How to make a Duct-tape Dummy
When building a fur-suit, having a good Duct-tape Dummy (aka "DTD") is the difference between a well fitting suit and a poorly fitting suit. Most fur-suit makers will require one when making a full body costume, and some have specific criteria about how they want the DTD to be made. This is the CityMutt approved tutorial.
3-6 Large rolls of Extra-strength duct-tape Try to find the strongest duct-tape you can. Get at least three large rolls if you are short, more if you're tall. The stronger the duct-tape the less layers you'll need. One large roll of duct-tape for every 50 lbs you weigh is a good rule of thumb.
1 Disposable Painter's Suit You can find these in the painting section of most home improvement stores. They are thin white jumpsuits that can be worn over clothing.
Scissors To cut the duct-tape.
2-3 Helpers The more people helping you tape up the faster it will go. This is impossible to do by yourself and it can take a long time if you only have one person helping. I recommend having at least two people, more if possible.
5 Plastic Grocery Bags To wrap your feet and hands and neck.
Step One: Arrange a Duct-tape party
My number one suggestion, as someone who has been duct-taped quite a few times, is to throw a duct-tape party. Invite some friends, order pizza, make an event out of it. This way you will have at least a few people helping you tape up, which can turn into an uncomfortable, and even PAINFUL experience if it takes too long. The more people you have helping the less time it'll take. I can't say this enough.
Tip: If you don't want embarrassing photos of you leaking onto the internet, confiscate phones and cameras at the door.
step two: prepare yourself
Depending on how many people you have helping you, you could be trapped in duct-tape for 1-3 hours, so make sure you go to the bathroom before its too late. Wear clothes that you are not worried about getting cut. If you wear a painter's suit over your clothing, you shouldn't have to ruin your clothes but accidents can happen. Also please shower before making a dummy. Any body stench you have will be imprinted in the dummy otherwise. A stinky DTD does not make fursuit-makers happy.
step three: Wear a Painter's suit
A disposable painter's suit is a thin white jumpsuit that you can find in the paint section of most hardware stores. It's traditionally used to protect a painter's clothing from paint spatter, but it also make the perfect base for you duct tape dummy, so you don't have to sacrifice a pair of pajamas. It's also much easier to cut through when removing the DTD from your body. You can see our model wearing one in the picture below.
step Four: Begin by Taping your crotch
To save yourself from some embarrassment, start by taping your crotch. Since your limbs are not yet restrained, you can do this part mostly on your own. It is very important to get this part as tight to your body as possible, otherwise your fur-suit will not fit well in this area. Have a friend help you with taping your backside and check to make sure you have not left any areas untaped.
Tip: Since your painter's suit will most likely be white, use a dark duct tape so its obvious where you have missed a spot.
When taping, cut the duct tape into strips and apply in a crisscross pattern. DO NOT apply the tape directly from the roll to your body. This will create a weak DTD that will fall apart.
step five: Tape up your torso
Now that your waist is done have your friends tape up your torso. It is important that you do not help with the taping at this point, as you must keep your back straight and still while the tape is being put on. Do not slouch! Slouching will cause your fur-suit to be too short and it will have a compressing effect on you when you wear it.
For Women, you want to be careful to tape under and around your breasts, rather than over them. Otherwise your dummy will be very flat-chested.
step six: Tape your legs and Foot
At this point you'll want to spread your legs out, but not so much that you can't stand comfortably. Your heels should be spread just past the length of your shoulders. Keep your legs straight but try not to lock your knees. Again, let your friends do all the work and keep as still as possible.
Once you've been taped past your knee, have a friend wrap a plastic bag around both of your feet. Continue taping down your ankle and then half way down your foot. DO NOT point your toe, just keep your foot angled perpendicular to your leg. DO NOT tape your whole foot, just half of it. This is so your suit-maker will be able to know exactly where your leg ends.
step seven: Tape your arms
Now that your legs are done, spread your arms into the position shown above. Keep your arms straight and palms facing downward. Have someone taping each arm at the same time. Being fast is the most important at this stage, as holding your arms in this position can quickly become painful. Use any suitable surface to rest your arm on to make the strain easier. Be very careful to tape tightly into the armpit. Not doing so will result in a fur-suit in which you can't lift your arms!
step eight: Tape your hands
If your painter's suit is not long enough to cover your hand, wrap a plastic bag around your wrist and hand. Have your friends tape down your wrist and half way up your hand. DO NOT tape your whole hand, just up to where your thumb starts.
step nine: tape your collar
If your painter's suit does not have a collar, wrap a plastic bag around your neck and tape half way up your neck.
Step Ten: cut yourself out
Now that you're thoroughly miserable, and your friends have double checked to make sure every spot is covered and layered, they can start cutting you out. I suggest you start by cutting up your hand and arm. Cut up to the shoulder, past the shoulder, and carefully up the neck. This cut should free your arms and neck. From there your friends can cut down the center of your body to free your torso. Once your torso is freed, your friends should beginning cutting from your foot up to your knee. Once the dummy is cut past the knees you should be able to wiggle out of the dummy without having to cut close to any "sensitive" areas. Be careful not to cut your clothing or skin. Cut only the duct tape and painter's suit.
DO NOT make any unnecessary cuts. Your DTD should be in one piece. Do only enough for you to get out of the dummy. DO NOT tape the dummy back up. Some makers will ask you to do this, but CityMutt prefers you send it to us as is.
step Eleven: Send it off
Now you can gently fold the dummy and ship it to your suit-maker. In the box please but a few dryer sheets in with the dummy to keep it fresh. If your DTD does not meet your suit-maker's requirements you may be asked to make another. If you want your DTD sent back to you make sure to tell your suit-maker BEFORE you send it. Also CityMutt does not recommend using DTDs a year or more after they are made. Your body is ever changing and an outdated DTD can produce an unwearable fur-suit.
your DTD will be Rejected if:
- Your tape is rolled on, rather than applied in crisscossing strips.
- Your DTD is too thin and is falling apart.
- Your arms and legs are not positioned as shown in the final pictures.
- Your feet, hands and neck are not partially taped.
- Your DTD is cut into separate pieces/cuts are a mess and unrecognizable.
- Your DTD has a terrible odor.