How To Make Your Duct Tape Dummy

A duct tape dummy is an essential step in getting a custom-made fursuit, and getting it right can be the difference between a great body-conforming fit and something looser and less true-to-form.

Pictured: Duct tape, paper towels, scissors, cardboard tubes

Before you begin, make sure to use the bathroom! This process can take around 2 hours, and stopping in the middle can ruin your dummy.

While you can make a duct tape dummy with a single helper, I would recommend having at least 2 people to assist you. The more helpers, the faster the process. Also remember, your helpers will be touching a lot of your body and seeing you in your underwear, so make sure to choose people you are comfortable with!

Once you are ready to start, have your model stand with their legs shoulder width apart, and knees slightly bent. For this tutorial, we will not be taping feet, so I would recommend that your model wear comfortable shoes instead of standing barefoot, so they are more comfortable during the process.

Supplies

  • Clothes you can ruin. Painters coveralls are ideal! Jeans or other heavy fabrics are not recommended, they get very hot and are hard to cut.
  • Duct tape. For reference, our model is 6 feet tall and we used 4 60-foot rolls of tape. I recommend buying 2 more rolls than you think you need.
  • Paper towels. These will cover any exposed areas such as wrists and ankles
  • Scissors. The best ones are the scissors designed for removing casts, but as long as you are careful, any scissors are fine.
  • Arm rests/hand holds. Broom or mop handles work very well for this, but anything that allows the model to keep their arms up during the taping process works fine.

Making your Dummy

Painters coveralls are great for duct tape dummies! Zipper can be left untaped for easy stuffing

Start at the crotch, giving your model basically duct tape shorts. Make sure to keep the tape as close to their body as possible. This may be awkward, but it is very important to ensure their costume will fit accurately.

Start at the crotch. It’s awkward, but important to make sure you tape as close to the body as possible. Tape down the legs. Make sure your model has knees slightly bent, feet shoulder width apart. If you’re using coveralls, leave the zipper open at this step

Continue taping down the legs. Make sure to use several layers of overlapping tape, preferably in a criss-cross pattern for durability. Not enough tape can lead to the dummy stretching and being inaccurate to your body.

Try to avoid mummy wrapping your model! This can be too tight, causing circulation problems, and is not as durable. Instead, use small ( 5"-7" ) strips.

Absolutely none of the underlying fabric should show through your tape. Please try to use at least 2, preferably 3 layers of tape.

Continue down the legs. Your model can help by taping their own torso at this stage, but should be careful of bending and tearing the tape at the waist area. If you are using painters coveralls for your dummy, I recommend leaving the zipper uncovered for easier removal and stuffing of your dummy.

Paper towels can be used if your coverall doesn’t extend far enough. Begin taping under the arms, again, making sure to to stay as close to the body as possible. When taping the arms, make sure your model keeps their arms at a right angle to their body. Brooms, chairs, or other people are a big help with this!

If your model’s clothing does not fully cover their ankles, you can use paper towels to extend their clothing. You can also tape around the ankle before taping the calves to hold clothing in place.

Before taping the arms, tape under the arm and around the shoulder area to keep the duct tape dummy close to the body. Similar to the crotch, you should try to get this area as close to the body as possible to get a proper fit.

At this stage, your model will probably no longer be able to help, and will want arm rests. These rests should be high enough to keep the arms at roughly a 90 degree angle to the sides of the body. Elbows can be slightly bent, but arms should be mostly straight out to the sides.

Like with the ankles, you may have to use paper towels to extend the arms

Finishing and Removing Your Dummy

Example cut markings

Once your dummy is completed, you will need to mark and cut it off of your model.

The cuts I prefer are:

  • Straight down the center of the front ( done, if you left a zipper open )
  • Straight down the center of the back
  • From wrist to elbow on both arms
  • From ankle to knee on both legs

Please don’t immediately shove your brand new dummy in a box if it’s still a little wet. If the dummy comes out damp, let it sit out to air dry a bit before you ship it out.

Pre, During, and Post Removal. Beware, it may be damp.

There you have a finished duct tape dummy!

If you are sending this off to a fursuit maker, please make sure to write your name and contact information on it! You may also want to mark where you would like your tail to rest. Please don’t immediately shove your brand new dummy in a box if it’s still a little wet. If the dummy comes out damp, let it sit out to air dry a bit before you ship it out.

While I do not require duct tape dummies to be taped back up before being sent to me, some makers may prefer it. If you are taping your duct tape dummy back up yourself, make sure to use 5"-6" strips criss-crossed and overlapped along the openings! Short pieces will cause the dummy to burst along the openings when stuffed, and it can be difficult to put them back together correctly.

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