Muppets in the making

Sophomore Flavio Teimouri makes puppets for the children at his church

Sophomore Flavio Teimouri opening Kermits mouth. He learned how to operate puppets by watching youtube videos.

photo by Provided by Flavio Teimouri.

Sophomore Flavio Teimouri opening Kermit’s mouth. He learned how to operate puppets by watching youtube videos.

Alex Konvalina, Social Media Editor

After volunteering at his church’s week-long summer camp, sophomore Flavio Teimouri saw children’s joy when their favorite Disney characters walked on stage, and he wanted to do something for them.

“I wanted to bring them that same feeling of happiness, but I don’t like dressing up,” Teimouri said. “I liked Disney and the Muppets, so I figured I could build a replica of Kermit the Frog and take it to VBS the next year in order to make the kids happy.”

Teimouri set out to get approval from Joanna Puccio-Ball, the youth group leader at Most Precious Blood Catholic Church. Puccio-Ball quickly approved and he began to research Jim Henson – the creator of the Muppets – and puppet building. After plenty of trial and error, he created his first replica of Kermit the Frog.

“When he first brought them to a youth night, I was shocked! They looked so much like the real thing and he even knows how to do the voices for some of the characters,” Puccio-Ball said. “Flavio is so incredibly creative, it’s amazing.”

He originally intended to only make one, but after Kermit’s success, he decided to expand on what he learned and attempted building more Muppets.

“After building Kermit, I got worried that people would get tired of seeing him so much. Besides, Kermit can’t perform many skits by himself,” Teimouri said. “So I started to build more, starting with Kermit’s best friend, Fozzie Bear.”

He chose to make the Muppets because they are always happy and almost everyone knows them. He also enjoys how they can make anyone laugh while using family-friendly humor.

“I have seen the puppets and while they don’t look exactly one to one to the show, they look amazing especially considering he made them all by himself,” senior Nick Hamilla said.

So far, he has only built two puppets, but he is in the process of making Scooter and Beaker. After he finishes with those, he hopes to make Miss Piggy, another of the kids’ favorites, along with some Sesame Street characters such as Bert, Ernie, Elmo and Cookie Monster.

Typically, it takes about a month to build a puppet. He first has to look into the materials and techniques that work best for each different character. To make the body shape, he has to create a pattern, put it onto craft foam and connect the pieces using hot glue or five-minute epoxy. Then comes covering the foam in fleece or fur and adding minor features such as the eyes or nose.

The price of building a puppet varies on the quality of the materials he bought. Foam and fleece are not as expensive as fur, which can cost up to $20 to $25. A small puppet usually comes out to around $30 to $45, while a large puppet with quality materials is about $80 to $100. His Fozzie Bear replica cost him $120 for just the materials.

Even though building a puppet requires a lot of time and money, Teimouri was determined to get it done for the kids. The hard-work proved to be worth it and the puppets were a huge hit among all ages.

“The kids loved it. Even when he brings them to our high school events, his peers are fascinated by the work he’s done,” Puccio-Ball said.