How to make a Duct tape Dummy
Although you wont need a DTD for any of my orders, They're really useful (if not, essential) for your project.
Step 1: Assemble all of your materials before you start.
you will need:
- Disposable Painters Overalls (Or old Pajamas) You should wear nothing but your underwear under them. These will make the base of the dummy that the tape will attach to permanently.
- An old Tshirt (Optional) Alternatively, you can also wear an old, thin t-shirt under the overalls as this will allow you some privacy when being cut out.
- Several rolls of duct tape (how many depends on your size and how big the roll is) It can be expensive, but try to avoid the cheapest stuff. Your DTD wont last or you'd need to use twice as much anyway. (You'll need at least one roll left over to tape the dummy back together again)
- A roll of tape in a different colour (Useful but Not necessary) this is for marking out knees and elbows
- A permanent marker, with a colour that will stand out from the duct tape colour
- A pair of scissors
- Some sticks to lean on (maximum height, subjects shoulders. Minimum height, subjects hip) These can be anything comfortable to lean on, such as broom handles, bamboo, or even cardboard carpet tubing (if you ask nicely at your local carpet shop, they will let you have some of this for free. they have tons of it ready to be thrown out)
- Some spare rags (if you feel like the clothes you're wearing will ride up when they're taped, exposing skin higher up the leg or arm) You can also wear long socks.
- Someone you trust to be near you with Duct tape and a pair of scissors (You laugh now, but wait until you cant move) In all seriousness though, making a DTD has elements in that can make a person feel vulnerable or uncomfortable, as it is close, requires touching some areas that people are uncomfortable with even when clothed, and there may be exposure when being cut out. having a working partner that you can trust is absolutely essential.
- Time! This can take up to 2 hours (you should probably pee first too)
Now you're ready!
Step 2: Power stance
Your stance is everything in making sure your DTD is suitable to work with. After putting on your old clothes/Painters overalls. You need to stand with your legs a hips width apart, and your arms straight, hands at least hip height (preferably shoulder). Keep your back straight and stand tall with good posture as best you can.
You want an open pose to make sure you have enough room to work around your project comfortably, and you also don't want your final suit to be fixed in a closed off body posture.
Step 3: The taping begins
There is no going back now. Start by taping the ribs and work your way down the stomach. This will give you a good anchor for the rest of the taping, and is also a good place to get a feel for how tight you should be applying the tape. Basically, if the person being taped can't breath, its too tight.
In all seriousness though, what your looking for is a firm bond between the tape and body. Enough to show curves and swerves, but not so much it will make them pass out.
A few handy tips:
- If the overalls are a bit loose, start by using a small amount of tape to stick the material down into a better fit. That will help make the application go smoother.
- Don't wrap the tape around in long strips, it's easy to make it too tight this way when applying force to unwrap the roll. rip off lengths of tape, no more than 30cms. (More experienced tapers can get away with working with the whole roll though. So, it's not necessarily wrong to do it, just more difficult)
Step 4: Working the crotch!
Once you've worked down from the ribs, stomach and waist, it's time for the hips and crotch. If the person being taped is uncomfortable working around that area, they should still have enough mobility to tape that part themselves.
The aim of this part of the process is to make yourself a pair of duct tape pants that join up to what you have already taped around the body.
Step 5: Wrapping the legs
Work the tape down each leg, still making sure that the tape is not too tight. Work right down, as far as possible. if the clothes your wearing don't cover far enough down the leg (Or have ridden up when taping the crotch), this is where the rags come in. Do not tape skin directly, wrap the rag around the uncovered area and tape it in place as tight as you would the body suit, then work it into the rest of the dummy with tape.
Step 6: Chest and arms
Work diagonally across the chest and both shoulders to complete the upper torso, making sure there is no slack in the underarms. Then work down the arm (Again, the material is too short, wrap the rag around first, and then carry on down the arm as normal)
You can work down as far as the palm (making a hole for the thumb) if you want a full arms length. This isnt necessary, but working down the limbs as far as you can will help give you a more accurate template when building your suit.
Step 7: Marking the cut lines
Optionally, you can start this process by wrapping different coloured tape around elbow and knee joints. This is more useful when making a suit with Digitigrade padding or complicated markings.
To do the markings though, the following diagram shows the way I find most efficient for being cut out of the tape without making it difficult to put back together again. Make sure to score lines across the cuts as well, because that makes it easier to line them up again when reassembling the dummy.
You can also mark the small of the back (or where you want the tail to be placed) at this point. Some makers request that you write your details on the back as well, so they can pair your dummy up with the project, make sure you include everything they request on there.
Step 8: Cutting
Now its time to cut the seams. This part puts the person being taped in a very vulnerable position, not only do they have to trust you to cut very close to their skin, but their top layer of clothes will be cut off in the process.
Arrange to do this in a room where there is privacy.
Starting with the arms, Pull the tape up, away from the skin as far as you can and gently cut along the lines (communicate with your partner and listen to their concerns through the process, their safety is in your hands.) Do not start the bottom half of the body until both arms can move freely. Your partner now has the option to cut themselves out if they would like to do it in privacy.
Step 9: sweet sweet freedom and Putting the dummy back together
Now that the dummy is off, you are free! and you have probably never felt more so. Let your dummy air out for a bit before assembling it.
To assemble, tape the seams in the legs back up as far as the hip (Making sure to align the stripes you made along the cut) then tape up the bottom. without taping the rest of the dummy up yet, stuff the legs.
once the legs are stuffed, tape the arms and stuff those. Then finally the torso.
I like to insert a strong clothes hangar into the shoulders of the dummy (with the hook coming out of the neck) and then stuff around it before taping the dummy closed. This allows you to hang the dummy up more easily, making it easy to work with later.