

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Sculpting Head and Hands

Sculpted the head. The clay is 1:1 mix of Living Doll polymer clay and Cosclay polymer clay.
Meet Cat!
it is always an exciting moment when I take a first look into my puppet’s eyes. Even if the eyes are closed.
Cat, like all puppets for this film, will have composited human eyes added in post-production.

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A few next steps before the fitting.

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Testing after fitting the neck joint

Next – cut the head into 2 parts and install mini magnets in the back part. Smallest size 4×3 mm (M00880) for this puppet.
IMPORTANT: THE MAGNETS CANNOT BE HEATED! They lose the magnetism. So the way to use the magnets in polymer clay head:
– sculpt the back of the head,
– make indentations for the magnets,
– remove the magnets,
– bake,
– install the magnets with threadlock epoxy.

Here is master head and face plate, ready for molding.

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Clay hands are sculpted, baked and ready for molding. Same mix of clay over aluminum wire armature

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Mold boxes

glass panels
sulphur-free plasticine
half-sphere key markers
– black plastic sticks  – those are handles from my used disposable brushes, I save them for this purpose
orange oil for plasticine smoothing and cleanup.

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Hand Mold

– Ultracal 30
Ease Release, preferably, or petroleum jelly – for not allowing the clay to stick to plaster.

First half of the hard mold
133 gram water + 350 gram ultracal 30 (38:100)


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Getting ready to pour second half of the hand mold

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And here is the hand mold.
Hopefully it will produce acceptable silicone hands, they are just so tiny… Well, we shall see.

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Head mold is ready. The face part turned out perfect.
That is awesome, because I will need to make 25 faces and having a good mold is a good start for pain-free face-making experience.
The back of the head – I had to pry the master form out and chipped he edges of the mold, so the copies will be not so great. But I only need to make 3 back portions of the head, so I will just live with it. 2 heads for Cat – one with long hair, one with short. 1 head for Thomas (Cat’s twin brother).

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Hardware for face plates
3D pen printing the hardware plates for Cat’s back of the head and for the replacement faces.
Why I am making them:
– when making the back of the head: the square neck tube tends to drift
in the clay to some wrong place during sculpting the back of the head. To avoid that, embedding the square tube in the filament keeps it in its place.
– when making replacement faces: same problem with the hex nuts which will be attracted to magnets, they tend to drift and setting them in filament ensures that they stay in their right spots.
– when making replacement faces: when I press the clay into the hard mold to make a copy, it is hard to get it out without distorting.  So the plate has an embedded nylon threaded standoff (black thing in the middle) that I can screw a threaded rod into and pull the face up quickly, neatly and smartly out of the mold. See the flesh colored plates below for the final design. The nylon standoff can be cut into smaller parts, I am cutting M3x10 standoff into 3 parts, 3mm long, with wire cutters. I also tried nylon acorn nuts, but standoffs are better and cheaper.

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And here is the first batch of the faces.
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Second, “happy” batch of Cat’s replacement faces. They took forever, 4ever, forevah
The clay  is a 1:1 mix of Cosclay and Super Sculpey Living Doll (Fairy Light color).

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Micro dentristry.
I was hoping I can bake the faces, then add white clay on top of the teeth and rebake. Because sculpting the face and adding the different color teeth to a raw clay face is just too much of a headache in this mini scale. So here is the test – it works.

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More faces…
As we all can see, bad feelings are not attractive even on a pretty doll face.

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What I have left to finish: these (except some extremes on the right) and then all the phoneme faces for lipsync (about 6-8). The extra bake for teeth created a clay color shift on some faces. Mercifully, the film will be in black and white. But lesson learned, there should be same number of bakes on all faces.

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The filament finally arrived and I can continue with the rest of the face replacements.
And I was excited to find it in flesh color.

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Next installment of Cat’s replacement faces

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All the faces of Cat. Made a chart to make selection a bit easier, will put the numbers on the back of the faces.

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Continues on Part 3

20 comments on “Cat and Thomas (Part 2 – Replacement Faces)

  1. That was amazing–she’s so real! And so small!! Thank you for all the detailed info too. I learn as much from your blogs as I have from some paid classes and I’m very grateful for all the tips and extra information.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are truly amazing and so generous to share all your knowledge with us. All the best! Fantastic work, just beyond great!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. just a question: when you blend the two polymers, how much of a difference is there from just using them unblended? i’m looking to develop something similar and i’m researching polymers.


    • The resulting mix is soft and stretchy when still in hands. Bakes to hard rubber, more rubbery than sculpey, but less than cosclay. In other words, behaves as expected.


      • That’s great to know! The shop i order from has plenty of cosclay but they have difficulty ordering the living doll because their supplier has a shortage problem of raw materials so there’s a 2-3 month delay in orders for it.


      • Yes, same here! Our store is also on hold with Sculpey but plenty of Cosclay.


  4. Thank you for posting this, it’s so interesting and helpful! When you’re sculpting the different faces, how do you keep them from distorting (after you’ve removed them from the mold and while you’re re-sculpting)? Do you have any tips for making sure the facial features are consistently placed on the face?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have a few questions —

    I noticed that for the hardware plates, your latest faces use a 3D printed version. And in past tutorials, you’re using what (I think) looks like polymer clay for the hardware plates. What are the advantages of 3D printed over a polymer clay plate?

    What kind of filament do you use in the 3D pen?

    Also, where did you find the reference sheet for the face shapes?

    Thank you, this is all very inspiring and helpful!


  6. Certainly! yes, first it was clay, then 3d pen printed, and now 3d printer printed.
    Basically, I have been trying to find a way to make them 1) all the same in a more precise way and 2) make them faster. Or better yet, pre-made. So 3d printer printed will be the way to go. I am actually working with a 3d printer person to get them developed and made for me and for sale. Here are the first experiment with 3d printer printed:

    The reference was sent to me by the animators, and they lifted it from internet.
    Facial Expressions: by Scott McCloud. Here it is for you:

    Thank you for reading my blog. Just wanted to mention that my more recent projects are on Instagram, patreon.com/morezmore (most posts free public access) and youtube (search for morezmore)


  7. glad to hear it, Jonathan! 🙂


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