If you've seen our other content, you know that we're huge Halloween fanatics! We go all out on this stuff every year and this season we're starting off with a life-sized, realistic Mummy made from a duct tape body form of Jay!
Duct-tape body forms are a common way to create dummies, costumes, and other effects that require a "human-shape" so it was a great technique for this. It's a little claustrophobic, for sure, but it's fast, cheap, and super effective!
We recommend watching the video above and following along with the written steps!
- Duct Tape - https://amzn.to/2KOJS2X
- Cheese Cloth (Grade 10) - https://amzn.to/2Z7x8NI
- Plastic Wrap - https://amzn.to/2Zw8Qwt
- White Spray Paint - https://amzn.to/2HijUCH
- Skeletal Hands - https://amzn.to/33UTikT
- Thick Wire - https://amzn.to/2ZdKDeU
- Acrylic Paint - https://amzn.to/2L6MzM7
- Black Tea
- Recycled Newspaper (Filler Material)
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Step 1: Making a Duct Tape Body Form - Start With Plastic Wrap!
We're going to literally wrap Jay's body in duct tape, so to protect his skin and clothing we start by wrapping a thin later of plastic wrap around him. He's posing with his legs together and we start underneath his feet and wrap all the way up and around his waist.
We're going to be building our form in sections (legs, torso, arms, head), cutting it apart, and then taping it back together later on. This is because it's extremely hot, uncomfortable, and generally unsafe to wrap your entire body all at once.
For safety reasons, we highly recommend you do the same and make your body form in sections!
Step 2: Making a Duct Tape Body Form - the Legs
With the plastic all wrapped up to Jay's waist, we then start with a single layer of duct tape on the bottom of the feet and lightly wrap it around the legs all the way up to the waistline. Be careful not to wrap too tight so you don't cut off any circulation.
We then use a black marker and draw a line all the way down the back with some perpendicular lines going across every few inches. These are alignment lines that will help us tape it back together properly later.
Next, we use some scissors and carefully cut down the line. Obviously, we're extremely careful here not to cut Jay's legs or his clothing.
We don't cut the form completely off Jay's waist, we leave a few inches at the top where it will connect to the torso segment. We start the cut a few inches below the waist and then cut all the way down to the feet so Jay can take his legs out of the form and stand normally.
Step 3: The Torso and Arms
Next, the process is repeated for the torso and arms! The plastic and duct tape start by overlapping the waist area so it all stays as one large piece. We go up the torso and around the shoulders then do each arm independently. We're doing the classic "cross armed" Mummy pose, but still wrapping each arm individually so Jay can move around. If you want to save material and time, you can do both arms together for a similar effect.
We also repeat the process of drawing the black lines up the back, across the shoulders, and down the arms to the wrists; being extremely careful again when we cut the tape to not cut Jay's clothing or his skin!
As can be seen more clearly in the video, we only cut enough so Jay can get his arms out but we leave it together around his neck and shoulders.
Step 4: The Head
So, obviously wrapping your head with anything is dangerous. We were extremely careful during this part. If you're claustrophobic, another great option is using a wig form or plastic head and connecting the form to the torso separately.
We started again with the plastic but were careful not to cover Jay's mouth so that he could breathe. The duct tape was put on loosely enough that when we cut it off we wouldn't have to worry about trimming any of his hair. A line was drawn from the top of the head down the back of the neck and we used the scissors again to cut it off. At this point, we cut it completely down the center of the back (leaving the front attached) so the entire form comes off completely.
This is easier to see in the video, but essentially Jay was completely free of the duct tape at this point. :)
Step 5: Metal Wire for the Spine
We're going to stuff the body form with newspaper and relatively light material, but to reinforce it standing upright we're going to use some thick metal wire as a spine that will run from the top of the head and stick out below the feet. It's bent in half and doubled up, with the loop being at the head. This allows us to potentially hang it from that loop or stick the bottom into the ground, giving us lots of options.
We bent out the wire, then used some snips and cut it off, leaving plenty of extra in case we need it.
It then got bent in half and loosely placed inside the form for now.
Step 6: Stuffing and Sealing the Body Form
This part is really tricky to do alone, so it's a great project to do with a friend. One of us held the feet up while the other duct-taped the form together. Starting at the bottom, we filled, held, taped, and repeat!
To fill the form, we're using recycled crumpled up newspaper, old magazines, and junk mail. This is a great way to upcycle some of that old material that we all have lying around the house.
The metal spine gets placed as centered as possible within the stuffing.
As you work your way up the form, the black marker lines help to align the body form back into the right position. One of us would hold it while the other tapes it.
The tighter your stuff it, the firmer it will stand up so don't be stingy with the newspaper. :)
If you find a section that wasn't stuffed well, simply cut a hole in it, stuff it better, then seal it back up!
Step 7: Preparing the Outer Cloth Wrapping
To wrap our Mummy, we're using "Grade 10" white cheesecloth. This particular grade has a loose weave and is kind of see-through. It also frays easily so it helps it look old.
We used about 40 yards of material for this, cut into 2-3 inch strips.
Since the cheesecloth is bright white, we're using a Black Tea Stain to make it look older and give it some color. This is done by boiling a pot of water, using 1 tea bag per cup of water, adding some salt, and then soaking the cloth for about 10-15 minutes. After that, the cloth is set out to dry overnight.
The longer you soak the cloth, the darker it will get. This is a great way to make it look old and get some color and variance in the look of the cloth.
Step 8: Optional: Paint the Body Form
While the cloth was drying, we decided to paint our duct tape form white. The cloth is semi-transparent, so this would allow us to use less coth overall and not worry about seeing the silver the duct tape underneath.
We did a simple coat of white spray paint primer over the entire thing and let it dry completely.
Step 9: Test Wrapping Our Mummy
To ensure we had enough cloth, our next step was a test wrap! Turns out we didn't make enough and had to go cut way more material.
To wrap it, we start at the feet and work our way up from the bottom. (If there's a fray on your cloth, have it facing down.) Also, we try to not just do a simple wraparound; we make sure to add some variance by coming back over areas diagonally and with a bit of randomness, for effect.
Step 10: Optional: Adding Skeletal Hands
In our Mummy, we didn't wrap the hands because we wanted to use some prop skeletal hands we had that we picked up at the big box store. This part is obviously optional...if you don't have these or don't want to pick some up you can just wrap your hands as well.
The skeletal hands fit right into the open wrist area and we held them in place by wrapping in and around the finger joints.
Step 11: Optional: Dirt Pass
Our last step was to unwrap the entire thing and do a "dirt pass". It was far too clean looking for an ancient, realistic Mummy! All the cloth came off and was laid out on the grass.
We used some brown and black acrylic paint and watered it down a bit to create a wash, and then randomly applied it to all of the cloth. This gave it a dirty, older look, which really elevated the entire project.
Lastly, we rewrapped the whole thing!
Step 12: The Results!
Other than the claustrophobic part of getting wrapped in duct tape...this whole process was AWESOME! The Mummy looks incredible, it was incredibly easy to make, and it barely cost anything.
If you make one, send us a picture so we can see it. :)
Thanks for reading! Want to see more of our stuff?