Introduction: Making an Animal Mascot Head (Fursuit)

All about how I made an animal mascot head, in the shape of a black and white cat. Features taxidermy eyes and re-rooted hair.

Step 1: Step 1: Materials Needed

To make your furry mascot head, you will need:

Definite:

A silk balaclava; strong duct tape; masking tape; upholstery foam; spray glue; a cool melt glue gun with lots of extra glue sticks; a Prismacolor marker; chalks; a pen; lots of scrap paper; one pair of general purpose scissors; one pair of small sharp scissors; calico, canvas or buckram; a pair of large taxidermy eyes (at least 32mm); Fimo; white acrylic paint; fleshtone acrylic paint; nail polish remover; fleece material; a sewing kit; long pile fur, (the most expensive you can afford); a lint roller.

Optional:

A razor knife; pet hair clippers; hair extensions/wig hair/horse hair; nylon wire; (fake) leather.

Either:

A mannequin head (you can buy these from Amazon)

Or:

Some "electrician's tape" (also sold as "bondage tape"); plastic carrier bags/newspaper/both; a secure tube/vase.

Step 2: Preparation and Early Foaming

You will need: Mannequin head OR Bondage tape + carrier bags/newspaper + secure base like a vase; duct tape; foam; spray glue; sharp scissors; balaclava; reference pictures of your character and the animal it's based on; marker pen

Optional: Plastic canvas

1. Making a head model [If you have a mannequin head, you can skip this step and move straight onto step 2.]

- It really, really helps to have a willing friend around for this step. I'll assume you do for clarity's sake.
- Get your friend to take a reel of electrician's tape (it's the kind that sticks to itself but nothing else) and carefully wind it around your head from the forehead downwards. Keep going until your head is covered. Then take strips of tape and cover the top of your head.
- Very slowly, get the sharp scissors and cut yourself out of the electrician's tape head. Only cut until you can slide your head out. Then patch up the cut with duct tape.
- Stuff your head with anything, really. I use newspaper and carrier bags. Anything that keeps the shape.
- Push your head onto the secure base. I used a handy glass vase. Then duct tape the head in position so it won't move when you're making the head.

2. Put your balaclava over your head model.

3. Take your time isolating the kinds of shapes you'll need to make the skull of your animal. Remember you're only building it up from the face so you don't have to worry about the back of the head. If you can, take a picture of yourself wearing your balaclava and try to draw the face of your character over the top of it. This will help you get an idea of the right dimensions to use.

4. I like to start with the cheeks, so cut out some pieces of foam with your scissors, so that they will form the cheeks of your mask. Remember, the fur will make everything wider than it looks now, so be conservative about how wide you make the cheeks. Use spraymount glue to attach the foam to your balaclava. If they're too big, carve them down with scissors, cutting a little off at a time. Keep checking for symmetry - it's vital that the mask be symmetrical.

5. In order to make sure I didn't build my mask so that it crushed my nose, I stuck a strip of plastic canvas where my nose would go on the balaclava, for reference.

Step 3: More Foaming and Eyes

You will need: Foam; plastic canvas; taxidermy eyes; spray glue; canvas/buckram; (fake) leather; electrician's tape; cool melt glue gun.

1. The eyebrow ridges are usually a good place to go next. These are where your mask will get most of its facial expression, so unlike the cheeks it's good to be a little - even a lot - more generous with how much they stick out. It'll look silly on the unfurred mask but the finished product will look a lot more expressive if you do this.

2. Installing the taxidermy eyes.

- First, prepare the eyes by cutting out a small piece of foam to make the backs of them straight (usually they're concave at the back). Glue the foam onto the eyes.
- Cut a thin strip of electrician's tape and wind it around the outside of the eyes to make a seal between the sides of the taxidermy eyes and the foam.
- Use (fake) leather to make eyelids. You can change the expression of the eyes by making the eyelids different shapes. Fold a piece of (fake) leather over and stick them onto the eyes with a glue gun.
- Make the tear ducts by cutting them out of canvas/buckram and colouring the material black with a Prismacolor marker (or similar artist's marker). These should be oversized and run under the eyes as well as to the side of them because they will be the source of your vision. Stick them to the eyes using a small amount of glue.
- Install the eyes by sticking them to the underside of the eyebrow ridge with the glue gun. Symmetry is very important here, a squinting mask isn't such a great idea. Try to install them so their point of focus is a few feet in front of the mask's face.

3. Foaming the muzzle

- This is very much like the cheeks and eyebrow ridges, only more difficult. Remember to make it smaller and more angular than you want your finished mask to be. Leave a hole in the front for the nose to sit.
- If you make the lower jaw separately from the upper jaw, you can also leave a slit between the two and use it for ventilation. Cut your balaclava so that this is possible. I can even have a drink in mine!

4. Ears

- Make ears either out of foam or plastic canvas. I covered mine in a pinkish velvet material.

Step 4: Duct Tape

You will need: Sharp scissors; nail polish remover; duct tape

1. Check and double check your symmetry by holding your mask up to a mirror, or taking a picture of it and looking on a computer. You can make symmetry adjustments on your photograph first, and then implement them on your mask.

2. Cover your entire foamed mask in strips of duct tape. This is to hold everything together and to help with gluing the fur to the mask. Glue gun glue tends to not work so well with foam.

3. If your scissors get gummed up with duct tape, use nail polish remover to clean them.

Step 5: Furring the Mask - Patterns.

You will need: Masking tape; duct tape; sharp scissors; nail polish remover; chalk; fur; razor knife/scalpel; marker pen; scrap paper.

1. Now for the exciting part - furring the mask. Use long fur, the best you can afford.

- First, refer to your picture of your finished character in order to check where different colours of the fur are supposed to be.
- Take some pieces of masking tape and cover up a section of your mask. Again, I'd suggest starting with one of the cheeks. Use duct tape to reinforce the masking tape.
- Peel the whole thing off and cut darts so that it will lay flat onto some scrap paper.
- Draw around your shape and cut it out of the paper.
- Lay the paper pattern onto the back of your fur and draw around it with chalk.
- Using your razor knife, carefully cut out the pattern, making sure to have the your fur laying in the right direction.
- Repeat until you have the right amount of pieces of fur to cover your entire head.

Step 6: Furring the Mask Optional Steps.

You will need:

Fur, cut into pattern shapes; Cool melt glue gun.

Optional:

Nylon wire and/or Hair extensions/wig hair/horse hair.

1. [Optional step] Whiskers

- If you want to add whiskers, take a roll of nylon wire (or nylon guitar strings) and cut some lengths. Whiskers are usually a little longer than the head is wide, so cut the lengths accordingly. Make sure they're flat - I had to iron mine to make sure.
- Mark faintly where you want your whiskers to go, on the inside of the piece of fur that will go where whiskers go on your reference animal - usually the side of the muzzle.
- Put a dab of glue onto the end of each whisker and thread it through the fur. Then put a little more glue on to secure the whisker in place.
- A strip of duct tape will ensure all your whiskers are facing the same way - towards the eyes is best.

2. [Optional step] Hair

- This is actually very similar to whiskers. It's easiest to have all the hair on one piece of fur, and then faintly mark with chalk where each strand is going to go. Keep in mind what kind of parting it is to have and how much of an area of hair you want.
- Take a clump of hair and seal it together with hot glue. Shake it so there are no loose hairs.
- Cut a small hole in your fur and thread the hair through.
- Seal it in place with more glue.
- Repeat until you've got a head of hair
- Cut and style the hair as you like it. Make sure to leave this til it's all in place on the head.

Step 7: Furring the Mask Continued

You will need: Fur, cut into pattern shapes; cool melt glue gun.

Optional: sewing kit.

1. Glue your fur pieces into place on your head.

2. Sew the seams shut if you like.

Step 8: Shaping the Fur

This is a very important step for the overall look of the mask.

You will need:

Pet hair clippers; sharp scissors.

1. Look at your reference pictures and take note of where the fur on your character is short. This is usually around the face and the ears.

2. Cut the longest parts of the fur off with scissors before using the clippers. Make sure the hair is out of the way (if you have any). And your hair too!

3. Taking it very, very slowly, use the clippers on your fur just a couple of millimetres at a time. You can use this part of the process to add more shape to some parts of your head, like the eyebrows. It's best to use hairdressing scissors around the whiskers if you have any, to avoid cutting them accidentally.

Step 9: Last Steps

You will need: some FIMO/Sculpey; white paint; nose-coloured paint (black or fleshtone); paintbrush; cool melt glue gun; fur; a lint roller.

1. Making the nose.

- Mould some FIMO into your desired nose shape, plus some extra at the back. This can be toony or realistic.
- Paint the baked and cooled FIMO with some white acrylic paint as an undercoat.
- Leave it to dry and then paint over it with a couple of coats of your nose coloured paint.
- If you want to make the nose look wet, cover it with a coat of clear varnish.
- Glue the nose into place on the muzzle.

2. Thoroughly go over your mask head with the lint roller, to clean it up.

Done!

Comments

author
deliro1690 made it!(author)2016-02-20

So.. I have a question, I have no intentions of making a cat xD BUt I do have intention of making a fursuit but a wolf one! So, with these instructions, can I make a wolf one? I don't think so because of the mussle but thanks for answering.. xD aha Have a nice day:3

author
WolfyB made it!(author)2017-02-09

All fursuit heads are formed through similar methods.

Design>shape and form upholstery foam into your desired animal shape> pattern for furring>add fur and feel statisfied at the thing you've made

Please do not try to be in a rush while creating fursuits (head and all), as this will cause mistakes. Be patient and take your time, watch youtube tutorials and constantly refer to reference photos of your desired animal

author
0blivi0us made it!(author)2017-01-02

just shape the foam differently i guess

author
Cameron.Luh19 made it!(author)2017-02-06

I am 15, my parents know I'm a furry, my other (Who I only visit) is highly against it, and I doubt my grandparents (whom I live with) would buy me the materials to make a fursuit, and my dad wouldn't unless they gave permission.

author
WolfyB made it!(author)2017-02-09

You can either wait until you are older and able to pay for the materials yourself, or start saving and look to commission some one to make one for you. They are cheaper to make than to buy/ custom order, but if you really want a fursuit as soon as possible that you know will look very nice and professional you will want to commission some one. You can find fursuit makers on furaffinity.net

author
RayanneB made it!(author)2016-08-15

How do I tell my mom I want a fursuit? I'm only 13 and I'm worried she'll think it's weird XP (is 13 too young?)

author
0blivi0us made it!(author)2017-01-02

im 13 too and i just told my mom and she was ok with it

author
Jacklyne+630 made it!(author)2016-09-21

Now, fursuits are hard to make and you can out grow a fursuit if your not done growing, if wait a coyple years then you can wear it longer and it will be better!

author
BrandyFurry made it!(author)2016-09-05

Do you want to make your own or just buy it? It's not weird but it's better if you turn 17 or 18 when you have fully grown.

author
PrettyL3 made it!(author)2016-08-30

First off, I just straight up told her and since she is a costume designer she thought it would be cool, so don't be too afraid not very many things could go wrong. Secondly, I'm 12 and and I have been a furry since I was 10 or 11. So it's not weird or too young.

Anyways I hope this helped. :P

author
Manglet made it!(author)2015-04-04

hey i'm a furry also but so far... ok well today I bought some slippers that look exactly like furry feat i'm wearing them right now actually so I really like them. I also really want a furry suit but i'm going to wait till i'm 18 I suppose it would be best (i'm only twelve plus I also like five nights at freddys as u can tell)

author
Reshie+ made it!(author)2016-11-02

I'm only 11 and I want a fursuit. Im just really worried my mom would think that having a fursuit is an absurd idea. Seriously how do I get my mom to approve

author
thatcrazyg made it!(author)2016-12-06

im 11 to! dont worry i was in the same position and i was already into cosplay and my mum thought it was great. i first eased her into a head tail and paws. i had to make the head myself but its easier than it looks you can find really easy tutorials online. if your starting out i recommend actoutgames on youtube. her tutorial was really good. i got foam, 2 types of fur,paws,tail and air fan(for breathing) hope this helps;)

author
FoxTheFurry made it!(author)2016-10-17

Fnaf is lit

author
real+dj+basswolf+official made it!(author)2015-12-19

its called a fursuit, not a furrysuit. sorry if i sound like a greymuzzle.

author
huskydoodles12 made it!(author)2015-10-14

Im 12 and making a fursuit, for a basic fursuit, it is 100 USD. My dad approves.

author
FoxTheFurry made it!(author)2016-10-17

OMG this just might work since my mom is an artist she might aproove

author
CraftingRiley made it!(author)2016-02-04

Heck no! All that stuff, my friends never told me that.

author
CraftingRiley made it!(author)2016-02-04

Heck no! All that stuff, my friends never told me that.

author
Wolf+Link made it!(author)2013-05-13

I love fursuiting! I'm making a quadsuit now! :) this kid kinda stares at me every time I wear my fursuit 0.o

author
real+dj+basswolf+official made it!(author)2015-12-19

mundanes dont get it lol. and OMG quadsuits are amazing. can you teach me how to make one?

author
JustSlightlyTwisted made it!(author)2015-12-06

how much did this cost to make?

author
Duct-Tape-Master made it!(author)2015-10-25

Just a tip, put the materials into a bulleted list, rather than just a paragraph

author
spyderskiss made it!(author)2013-04-03

Thank you. I was thinking about making a cat fursuit head for my daughter but was unsure how to start. This tutorial was very helpful

author
FaunaF made it!(author)2015-10-09

Kloofsuits on youtube also makes a very good example!

author
Manglet made it!(author)2015-04-04

btw my name is supposed to be Mangle the Fox

author
ShawnM9 made it!(author)2015-02-15

i have a few ideas,

1. the nose can be anything that gives a good texture and holds shape (foam)

2.if you get a certain taxidermy eye,its one way so it looks realistic and you have more vision.

3.defintley have a cooling system

4.yes, have the balaclava but save some foam by using plastic canvas or wire to build a shell...

5.for hair,use patches of tied & brushed acrylic yarn,it acts perfectly like hair

6.@#4, you can store anything you need in there

7. if your doing a moving jaw,chose a good brand of elastic,you don't want your jaw to break in action

8.you may wanna have a hidden microphone and headphones for hearing,sound does not travel that well through foam...

9.for beginners,start with cartoon,much easier

10.and accessories show your style, don't be plain,we are all vibrant,express that...

and that's my 10 tips to fursuiters.

author
JobI2 made it!(author)2014-12-20

you made it sound so simple, I tried it myself several times using various components but never get it right:)

www.jobibex.com

author
merasmus made it!(author)2011-10-11

Semi-experienced suit builder here - I do commissions and own three suits of my own. I just wanted to say, maybe installing the whiskers after clipping the fur would be a good idea. I take my muzzle pieces, lay them flat, and then shave the fur down, before installing whiskers and sewing the fur together.

My whiskers are glued directly into the muzzle foam, and then threaded through pre-made holes in the muzzle piece (which is all sewn together). Makes it a little harder for kids to rip 'em out ;)

author
Shaotlinc made it!(author)2014-09-11

What do you recommend for someone doing something like a duck?

author
origamidude99 made it!(author)2012-10-04

how much are your comissions?

author
zack247 made it!(author)2011-05-22

thanks for the tutorial!

ive been looking to get into furries just for the fun of it, on a scale of 1-10, how hard would you say making the head is?

also, what do you think would be the cheapest i could build one for?
is there any alternate methods to having a baclava? (IE a helmet or something)

author
Shadow_Brisbane made it!(author)2011-09-07

there are multiple methods out there you can choose from. here is a link to two alternate types and their advantages and disadvantages:

http://www.nicodemus.org/fursuit/framehead.php

(side-note: if you go with a Plastic Canvas construction you can find packs of it at Walmart for a decent price)

difficulty level really depends on what you want the head to be capable of doing. some have jaws that can open and close to simulate talking, some have animatronics set up so that the eyes will blink, others have have "3D eyes" which will follow you wherever you look (think the Mona Lisa) as well as allow the person wearing it to look out the eyes and see where they're going. then there are ones which have wiring built in so they can have parts (eyes, ears, claws, etc.) that light up (these are great for raves)

as for how much it costs it really varies on a few things. I've known some people that can construct an entire half-suit (that's a head, hand-paws, foot-paws and tail w/ regular clothes making up the rest of the costume) for as little as $70 to $120. Full Suits (the ones that are the whole body suit and the head) can run anywhere from $150 to $300+. the cost really depends on how lucky you get with shopping around for fur and materials.

two pieces of advice i would like to offer:
1. consider wiring a small computer fan to a battery pack and installing it in the head because they can and will get very hot.
2. youtube is your friend. there are countless other video tutorials online that can give you a better idea of the add-ons and optional things you can do with your character.

hope that helps you a bit and good luck *wags tail* ^__^ 

author
zack247 made it!(author)2011-09-07

ive actually started making the head already.
i got a 54" x 72" x 1" sheet of high density foam for $50, im not sure but for only using a 1/4 of the roll so far, it seems like it was a good deal.
its a all foam construction so ive yet to find a nice tutorial on a moving jaw thats easy to follow, but ive got some furiends who can help out.
a small fan seems necessary. especially around my area when it can go from 20 to 35 degrees in a hour.

that really helped out a bit!
thanks!

author
Shadow_Brisbane made it!(author)2011-09-08

cool :) and yeah that is a good deal.

i think you can find some tutorials online...

you may also wanna try this site: http://www.matrices.net/maskvideo.asp


glad i could help ^__^

author
zack247 made it!(author)2011-09-10

thats actually what i was following XD
this is what ive got done, need thinner foam to finish the ears and fill out ares like the brows, between-ish the eyes, cheeks, etc.

IMG000004.jpg
author
Shadow_Brisbane made it!(author)2011-09-10

great job! it looks awesome so far :D *wags tail*

my girlfriend and I will be starting 2 characters in the next couple weeks ^__^

author
Shadow_Brisbane made it!(author)2011-09-07

great Instructable MurmurCat :D

author
Yetigunner made it!(author)2010-10-12

Hey, what's the general cost of this project?

author
Bloodyshadowwolf made it!(author)2011-01-23

When i Built it with all the supplies it was 100 dollars and good luck it was cheaper to buy foam from walmart

author
SillyMogg made it!(author)2011-01-21

Hi I live in the UK too, and was wondering what dimensions you used from tw foam and what you put in the what foam will be used for box. Please reply, will show you the finished product when done if you like ^^

author
onewinggirl made it!(author)2010-11-18

Where did you bought the eyes?

author
xXRRAAWWRRXx made it!(author)2010-05-26

how are you supposed to see?

author
MurmurCat made it!(author)2010-05-31

Through the tear ducts!  I can see pretty much perfectly, apart from a little loss of peripheral vision.  The tear ducts are made of a black screen/canvas material that's a loose enough weave to be transparent when held close to your eyes. 

author
xXRRAAWWRRXx made it!(author)2010-07-09

thanks.

author
morchilla made it!(author)2010-01-14

Hi! I have a question.. where do you get your foam? And is there a specific kind I should be looking for? I'm not a furry or anything but I do like making costumes, A LOT. I attend Burning Man every year so I'll definitely be making something of the sort for this year.

BTW this is super sweet thanks for the tutorial!!  :D

author
MurmurCat made it!(author)2010-01-19

I got mine from TW Foam in the UK.  I dunno about US suppliers at all, sorry.  Medium density foam is best since you can carve it with sharp scissors.  Harder foam lets you be more precise but it is more difficult to shape. 

author
morchilla made it!(author)2010-03-02

thank you so much :) very helpful

author
wizerd+745 made it!(author)2009-08-18

If ya don't mind me asking why did you make this?

author
MurmurCat made it!(author)2009-08-20

Kills some time, doesn't it?

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