Photo by @SkyderBlazewing
A Duct Tape Dummy or DTD is a simple and inexpensive way to make a duplicate of your body for me to make your costume on.
I require a DTD from all customers getting a fullsuit to ensure it is fitted correctly and comfortable to wear.
What you need
Several Rolls of cloth tape, at least 100-150m is recommended, it seems like a lot but you do not want to run out while you're in the middle of making your DTD
Scissors. Safety or bandage scissors are best but not totally neccessary
Paper towels or something similar
At least one friend to help you out, the more you have helping the quicker you will be done
Set up in a cool room preferably with a fan, you will get hot while making your dummy.
Your posture is very important when making a dummy, stand straight, don't slouch and don't suck anything in. Your suit will be fitted to your dummy so you want it to be comfortable.
Throughout the whole process of making your dummy you should be able to move around a little. If at any time you are in pain or feel your extremities getting cool the tape is too tight and you should remove it immediately and retry another time.
Make sure you have everything you need and go to the bathroom, making a dummy can take 30-60 minutes and you don't want to get caught out.
Now put your painters suit on and let the fun begin!
Step 1: Torso
Pull the painters suit up so it is firmly against your body. Don't worry if your ankles are exposed, we will fix that later.
Starting at your groin begin adding strips of tape.
The person having the dummy made can help by ripping strips of tape between 6-10 inches
Work your way down the legs a few inches
Then start moving up to the chest.
Do not tape over the zipper, this allows you to remove the dummy easier and makes it easier for me to work with in the workshop
Avoid the temptation to just wrap the tape around in one strip, it will become far to tight and risk not only getting an ill fitting costume but also possibly injuring your friend.
Continue up the body and over the shoulders making sure there are no gaps or holes
Also try to get a single colour of tape unlike I did in these photos. Any colour except black is fine
Step 2: Legs
One at a time work down each leg.
When you reach the ankle us a piece of paper towel or similar to cover the top of the foot down to your heel and tape it up as well.
You may chose to tape your entire foot but this isn't necessary
Once you have finished one leg use the marker to draw an 'X' on the wearers knee.
On the back of their leg draw a series of lines across where you will cut to remove the dummy, these help me line everything up at the workshop.
Carefully cut the tape and painters suit up the back of their leg. You will need to cut a slit about 3/4 of the way up their leg in order for them to be able to slide the dummy off.
Sliding your finger between the tape and their skin as you cut will help you prevent any chances of nicking their skin.
Cutting each limb free as you go rather than at the end will help keep you comfortable and cool throughout the process
Now repeat on the other leg.
Step 3: Arms
Make sure you begin with the painters suit firmly against your skin.
Starting at the armpit work your way down towards the wrist
When you reach the hand tear a hole in a paper towel and place it over the thumb and tape over the hand up to your knuckles.
There is no need to tape the whole hand
At this stage you also have to tape up the neck at least an inch, but the higher the better. The tape on your neck can be quite uncomfortable so I like to leave it until the end to do it
When you finish each arm mark the elbow, draw lines across and cut 3/4 of the way up the limb.
However, unlike the legs on the second arm continue the cut up all the way to the neck so the whole arm and shoulder is free.
Step 4: Freedom!
Unzip the painters suit and release the arms that was cut free to the neck.
Slide your other arm free, get your friend to pull on the end of the dummy sleeve gently if necessary.
Now wriggle like you have never wriggled before and slide the dummy down and off like a pair of pants.
This is my preferred method of getting out of your tape cocoon while keeping it as whole as possible but basically get out however you can. If you need to extend or make new cuts than do so, a dummy with a few extra cuts in it is better than you injuring yourself.
Step 5: Finishing touches
Before sending your dummy off you need to do a few more things
Let it air out. Chances are you will get sweaty in there and you dont want to package it up while its still funky.
Write your name and/or your characters name clearly across the back of they dummy
Fold up your dummy and send it to the address given when you placed your order. A large reinforced envelope or small box available from the post office is fine for this, you don't need to pay to send a huge box.
If you have any left over tape you don't have a use for feel free to chuck it in with your dummy. I use a lot of tape in the suit making process and I'm always appreciative of some more
You do not need to tape up the cut seams or stuff the dummy yourself, I do that all once it arrives
If you have any questions about the DTD making process please feel free to email me and I'll help you out.