Project Progress – Stop Motion Dinosaur

Progress on my stop motion puppet is going well so far. I was able to get ahold of most of the supplies I needed without incident, with one exception (which I’ll get to in a bit). Over spring break, I was able to assemble most of the armature using parts purchased from

The armature is stainless steel joints with some armature wire attached for the tail. I still need to add arms and toes to the armature. I have made a few test arms so far: one of the metal parts didn’t work quite the way it was supposed to, but I can achieve the effect I need with minimal revision, so it should be simple to get the final arms made. And the toes will just be made from wire, so that’ll be pretty easy too.

Next, the biggest focus has been sculpting the model’s head. I’m using Sculpey brand clay for this, with wire inside to give it structure. I’ve modeled the upper jaw successfully so far; the sculpt turned out a little bigger than I had originally planned, but I’m happy with the way it looks on the armature, so no big deal. The jaw has individually sculpted teeth, which really goes a long way in selling the sculpt.


I’ve started sculpting the lower jaw as well, though it’s still a work in progress. And the clay head has posed a minor issue that I’ll need to figure out a way around: it’s really heavy, and throws off the balance of the figure. I’m planning on attaching some kind of counterweight to the hips and tail to compensate for this.

I’ve also done some material tests with the foam I bought, to see how well it can articulate over a simple wire armature. I was fairly happy with the results: (test documentation video)

One material I haven’t been able to get ahold of yet is the liquid latex I want to use for the skin. I ordered it, and according to Amazon it’s been delivered, but it hasn’t actually shown up yet, so we’ll just have to see what happens. I’d hate to have to order it again, but needs must. Besides that, things are going pretty well.

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Lavender Giebner
    April 15, 2024 11:12 am

    Looking good! I was worried about you using a model based off a human skeleton as I heard in your earlier presentations, but I must have missed your plans to rework the skeleton. Now, it looks very tyrannosaur-like and I bet it’ll serve you well. Will you be leaving gaps in the sculpted sections to allow the model to articulate? Will the skin be flexible enough to stretch with the joints moving?

    • Hi Lavender! Thanks for your comment. The only parts of the model that are planned to be sculpted in hardened clay will be the head and claws. I might also add some clay to the tail to act as a counterbalance, which would be spaced out to allow for articulation. The whole rest of the body is going to be soft foam, which going by my material tests so far should be plenty flexible enough to allow for the range of movement I need. I haven’t done any tests with the liquid latex yet, but I expect it will be flexible enough to act as the skin, since it is commonly used for this purpose by industry animators.

  • Hi Sean,
    This is a very creative project and it looks like you have made some great progress so far. I really like the idea of the dynamic aspect of the project making the dinosaur move and the armature is looking great! Do you plan to cover the whole armature in clay or skin of some sort to make it look more realistic? I look forward to seeing it!

    • Ian, thanks for your comment. Besides the head and claws, which are clay, the body’s musculature will be built up from soft foam with liquid latex over top for the skin.


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