How to Make a Duct Tape Mannequin/Dummy

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Hey Cosplayers, welcome to the Cosplay Apprentice, with easy to follow tutorials, high-quality products, and simple DIY Templates, we provide you with the tools, materials, and skills you need to forge your favorite fandoms and make your dreams a reality. I'm Skyler Ostler and in today's Apprenticeship I'll be teaching you how to make a full body mannequin of yourself with detachable arms and torso and all it will take is a simple trip to the hardware store. For this tutorial we will be using duct tape, tin foil, PVC pipe and the secret ingredient, sieka fence post expanding foam. Now, this little fella doesn't have a name yet so make sure to stay tuned till the end so you can find out how you can help come up with his name. Stay Tuned!

Step 1: Material Needed

Here is a link to a list of the materials I used for this project

Step 2: Make Your Mannequin/Dummy Shell

Alright, let's dive in, to get started, you want to go to the store and pick up 3 rolls of 50 yd duct tape and a roll of tin foil. Once you have that, grab someone that has a good two hours of time to spare to help wrap you up in tin foil and duct tape. Start at your ankles and wrap a piece of tin foil around a section of your leg followed by duct tape. I highly recommend running a couple of long strips of duct tape up and down the leg and then continuing to wrap duct tape around the leg, this helps make the finished wrap a little more structurally sound.

Make sure to run the duct tape in different directions as you go and make sure everything is well taped up with no gaps. Continue this process up your entire body and out on your arms. A trick we learned when you get to the crotch area is to basically create a tin foil diaper with a piece running around your waist and another looped under between your legs. Continue to work your way up your body until you reach the neck and then do each arm down to the wrist and make sure to keep your arms at a consistent height and even distance away from your body. Once you are all tinned and taped you'll be anxious and ready to get out. Luckily the tin foil helps create a separation between your underclothes and tape so it is fairly easy to cut yourself out of. Have your helper mark a straight line down your back from your neck down to the bottom of your lower back or the top of your bottom. Make sure they make horizontal registration marks every inch or two along that line and then they can carefully cut along that line. Make sure to be super safe using scissors as you go. Have your helper do the same thing on the arms from the outside of the wrist up to the elbow, and on the legs from the outside of the ankle up to the knee. Once each of these is marked and cut you should be able to shimmy out of your tin and tape cacoon!

Step 3: Reassemble

Wahooo!!! You are free! You made it out!! Say thank you to your helper for a bit and let's get to stitching this duct tape skin back together! Using the registration marks tape all of your seams back together. I found that it was easiest to take small strips of the duct tape and literally use them as stitches to stick the two sides in about 1 foot sections at a time and then coming back and reinforcing the seam and taping up all gaps and repeating that process in one foot sections untill it was all taped back together with no holes and very well reinforced.

Step 4: Break Mannequin Into Removable Sections

Now that you have your shell all taped back together we are now going to cut it up into pieces again. In order to make your mannequin have detachable arms and torso. We are going to have to chop off their arms and cut them in half like Darth maul. Do the same thing you did with drawing the cut lines earlier and mark your registration marks along the shoulder and under the arm as well as straight across on the waistline all the way around. Try your best to make the lines as straight and symmetrical as possible. Then go ahead and cut those sections off.

Once you have your mannequin separated into the different pieces then you will want to make sure to cap off the ends in preparation for filling it with the expanding foam. So, you will use card board and duct tape to cap off the wrists, the ankles, the neck, and shoulder areas on the torso. Once you have all those capped off and taped up with no holes gaps or seams, then you are ready to make the magic happen.

Step 5: Give It Some Structure

Many duct tape dummy tutorials will have you try to stuff your dummy full of batting, or clothes, or gap filling foam, but none of those really give you a firm solid dummy to work with and makes it pretty hard to have detachable arms and torso. So I experimented with something a little different and it was a huge success!!!! I found this amazing stuff at Home Depot called Sika fence post expanding foam. This stuff is amazing, it is used to fill fence post holes instead of concrete, it expands a ton, hardens pretty stiff but is still lightweight!

So, to fill your mannequin pieces, you are going to want to have your helper come back over and help you with this part!! Lay down plenty of garbage bags and cardboard to protect the ground you are working on or if the weather is nice do this outside. Make sure to wear gloves and protective eyewear. They have made this expanding foam super easy to use, simply follow the directions on the bag and roll the bag up toward the other until the two fluids combine, swish the bag around to get them throughly mixed for about 15 seconds and then grab your scissors and cut open the corner and pour the entire contents of the bag out into your mannequin legs make sure your helper is there to support the legs and keep them upright and in a normal standing position to avoid any deformation as it expands and sets. Don't forget to stuff a piece of 2 inch PVC pipe into your legs to use for attaching the torso pieces together in the future. The expanding foam expands a lot and gets really hot but sets up pretty quickly and fully cures over night. Follow this process for filling up the arms and torso, obviously the arms will not need an entire bag so you will have to guess how much to put in and pour the rest into the torso. Make sure to run a 1/2 inch PVC pipe through the center of the two shoulder areas on the torso and one in the center of the torso that matches up the pipe in the legs so that you can attach the arms and connect the torso to the legs. It is fine to let the foam expand above the mark because you can cut it down to be flush once it has set up completely. I am 6'1" and used 4 bags of the Sika mix to fill everything.

Step 6: Clean Up and Assemble

Once all your pieces have cured you can trim down all the excess foam but make sure to wear gloves and a mask and protective eyewear to do so because it gets messy! With all of your foam trimmed down you line up your arms and glue in a 1/2" PVC coupler into the arm and trim down the extra pipe coming out of the torso so that the arm and attach. Lastly, connect the torso to the legs and pretty up any blemishes, and add any cool logos that you want to and you are set to jet!! Congrats!!! You just cloned yourself out of tin foil and duct tape!!

Step 7: Help Me Name This Fella

Hey, if you want to help me come up with a name for this guy head on over the YouTube Video and in the comments, give me your name nomination. Make sure to subscribe to the channel because I will pick my top favorites and then put it to a vote on my channel. Your name could be the winner!!

Cosplay On, My Friend!

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    3 Discussions

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    Lone Ninja

    5 days ago

    Love it! I'm working on the exact same project too.

    1
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    MaraCreates

    9 days ago

    LOL, this is fantastic, I am a sewer and can't afford a mannequin but this would be the perfect solution, Thank you for showing me how to make it so I can make my own and sew up my own clothes!

    1 reply

    Yay!! I'm so glad I could help! This is perfect for being able to put the clothes on because of the detachable arms and torso, not too many duct tape dummy tutorials add that part in. Thanks for your comment! I'm so excited for you! :)