Introduction: Tie Fighter

Hello thanks for checking this Duct Tape Tie Fighter out! I wanted to make something that truly hit the spirit of this duct tape contest! This ship is entirely made out of duct tape, no cardboard or any other material. this ship took about 60 yards of duct tape to make, about 50 hours, and weighs 1.82 pounds! The duct tape tie fighter is really close to the scale of the Lego storm troopers in the pictures.

Step 1: Techniques

Here in these videos I will show you how to make a Duct Tape Rod, a Duct Tape Sheet, and how to connect them together. The rods are an advanced technique that took me 6 months experiments till I got to this point. I tried so many fabrics and materials that would allow the duct tape be placed sticky side down and be rolled. One day I saw the mouse pad at the computer and thought "sure why not?" and it worked! from there I refined the method till I got to the one i show you in this video. It's hard but sooo worth taking the time to learn if you want to build completely out of duct tape!

The duct tape sheets are what you see in nearly every duct tape project. its done many different ways, I prefer the way I demonstrate it in the video. Basically lay a strip of duct tape sticky side up on a hard surface, then take another strip and only cover the other piece halfway. then take a third duct tape piece and cover the remaining sticky portion. Flip the whole thing over and cover the sticky portion again. Once you get the desired width just fold over the edged. To beef it up cover each side with another layer. I do 4 layers thick then add the outside layer as black in my case. At 5 layers thick it is pretty stiff and suitable for most of my applications.Then the last video shows the technique of attaching the rods together,

Tool needed

Large Mouse Pad


Heavy duty scissors for thick material


Exacto knife

Cutting board


Box covered in duct tape to put cut jointing pieces on.

Step 2: "H" Shape

Start by making 3 six inch rods and 1 two strip rod. Cut the 6 strip rods to 8 inches. Find the center and mark it, and tape it down. Use the two strip rods cut to 4 1/4 in and 2 rods cut to 1 1/4 inch. Bend the 4 1/4 rods around the shorter rods and attach it the main "H' shape

Step 3: Supports for the "H"

Cut some 6 strip rods to about an inch and a half, and at 45 degrees on each end. Tape them down heavily while keeping it square.

Step 4: Cockpit Rings

Make two 2 strip rods at 5 1/2 inches. Roll them so they get nice and round without bulges. Then take a thin strip around the outside rim to make a circle. Now wrap another piece around it to keep it from peeling away. Take the rings and attach them to the front and back. Make sure to use at least two layers of duct tape to secure everything together.

Step 5: Cockpit

Now we need to add the support to the cockpit . We need to make 6 two strip rods cut to fit inside the rings. Support the top and bottom as shown in the pictures. Then attach the other 4 rods at 45 degrees from center. Now take a two strip rod that is cut about a half inch longer than the distance between the rings. Create an arch with the rod and tape it down, then cut a rod to support the middle to help maintain the curve. Do this to all 6 supports, ask Mr bucket head if you need an extra hand.

Step 6: Wings/supports

Here the ship really starts taking shape. Prepare by making a bunch of 6 strip rods. Each wing needs 6 six strip rods cut at 5 3/4 inches, and 4 rods cut to 5 inches. Lay them out in the shape of the wing and trim the ends so the fit together snugly. I used some duct tape scaffolding to keep the ship on edge while I worked on it. Then I cut the rods to about 1 1/4 inch to get the hexagon shape the wing has in the middle and tape into position. Now use 6 six strip rods cut to 2 1/4 inch to act as support to the main body. Once that is done the wing should feel fairly sturdy, If not then add more tape to the joints.

Step 7: Wing Outer Cover

Now we make two sheets at 5 layers thick with black as the last layer. Make it 12 inches tall by 9 inches wide. Then tape the rectangle to the wing, and cut out the excess with scissors. I didn't cover the outside of the first wing with black tape and it was a little bit of a pain to do it later. Finally wrap duct tape all the way around the wing to keep the duct tape sheet in place.

Step 8: Main Rod Reinforcing

After covering the outside wing I found that the main rod bowed a lot. To remedy this, I made several 2 strip rods and snaked them through the cockpit. While duct taping it down pull the tape tight and make it several layers thick.

Step 9: Tie Body

Make a sheet 4 layers thick, cut it to fit the top and bottom of the cockpit. trim the corners so the lay flat. Tape the pieces down with black duct tape. The sides of the cockpit are done the same way but cut out a half circle to go around the main rod. Before covering the bottom I added 2 two strip rods to look like blaster cannons.

Step 10: Inside Wing Cover

The inside wing of the duct tape tie fighter is cut out the same way as i did the outside. Start with a 5 layer sheet with black as the final layer on one side. Once I cut it out I found the center and marked a circle to match the support beams. Then I used an Exacto knife to cut the lines of the circle. Next use scissors to cut a straight line from the edge, this will let us slide this piece on to the ship. Now cut one inch strips of black duct tape and go around the edge of the wings taping it down, and cover the rest of the ship in black also.

Step 11: Cockpit Window

Now we need to make a 4 layer sheet large enough to cut 2 circles out of it. Then trim it to fit the front of the duct tape tie fighter, and cover it with white duct tape. On the back side just cover the duct tape sheet with black duct tape for now.

Step 12: Large Details

For the details I will be working with light gray duct tape. On a cutting board use a ruler as a guide and cut strips to a half inch wide, the length depends on where it going. Cover the body in this light gray duct tape also. I loved this step, its where the tie fighter actually started looking like one.

Step 13: Final Details

Time for the tedious details phase! Use an Exacto knife and a ruler as a cutting guide to cut a bunch of pieces at 1/2 inch long by 1/8 inch wide. While on this stage my fingers were too big, so I picked up the cut strips with the tip of the Exacto knife and applied them to the ship. For the back engine, I used a 1 strip rod left sticky cut to about 4 inches long and stuck it to the back in a circle. Then I used light gray tape to cover it. I continued cutting out the details for the back.

Step 14: Summary

I really enjoyed building this one! Its the first project I've done modeled after something. Its really rewarding building something using only duct tape. People ask and assume that there is some kind of cardboard frame, everyone is blown away to find out its only duct tape. I hope to inspire a whole new level of creativity to the duct tape community with my technique of making duct tape rods.

Now go forth and use the Force

Tape Contest

Second Prize in the
Tape Contest