June 22, 2012

Build-A-Frog

Filed under: Feature,Reports — Tags: — Matt Wilkie @ 11:38 am

Fun Fact: This article was written back in February, soon after the Kermit and Piggy Build-A-Bear puppets were announced.  We regret having let it get lost in the folds until now, but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining!  Now let’s read about some stuffable puppets, shall we?

Greetings from the west coast, Tough Piglets! I’ve left the chilly winds of Pennsylvania behind to embrace the Sunshine State and am proud to present my first report from sunny California.

As we’ve all heard by now, Build-A-Bear has released the Kermit and Miss Piggy puppets (Puppets – What a surprise that was!) on their official website. I was lucky enough to be invited to the Build-A-Bear Workshop at Downtown Disney in Anaheim, California to see first-hand how you can build your own from scratch. And lucky for both of us, the employee helping me out was just as excited as I was since this was the first Kermit anyone at the store had gotten the chance to build. We were sad to tell a young girl that this was the only one the store had, but fortunately she was staying at one of the Disneyland Hotels through the week and she and her mom made plans to come back and build their own in two days. So there’s one guaranteed sale already!

If you’ve never been to a Build-A-Bear Workshop, the process is incredibly cute. First, you pick out a semi-lifeless, unstuffed doll, in my case Kermit. There are options to put sounds inside all Build-A-Bears via a small box, but unfortunately no plans for Muppet-specific sounds. But if you’re so inclined, I’m sure you can put a growl or bark in there and give your Kermit or Miss Piggy an identity crisis of their very own.

Next, you take the doll to the stuffing station. Kermit’s head comes pre-stuffed to maintain the puppet aspect, but the body is filled with fluff from what I can only describe as a big fluff machine.  Then comes the most important part – the heart. I cannot stress enough how important (and adorable) this part is, and it’s why I recommend visiting a store in person instead of ordering online if you have the opportunity. It is vital to the whole experience. You have to warm the heart up, say a pledge, hold it over your own heart and make a wish – it’s pretty much the cutest thing I’ve ever done in a retail store. This alone is worth the drive to your closest Build-A-Bear Workshop.

After brushing and fluffing the puppet with an air bath, you fill out a birth certificate, and then dress your new fuzzy friend. And holy crap, it is fuzzy! This thing is so soft and nice to squeeze. The whole process turns you into a kid again, incredibly excited to be holding a stuffed animal. I was provided with a Kermit t-shirt to put on my Kermit, which is just as cute as it is narcissistic. But take note that there are dozens of costumes to choose from at the stores and online. I even spotted this number if you want to turn your Kermit into a Baby Kermit.

And here’s my finished product!  Accuracy in design here is probably a 9 out of 10. He’s got 11 collar points and he looks very on-model, but I deducted 1 point for lack of black mouth hole. Even the chubbiness is forgivable because that just means there’s more cushion for the hugging!

My final verdict: A Kermit puppet this cute can only be a good thing, and the chance to help build it is something that won’t be common, I’m sure! I’m behind these guys 110%.

Thanks to everyone at Downtown Disney’s Build-A-Bear Workshop for a great afternoon!

Click here to get stuffed on the ToughPigs forum!

by Matt Wilkie



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