Have another question?
Have another question?
Email us here
|Q: What is the Guarantee and Warranty on your Products?
A: Guarantee: You can buy with confidence as we have a 100% satisfaction guarantee with our standard puppets and products. If you are not satisfied with what you receive return it to us within 2 weeks for a full refund of your purchase price (not including shipping). Customized products where you request specific colors, or additions, or changes, are not returnable or refundable of course.
Q: There are so many great products here I want them all.
What do you recommend starting with?
A: If you have no experience at all start with one puppet...the one that excites you most. Learn how to manipulate it and give it a character. Check out our free ventriloquism starter instructions and begin learning vent, or if it's a Bird Puppet or Magic Drawing Board check out our AxTrax performance tapes.
If you are an entertainer already, start with either a Bird Puppet/Bird Arm Illusion combination or the Magic Drawing Board or both. There are AxTrax tapes for both of them and they are guaranteed to blow your audience away. As you begin to get used to these products you will then start to expand your Axtell Character base and purchase other puppets with great confidence.
A: A very big ...Yes, but you have to develop your skill! Most customers use our products to earn good money in very fun and unique ways. How much you can earn as an entertainer depends on your area, your competition, and your ability. You can get started doing birthday parties for as little as $25-50 and begin to work yourself up to big $2000 stage shows for major corporations. Who Hires? Company's doing Christmas shows, churches, hospitals, fairgrounds, service organizations, corporate picnics, and city park and rec departments and more!
The most commercial shows feature a variety of skills like magic & ventriloquism. The key to success with your new show is to FIND A NEED AND FILL IT, so look around and see who is hiring in your area or who has the funds to hire if they knew you had a strong show available. The other key is UNIQUENESS. Try to be different than your competition. Perhaps you could add another skill like music or art to the puppetry or ventriloquism. Many of our customers have developed their skill with our products into full time careers, yet others prefer to just earn extra money on the weekends. What a fun way to bring home the bacon!
A: Basically we sculpt the faces and hands in clay and make molds over them. Then a master of each part is poured and production molds are created. Quality latex molding compound is poured into each mold and dried to create the latex reproductions. Each part is cleaned up and prepped for painting. We then airbrush the detail and color onto the latex and finish it with the protective coating. The bodies are also painstakingly sewn and detailed and joined with the latex parts. Next we mix in some trade secrets, our talented staff, a dash of magic, and you have AXTELL EXPRESSIONS puppets! You can also see one of our new puppets in being made at our "In the Making" page. But the real magic comes only after they are brought to life by YOU our customers!
A: You have the right to perform with your Axtell catalog puppet on stage and in media, but not to reproduce it in any other form...for example, you do not have the right to make toys that look like our characters. More information here....
A: Yes. We can make you a non-exclusive custom puppet in several ways: The least expensive is to have us make one on a non-exclusive basis and we add it to our line and keep the rights to it here. We also make AXclusive Custom Puppets including all rights. (stage and media). We can accommodate any budget this way. For more information look here.
A: Latex is a wonderful natural rubber from trees in South America. It is blended with preservatives and thickening agents to create our special formula we call AxFlex. We cast our latex into our molds to create the wonderful elastic flexible expressive skin our puppets have. Taking care of the latex is easy, keep the puppet clean by not touching the face (especially when putting it on your hand). Treat the latex surface with a rubber protectant about once every 3 months to keep the sun and ozone off the latex and prolong it's life (but not more than every 3 months or it will build up). As a precaution: Keep newspaper away from them, the ink can transfer to the latex easily, and wash your hands if you have handled coins, the copper from the pennies will transfer from your hands to the latex and can turn touched areas greenish.
Taking care of the latex is easy, keep the puppet clean by not touching the face (especially when putting it on your hand). Treat the latex surface with a rubber protectant about once every 3 months to keep the sun and ozone off the latex and prolong it's life (but not more than every 3 months or it will build up).
As a precaution: Keep newspaper away from them, the ink can transfer to the latex easily, and wash your hands if you have handled coins, the copper from the pennies will transfer from your hands to the latex and can turn touched areas greenish.
A: Use mild diluted soap and water on a gentle washcloth and surface wash the latex, fur and fabric areas if they are very dirty. Rinse the washcloth with clean water and then rinse the areas that you washed, so the soap is gone. Blow dry with a warm (not hot) blow dryer. The acrylic furs might melt if the blow dryer is too hot.
Q: How long will latex last?
A: We ship directly to customers all over the world in over 60 countries. There are also some specialty dealers that also carry Axtell Products. Check with your local Magic store. You can find Axtell customers all over the world listed here. Perhaps there is someone who performs near you with some of our puppets. There are several magic dealers in the UK that also carry Axtell Puppets.
Q: I am not a Ventriloquist. Can I still use your puppets?
A: A rod arm allows you to control the arm movement of your puppet. If you have your right hand inside the puppet's mouth, you can use your left hand to control the left arm of the puppet. We have several options for you.
An Elbow Rod extends out of the elbow of the puppet and lets you control the entire forearm of the puppet from behind. This is ideal for ventriloquists who are standing with their puppet. They are built into the elbow of your choice (left or right).
We also have an External Rod Arm which is an elbow rod that you can velcro around the forearm of your puppet (under cover of a shirt sleeve). The same elbow control extension would then be available to control the puppet with, but the rod is detachable.
A Wrist Rod is attached to the wrist of the puppet and allows control over the hand and wrist of the puppet. A wrist rod can be a simple wire rod that has a bend curled in the end to hold a zip tie. The zip tie is attached around the wrist of a light puppet. Heavier puppets require that the wrist rod is securely built into the puppet.
You can also order many of our puppets with Human Arms. This is best for stage puppets (where the puppeteer is hidden behind or beneath the puppet by the stage). These are glove like hands where you put your hand into the hand of the puppet, so your fingers are their fingers. If your right hand is in the puppet's mouth, your left hand would be in the left glove hand of the puppet. The right hand of the puppet could be stuffed, or another puppeteer could animate it with you. If clapping or complex coordination is needed between the hands, have the other puppeteer operate both hands.
A: If you draw with your right hand, you would order a RIGHT board. You hold it in your left hand but you draw with your right. If you draw with your left hand you order a LEFT board.
The Magic Drawing Board is unique in that you draw a face and the character comes to life moving it's eyes and mouth. You can use AxTrax CDs or ventriloquism to turn this trick into a strong 5-10 min routine.
The Special Effects Drawing Board or SFX Board has one moving gimmick which you can change-out to create routines of your own design. A single lever in the back allows you to push up any pre-drawn gimmick from the slot which is strategically positioned in your drawn object.
A: You can use contact cement (solvent based from the hardware store used for counter-tops) or take the puppet to a shoe repair shop and ask them to glue it with Barge cement which every shoe store has on hand. You could also buy it from various suppliers.
A: Unfortunately some people try to make a quick buck by copying others like us who have worked for years to create original concepts for entertainers. You can help Axtell Expressions defend our characters and inventions by watching out for copies of our creative products. If you see other products that appear to be a copy of Axtell products please contact us by email. Thanks.
A: YES you can! If you are willing to put the work into it that is necessary to learn the technical skills. However there is a lot more to performing than just the technical skill of ventriloquism's mouth techniques. There is puppet manipulation, showmanship, professionalism, business sense, etc. A good way to start learning, is in the Axtell Learning Center....and it's Free!
A: Axtell puppets are so lightweight you can carry 10 of them in one case! Some of the bird puppets actually can roll up and fit in your suitcase right with your socks, but we don't recommend that. They also can be compressed a bit for short periods of time and do not require big strong cases with foam lining. Because they are so lightweight I like using the very affordable Seward footlocker trunks you can get a Walmart and Kmart and other discount stores. They look very professional with the vinyl covering (especially black) and the chrome or gold trim. Take a look. Thy are big so they will hold an entire show, some have rollers to help you tote it from the car I like to set mine on a fold out luggage rack when I perform. When the lid is lifted, it provides a wonderful covering while you put on and take off puppets. Also you can hang a Magic Drawing Board on the front of the lid with a little rigging. Here are some that are more expensive and probably better built. Seward also makes some very nice heavy duty ones you can find at Walmart... And some more variety here.
A: It's not as common as it once was back in the 40's and 50's but one thing about history...it repeats itself! Many kids today have not seen a ventriloquist so that is a HUGE benefit to you if you want to learn vent and perform with puppets. It is amazing to watch their faces as a character comes to life in front of them. Television, which used to feature vent back in the days of Paul Winchell and Jimmy Nelson are now beginning to showcase ventriloquists again...but with an updated look and a modern style. Today television shows like Comedy Central feature comedian and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham, America's Got Talent featured Kevin Johnson, Talk shows like David Letterman are now showcasing vents on a regular basis, Las Vegas has ventriloquists like the amazing Ronn Lucas, Broadway has ventriloquist Jay Johnson, and on and on. Magicians are also starting to learn what an Axtell puppet can add to their act. The AxTrax CDs are a great way to learn how to use a puppet in a routine and they provide the voice of the puppet until you are ready to perform the voice yourself. This is a very exciting time to be learning vent.
Q: How do I keep control of my kidshow audience?
A: Big question and very important. In a word - "OPENER". You've got to have a solid start for your show. Something that will cause them to pay attention to you and allow a few minutes of training them to follow your direction. If you study the great kidshow workers like Mark Wade and David Ginn you will read over and over how important your opener is. We have developed one of the best openers in the business for your show. It's called "OFF the METER" and it will allow you to condition your audience to follow your direction, as well as build up their excitement and anticipation to such a level as many performers have never seen before. Watch this video and start controlling your audience.
Q: What can I do if my hand sweats inside a puppet?
A: Some people perspire more that others and it's perfectly natural....we are all different. If you find this to be the case for you, we have made an invention called a "Headliner" which is absorbent and also provides a soft fabric and foam lining for the latex heads. It slips inside a puppet's head and can be removed whenever you want to dry it out or change it. They are very affordable. Other people have used talcum powder on their hands, or used a light cotton glove, but the headliner is a much easier solution and you can leave them right in the puppet's head. They are not perfect for every puppet because of their shape. They work great in birds and animals with a protruding muzzle. However, they are not good for mouths like Storyteller because you need your fingers free to move the nose and eyebrow area.
|Back to Top|
|Back to Top|