Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Hoy! So I worked on the feature film "Coraline," I've never taken the time to blog about that experience or post pictures, Soooo here we go!

For the film I was a puppet fabricator, specifically casting and seaming silicone. I also coordinated hands about half way through the production and was responsible for how many hands were needed for which shots and when... .. this was a great experience and I worked with a lot of very talented artists.
For anyone who doesn't know much about stop motion puppetry, basically my job was to erase the seam that occurs after silicone, foam, or resin are cast in a 2 or 3 part mold.

Two part Bobinsky mold, with completed hand armature ready for casting.
The Coraline boot on the left is a freshly cast and unseamed, notice the boot on the right now seamed and painted.

Like the ninja of stop motion, the better my job is done, the less you know I'm there. The challenging part about this job is not only the ability to sit and hold silicone as it's drying (for a very long time), but also repairing the torn silicone/foam.. on set. This is when you then take your puppet first aid kit, go on set to fill in a tear the size of a pin head, while leaning over some lights, and not touching the puppet or moving any of the very important "Hot" items.
The most rewarding part of my job were the days when I was asked to problem-solve some tiny function of a puppet part. For example, in the scene where Coraline removes her boot and throws it at Wybie, I had the fun task of figuring out how to make a removable silicone boot that could hold its shape and then be thrown. It needed to be strong enough to be tied into the set, while being flexible enough to slide over the heel of the foot without tearing, then be able to bend for squash and stretch as it's gliding through the air.
There are many other things to talk about from this film, and I will try to post once a week some small experience from Laika. Here are some pictures until then!

My desk in the very beginning! It was not this clean for very long!

Here I'm seaming a Young Forcible Arm to be used for a close up shot.

My awesome work gear, I liked that my respirator matched my hair, and I miss the sweet purple gloves!

This is my partner in crime Sid! Notice she is working on an Adult Forcible hand, on her desk you can see many hands we were working on together, as well as my purple hand holder! ( sneaky Sid) Working with small batches of silicone (the same used to cast items), we used a series of techniques to apply it, masking the seam underneath. We used the same techniques to paint the nails and shading on the hands.


  1. Hey, I am a senior animation student at KCAI. I was delighted to see that your specialty was patching and seaming freshly cast silicone parts. I was wondering if I could pick your brain for some tips. Jeremy Spake has been helping me through email to build my puppet, so I have the tools/products to seam and patch, but would appreciate some tips from you since you have probably spent an ungodly amount of time doing this. Any advice would be helpful. I communicate better over email if you have time.

    Also if you want to check out some of the stuff I've done check out my blogger and vimeo. I don't have pictures of my armature up yet but there is some other stuff up there.



  2. hey,
    I just found your blog, while searching for molds;) Cool one! Do you know which material they used at coraline for the molds? The dark grey ones in the picture on top. I can't figure it out:( I only find pictures.


  3. Hi

    may you give me your email?
    I'm involved instop motion animation too.

  4. What a wonderful blog to happen upon...
    I am a sophomore in college and am majoring in animation. Though I am striving to become a stop-motion animator, it started with my obsession with miniatures and making little characters out of clay. So model making isn't that far off! haha

    And of course, Coraline is a huge inspiration to me. It's a beautiful film and I am so jealous you got to work on it! I'd love to work for LAIKA.
    If you had any advice on how to work my way into the field of stop-motion, I would greatly appreciate it! :D

    Thanks so much!

  5. Awesome work Victoria!! ☺️ Thanks for sharing.


    Tim Daniel