Adam Savage’s One Day Builds: Making a Puppet!

Adam Savage is a HUGE fan of puppets. And so a very special One Day Build was conceived when Rick Lyon, creator of the puppets for the Tony award-winning musical Avenue Q, invited Adam to stop by his Newark workshop to design and build his very own puppet. Everyone, please meet Finn!

Shot and edited by Joey Fameli

Comments (48)

48 thoughts on “Adam Savage’s One Day Builds: Making a Puppet!

  1. Great video. I like how Rick when demoing the puppets begins/continues to talk while moving the mouth of the puppets. It is great to see their design and build process of his puppets while working with Adam. Also Adam cool hat!

  2. Love it!
    A bit of a tangent but I’d love to see Adam do a clinic on sewing. Discuss his favorite sewing projects, do some demo, and recommend a machine for beginners.

  3. This is great! I’m sad to see Mythbusters leaving the air, but the upside to all of that is the potential for increased posts with Adam on Tested.com.

    I’m headed from New York to San Francisco in a couple of months and consider bring along my recently received print of Adam’s toolbox drawings in case I get the chance to have it signed.

    We just launched a Kickstarter for a project we’ve started for remapping cities with aerial photogrammetry and offering them to the public in various sections. Adam, we’d love to send you some from your old stomping grounds in New York if you’re interested.

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/towndesign/microscape-architectural-cityscape-models

  4. Epiphanies from watching this video:
    – String of beads holding Kate Monster’s arm together!
    – Gutermann thread!
    – Toy balls for eye bases!
    – Dremel!
    – Cardboard mouth plate?
    – Kate Monster Patterns!
    – Corset boning!
    – L200 foam!
    – Dainty arm rods!

  5. Love this, brilliant guys! Great to see work spaces of different makers too.

    Also, Rick reminded me of someone, then it clicked, he sounds exactly like Jeff Goldblum, build and face slightly too. In a film about Rick, Jeff could totally play him.

    Great stuff Adam and Tested 🙂

  6. Fantastic video guys, loved watching the conception and creation process. Joey, loved the camera work on this one, amazing job, I’d argue one of your best.

  7. as a puppeteer for 8 years I was so happy to see this episode – I even learned a few tricks – thanks again and keep up the good work- I love the one day builds

  8. I’d like to see a video about Adam’s hats. Anyone else?

    Oh, and this is super awesome. ODB’s are the greatest.

  9. That was awesome! This build joins the Rancor and Traveling Beaver Box as some of my favorite Tested videos.

    Hopefully we’ll get to see the puppet again in the future – after all he does need a display stand (or a box), if not a nice set of eye mechs…

  10. He is like an Elmo cousin, isn’t he? Too bad there isn’t a nice close up on the stitching process. And did you changed the camera? The image was better than usual…

    Thanks for the video! Great job!

  11. As a lifelong Henson fan, a decade-long Mythbusters fan, and a dedicated premium Tested fan, this was AMAZING. Without a doubt my favorite one-day build so far, and quite possibly my favorite Tested video yet. (but that’s a high mark to hit!) Well done!!! Loved it!!

  12. I’m usually a lurking premium member, but this ODB is totally fantastic. Been a long time fan of Ave. Q but I’ve never looked into the construction of its puppetry.

    It was also fun to see the pattern making from paper and muslin; it grids right on top of Adam’s philosophy of building from planar forms.

    Lastly, props to Joey on the camerawork. I enjoyed the way the camera moved to allow puppet’s faces to obscure their puppeteer. Also the gentle movement as multiple builders speak up in a room, compared to the usual ODB where the action is focused on one or two people at most.

  13. HELP; The Little brown hand puppet we glimpse briefly when they are explaining the arm movement, Where could I find something like that??

    reaching out to the community here for help!!

  14. Huge fan of Avenue Q. Saw it multiple times in London and also one of the local amateur dramatic shows that was done locally. I was even molested by Lucy the Slut one time in London when they took the puppets out and about.

    Fantastic job on the puppet though. Great to see how it really was just eyeballing the shapes and then experience kicking in. Beads for the arms was a particularly interesting insight into the process. Not something I would have thought of.

    But.. Trekkie Monster still rocks. 🙂

  15. I started making puppets a few years ago for fun. This is the first one I made:

    Last fall I made a Chewbacca puppet:

    Considering taking the mustache off of my first puppet and turning him into Han Solo to go with Chewie.

  16. I think the cardboard was just when they were mocking it up. They didn’t mention what material they used for the mouth plate. Later when you see it with the black felt for the inside of the mouth there is a thin white plastic like material instead of cardboard.

    My 2 big take aways were the corset boning and beads for arms. I want to make another puppet now!

    Are you looking to buy one or make one yourself? It looks very similar to this pattern that you can buy online http://www.projectpuppet.com/the-glorified-sock-puppet-pattern/

  17. This is brilliant gents!!! Puppetry is one of my passions, if you couldn’t tell by the profile pic haha. Adam, do you have any plans for this puppet and will we see more of him?

    Thanks Tested for this wonderful content!

  18. That really captured my imagination and is one of my favourite (yes canadian spelling) vids to date! Thanks!

  19. This is hands-down my favorite ODB. Major props to the crew for a beautifully produced video as well. I love the moments where we focus on one of the guys working on a piece and you can hear all of the conversation in the background. So happy for more ODB videos!!

  20. Those look great. I have some puppeteer friends, always impressed by the various builds they come up with. Keep building them!

  21. Your puppets are fantastic. I especially like the moustache.

    A couple years ago my girlfriend and I decided to make one another Christmas gifts. I had already moved to Atlanta and she was still temporarily living in Kentucky, so we used FaceTime to communicate every night. I thought it would be fun if we had puppets of ourselves to use on FaceTime. I had never made a puppet before, and if I had to do it again I would approach the problem differently. But, in the end I used the same materials and many of the same techniques Rick used in the video.

    Here are the finished products:

  22. Love it!
    A bit of a tangent but I’d love to see Adam do a clinic on sewing. Discuss his favorite sewing projects, do some demo, and recommend a machine for beginners.

    I actually came to the comment section to say something about sewing… Seeing (and hearing!) those Berninas nearly made me cringe. If you want a really solid sewing machine that can tackle just about anything you throw at it, a cast iron (or aluminum) Singer is the way to go. These stamped steel construction, plastic framed (and even plastic running gear) sewing machines they make these days are wobbly, unreliable and noisy. Whereas an old solid metal Singer will sew perfectly straight every time, without missing a stitch.

    My wife is kind of a sewing machine nut, and has managed to get me drawn into it. So far we’ve restored a little over half a dozen old Singers and my wifes bridal shop uses them as their main machines. Her favorite, and the machine that got us hooked on old Singers is her 201K from 1936 (pictured above). We found it in pretty good condition, only had to clean and oil it thoroughly, recondition the wooden case and had someone to redo the wiring. The running gear is fully metallic, and the motor is connected to the machine with a reduction gear, not a belt like even inside most modern plastic covered machines. Which means there’s no give and the sound is blissfully smooth. And with modern wiring it should keep running perfectly at least for the next 50 years.

  23. THIS is why I joined Tested. Great vid! Seeing talented people doing what they do best and seeing a talented builder, aka Adam, learning and loving the process of something new gives me hope.

  24. Wow!

    Am I nuts or would that puppet look even better standing next to Adam if it had a part combed into the facial fur and were wearing a beret?

    Had to stop the vid and grab a quick screen capture of the eyebrow mech for later reference.

    Corset boning you say? [makes note on shopping list]

    So much info brain cannot assimilate. Must re-re-re-watch, but had to post and say

    Thanks!

    Awesome super cool!

    Rock on!

    Viva Tested!

    Long live Savage!

  25. This was a fantastically intelligent video. Loved how much we got of Rick’s design theories and thought process. Great interviews with all the builders.

  26. omg I now have to start making puppets, I had an epiphany moment, I have been looking for something to tie all of my stuff together, I learned to sew, to make foam items now I’m going to try puppets, thanks Adam, I hope you took that drawing and had him sign it to keep with your puppet.

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