Silicone and Polyfoam Puppets

Introduction to Silicone Puppets
Saturday, Sept. 22 – 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM

  • Introduction to using readily available silicone for puppets; including texturing and coloring.  Participants will get a chance to try different materials and techniques with silicone rubber to add unique texture and color.  Material fee $5.00.

Painting with Silicone
Saturday, Sept. 22 – 10:45 AM to 12:15 PM

  • Focus on the special techniques and materials to use with silicone, and practice with supplied materials and colors.  Material fee $5.00.

with Tom McLaughlin

Tom McLaughlin Biography

Tom is the guy who created rubber skin for such iconic characters as Miss Piggy, Yoda, Jabba the Hut, Ewoks, Chewbacca, Babe the talking pig and the original Budweiser Frogs. His custom rubber formulations have graced needy amputees and personages the likes of David Bowie and the Conehead family.  Tom developed the Microcellular Latex Foam Formula still in use today in the entertainment industry. His foam is velvety soft and supple – moving easily and gracefully with cell structure so fine it holds up to High Definition Cameras.  He was first to custom color latex foam for movie characters. Pre-coloring rubber helped with painting, and if a piece tore on set the base color would show through and blend in, rather than stark white foam showing, ruining a take and requiring expensive downtime for repair.  Tom helped create magic worlds for screens big and small for Henson, Spielberg, Lucas, Disney. Productions considered landmarks in television and movie history.

Credits include:

Television: The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, Dinosaurs, Saturday Night Live, Comedy Central, Dr. Who.

Motion Pictures: Babe (Academy Award® Best Visual Effects), Return of the Jedi, The Empire Strikes Back, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, E.T. (Consultant), The Muppet Movie, Muppets Take Manhattan, Muppet Christmas Carol, Dark Crystal, Disney’s The Muppets, Disney’s Muppets Again, Return To Oz, Greystoke, Time Bandits, Meaning Of Life, Brazil, Tank Girl, Congo, Island of Dr. Moreau, Blade, 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag, Interview with the Vampire, The Relic, Wind In The Willows.

Tom literally stretched the limits of rubber skin technology for Babe with the world’s first photorealistic animatronic silicone animals on film. In doing so, he helped the movie win the Academy Award® for Best Visual Effects. Originally the Academy was going to pass Babe by. They thought it was just a cute kid’s animal movie.  It was explained Babe involved high technology to realize. A combination of footage of trained animals with animated mouths and silicone doubles – puppeteered live with computer assisted animatronics.  The Academy took a second look. The rest is motion picture history.