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Hi can anyone please help me with this problem?
I usually make miniature bears and have no problems making the disc joints tight. However, I've started to make around 8 inch bears now and have problems getting their joints tight enough. I physically cannot tighten them any more than I have and yet they are still loose once stuffed. I am using Debbie Kesling's method (from her book How to Make Enchanting Miniature Bears) of using margarine tub lids as discs and jewellery pins for the joint which is brilliant and has worked for me before. I have cut bigger discs for the bigger bears as I usually only use a hole punch to make the small discs for a miniature.
Please help if you can as it's driving me mad
Thanks in advance xxx
Hello, Rin. With an 8 inch bear, you might want to start using nuts, bolts, and a thicker disk for joints. It's what I use for bears around that size and I have no problem getting the joints tight.
Thank you for your help.
Is it possible to make these bigger disc joints or do I have to buy them? I live in the UK and have noticed that a lot of shops do not cater to teddy bear-making items so any advice would be much appreciated. I did read about the plastic joints not being as good and I have seen those available to buy but would prefer joints that will last.
I found these forums a short time ago and while the advice has helped me a lot this is the first time I have posted so just wanted to say a big thank you to all the artists out there who have been giving the most amazing advice to people like me who are not as experienced as they are as these forums have helped me a lot xxx
Our sponsor, Intercal, has fiberboard and hardboard disks for sale. http://www.intercaltg.com/catalog3/supp … fiberboard Of course, we're across the pond from you so you might want to buy supplies from the UK. We have many UK members that can tell you where they shop for disks. Another alternative is metal washers that are sold by hardware stores . . . and they come in many sizes. Perhaps you have one close to you. Hope this helps.
Yes, mail order is a lifesaver for bearmakers! I think there are several good suppliers in the U.K.
Thanks so much. I will look through the forums to see if I can see any suppliers and I'll browse the internet too.
the larger you go the more secure your joints need to be to stop floppy limbs. Plastic from tubs is just too flexible. There are several good UK suppliers on line but like you said not many craft shops seem to stock bear making equipment. Some branches of Fred Aldous does and if you can get along to any bear fairs/exhibitions that are near you they will always have stands that sell supplies (plus is a great way to see some fabulous bears ). You can buy hardboard joints in packs of ten that is enough for 2 bears for as little as £1.50. These have discs/washers/and cotter pins so all you need apart from the pliers to fit them. Nut and bolts come in all sizes also but I tend only to use these for larger bears but some people prefer to use them for all as they find them less difficult to fit, the down side is you need the right size nut driver and spanners for each size nut you use.
Another tip to keeping joints tight is to trim any fur away from the joint -the bit hidden between body and limb to reduce bulk. Anyway here are a few well know suppliers although there are more and its worth looking at them all as each has different stock.
Thank you for the detailed response Michelle.
I didn't trim away the fur from where the joint is as it didn't occur to me so I know that now for next time. I'll check out those websites you suggested to get some joints. I think the biggest bear I've made so far is around 8 inches so I will take your advice and go for the cotter pin joints.
I really appreciate all the help that everyone has given me
You can buy hardboard joints in packs of ten that is enough for 2 bears for as little as £1.50.
Just to clarify - Those must be joint "sets"? (i.e. 20 disks total) Ten disks are only enough for one bear.
When do we get to see some of your creations, Rin?
Oh yes thanks Becky - I did mean sets.
Don't be put off nut and bolt joints they are great to use and if you already have some spanners you are good to go. It's just a matter of what you find is best for you. if you pm me your address I will pop one of each in the post so you can have a try/play to see which you like before you buy.
Sorry for the delay in replying but that is really sweet of you Michelle. Thanks so much.
Don't worry I did realise you meant that they come in packs
Everyone does say I should try selling my bears and I managed to raise just under £40 for one for a charity event at my college (I'm 35) which gave me a wonderful feeling. I will see about posting some pictures so I can get some honest opinions from bear artists. Some things I still struggle with though such as noses and I'm in the process of trying to shade as well. I think I'm going to use water colour pencils the first time.
Michelle has given you a great list of UK suppliers, I've used all of these for various supplies. And yes, trimming away the fur covered by the joints makes a difference as it crushes down over time if it's left long, making the joint sloppy. Post pics of your bears here, you'll get great feedback from experienced bear makers. And only go to a bear fair if you have money to spend - once you see and touch all those fabulous furs you will find it hard to resist them! Plus you can see all the different sizes of joints, eyes, lead shot etc. Hugglets is coming up soon, if you're anywhere near London
I'll look into the Huglets one but I live in West Yorkshire so I'll see if I can get down there. I keep telling myself I need to go to an artist event just to have a look at all the gorgeous bears and furs for sale. I've seen a bear event coming up in November that's taking place in Sheffield so I'm definitely considering going to that one.
Just wondered as well. I've been making bears for around four years now. Am I able to call myself a bear artist or do I need more experience? Also I will post some bear pictures as soon as possible.