by Willow Enright
Having a Duct Tape Body Double is extremely helpful when building Cosplay armor. You can also use it as a dress form for sewing purposes. It's actually quite simple and quick to make as well. You can use as many recycled products as possible with this one, only I do recommend actual Duct Tape as opposed to any other sub-par tape. When you are all done you'll be able to create your Cosplay costumes with relative ease since you will have a body double to work with.
Start your Duct Tape Body Double with several long lengths of duct tape, drapped from a tall table or countertop. This allows you to make nice, even applications of the duct tape so that you don't end up pulling too tight as you wrap it around the individual. Pulling the tape from the roll as you wrap tends to pull too tight and can really restrict the person's breathing. Being tightly taped in duct tape requires a lot of trust since the material is extremely binding and can cause one to panic if not properly done or monitored. If your voluteer does panic, you can cut off the t-shirt in the back and once they have recovered you can simply tape them back into it.
When you are using a t-shirt start taping at the bottom to anchor your t-shirt. If you are using saran wrap instead of a t-shirt you can start with the crisscross motion over the breasts for a woman and the hip for men. Make sure to cover evenly and don't get too close to the edges, you can tape those after you remove your voluteer. When you work over shorter, smaller areas such as the breasts cut your long tape strips into six inch sections or so to avoid having to crease the tape too much. If you plan to do any collor work be sure to create a section up the neck so you'll have a neck line in the end.
I wanted to have one of the arms just a bit longer than the other so I used a scrap piece of a left over t-shirt to extend the one sleeve slightly. This is helpful for builiding shoulder pauldrons. I also wanted to specifically mark her hip line with a different colored tape so that when I'm making her chest armor I don't end up building it too long so that she cannot sit down. This is a good technique for keeping track of important measurements. If you have enough tape, and the person has enough patience, go over the person twice to ensure that your body double won't come apart at the seams.
Once you have successfully wrapped your voluteer completely you will want to remove them from the shell you have made. Start cutting at the bottom, using your hand to guide the scissors but being careful not to cut your own fingers. Make a straight cut line all the way up to the neck, and then you can gently pull off the duct tape form.
Retape your body double back together and create the cardboard ends for the neck, arms and torso. Use duct tape to secure the cardboard ends over the body double. Make a small hole in the neck cardboard area for your wire hanger to thread through from inside your duct tape body double. Put the wire hanger inside your body double before you begin to stuff the inside with the poly fill. Tape up your arm holes next, continuing to stuff the poly-fill inside. Every once in a while you should check the measurements of the body double to make sure that you don't over or under stuff it. When you are done stuffing, tape on the bottom piece of cardboard so that your torso will sit flat.
I like to add the hanger so that it's easier to pick up or hang while storing it. Keep in mind you will want to create a loop with the hanger handle if you will be adding lots of weight to your duct tape body double, so that you can add a carabiner clip instead. That will hold up better for long term hanging purposes with added weight. Creating a duct tape body double will prove to be extremely useful for pretty much all Cosplay creating purposes. You can also make a full body duct tape replica if your costume is more extensive. May the crafting Force be with you!
I started crafting out of leather in 2011, and now I am making it my life's work. I am writing this blog to help myself remember some of the small steps in past projects, sharing my triumphs and failures, as well as my love of leather.