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Custom creations FAQ

What makes Swazzle's puppets good?
Swazzle's puppet builders are also puppeteers, so our puppets are built with the puppeteer in mind. They are made out of lightweight, durable materials that provide maximum movement possibilities.

How much does a custom puppet cost?
The cost of a custom puppet depends upon a variety of factors, including design, materials, process, mechanics and labor. Swazzle's puppets aren't made in a factory, they are built by hand by highly skilled designers, fabricators, mechanics and costumers. To get a custom quote, send us your requirements.

How long does it take to build a custom puppet?
Every custom puppet is different, so the time that it takes to build a character varies. A typical hand-and-rod, moving-mouth puppet takes about three weeks to build, depending upon the design. The design process can take one or two weeks.

Tell me your puppet-building process in detail. How does it work?

It’s important that we learn as much about your project as possible. Please start by filling out the Request a Quote form. Be sure to explain your project in detail. We’ll use this information to generate a bid, including labor and material costs, a basic approach and an estimated timeline. Once we arrive at a price, approach and schedule that works for both parties, the fun begins!

Before we can start the puppet design or building process, half the payment is due in the form of a nonrefundable deposit. This deposit triggers the start of the creative process. The balance is due when the final puppet is delivered.

Every project starts with a design: Even a rough sketch ensures everyone is on the same page. We can work from a design you provide or create an original design based on your needs. If Swazzle is designing the puppet, we’ll start by putting some rough ideas on paper as a kind of visual brainstorming. The look of the character will be refined with your input. After everyone is happy with the basic look and feel of the character, Swazzle will refine the design further and provide color options. Once the final character design is approved, it’s time to build a mock-up.

Swazzle’s builders will take the final design and enlarge it to the agreed-upon size. They will use this enlargement to create a rough mock-up out of foam. This mock-up will allow you to see your character in three dimensions. Based on the mock-up, you can provide feedback that Swazzle will apply to the final puppet build.

Client feedback is a very important step in the puppet-building process. Whether it’s approving color samples, material options or costume elements, we keep you engaged in the creative process. We can communicate via e-mail, video conference or in-person meetings—what ever works best for you.

Once the mock-up is approved, Swazzle starts the final puppet build. As with the mock-up, we will keep you informed of our progress, giving you opportunities to weigh in with feedback and ideas. We’ll have a final show-and-tell session before the puppet is delivered in order to make any last-minute adjustments.

After the final puppet is delivered, the other half of the payment is due.

Why get a custom character built when I can buy a puppet online or at a toy store?
Swazzle's custom puppets are built to professional standards with high-quality materials that make them easier to perform. A custom puppet will give your production a look that is unique, with a character that is your own.

I found a puppet on eBay that only costs $200.
If price is your primary concern, that might work for you!

Can I rent a puppet instead?
Yes. Swazzle has a stock of puppets that are available to rent. Our puppets can be rented as-is for a flat fee or customized for an additional fee. Contact us for more details.

Can you send me a catalog of your rental puppets?
Our stock of rental puppets is always in flux. Tell us what you need for your project, and we'll see if we have something that fits your requirements.

Do you have a kangaroo puppet wearing a suit of armor that I can rent? 
Hmmmmmm.... You might want to consider getting a custom puppet!