Introduction: How to Make a "Duct Tape Double"

About: I'm an Engineer, who originally inherited the family business (Thanks Dad (RIP JC Taylor, 1938-2011)) after working in it for 25 years, designing and building scientific instruments. In 2013, I was head-hun…

This is a very basic introduction to the art of making a "Duct Tape Double" (DTD), a perfect, form fitting dress makers dummy, for the price of a few rolls of gaffer/ duct/ duck tape. Its a visual guide of a first experimental attempt

This effort stems from Frollard's observation that there wasn't an 'ible for a DTD.

There are many instructions on the web for DTDs, this is the site I saw and used.
There are some truly great model forms out there, made much more tidily than ours.
There are endless possibilities for DTDs, for dressmaking and costuming, for Halloween corpses, special effects etc.

So, here we go. All I used on my very small model was less than a single roll of tape. Your mileage may vary.....

Step 1: Materials.


Person to be copied.

Person to do copying.

SCRAP 'T' shirt - ideally nicely form fitting.

Duct/Gaffer/Duck tape, rolls thereof, to suit person being copied.

Sharpie marker

IDEALLY Lister Bandage scissors are perfect for removing the finished coat of many layers, otherwise a really good pair of sewing scissors and extreme sensitivity to your victim copy's feedback.

Garbage bags, shopping bags, Bagging peanuts to fill form.

Step 2: Beginning.

Basically, all we are going to do is apply two layers of tape, one horizontal, and one vertical, all over the body of our victim copy.  Its surprisingly difficult to get around the arms, but perseverance, and the odd dart cut in the tape, and it does seem to come out alright in the end.

If at ANY time the victim copy feels breathless, or short of breath or claustrophobic GET THEM OUT. All you've lost is some cheap tape and an old T shirt.

DON'T apply the tape in continous spiral winding - it doesn't look good, and you can't get the edges of the layers in nice even steps.

I wound Jonathan in concentric bands, with 1/4" (6mm) of overlap. Jonny insisted on his arms being done too, but a dress makers  mannequin rarely has arms.

From the site I cited and others suggest that ladies work hard on the bust area, and apply tape in a cross wise pattern to "lift and separate" in the manner of the old Playtex adverts, allegedly.

Step 3: Second Layer

After the first, horizontal layer is applied, apply a second layer vertically. Again, arms are tricky, but applying short strips from bottom to top, rather than from top to bottom made things go better. 

Step 4: Marking Up.

Whilst the victim copy is still incarcerated, mark a vertical line from the centre of the neck, to the navel (assuming your navel IS in the horizontal centre of your tummy.....)

We also marked the line acros the centre of his chest too.

Step 5: Removal !

Using the scissors/shears, remove the DTD form off the victim BE VERY CAREFUL. Ideally, work between two of your own fingers, spacing the DTD off the victim and cutting in short sections.

Step 6: Finishing Off

Unfortunately we didn't take any decent pictures of this stage.

Carefully align and rejoin the edges of the DTD with more tape.

Fill the neck line over, with yet more tape, seal the ends of the arms.

Stuff with bags, taking care to ensure the breast area is well supported.

Put a coat hanger across the shoulders.

Many DTDs have a piece of carpet tube (3" cardboard) inserted from the neck, where it rests on the coat hanger, to a convenient length for the form's user.