Introduction: Making a Duct Tape Clone
Do you need a cheap copy of yourself? Maybe one you can jab pins into?
I've often made duct tape sewing dummies for costume projects, (see my headless bride costume and kidnapped mermaid costume) but recently I wanted a full-sized dummy of my partner that could easily be dressed and stand on its own. We're making a Groot costume and, in addition to making it easier to work on the the costume with a self-supported model, I want to be able to display the finished costume as a prop when it is not being worn.
My budget for this project was nearly non-existent, with the only new purchase being a few jumbo rolls of duct tape. Everything else was salvaged scrap wood, pvc pipe, donation bin clothing and fastners we already had on hand.
Step 1: Wrap the Person to Be Cloned in Duct Tape
I've reused some photos from previous projects for this step as the process is always the same.
Have the person being cloned put on some tight-fitting sacrificial clothing and completely wrap them in a layer of duct tape. Go over with additional pieces of tape, smoothing each down, until you are satisfied that the dummy will be strong enough to hold its shape. There will be lots of touching in this step - select your helpers wisely.
Carefully cut the duct tape and clothing off and then tape the seams back together.
For our stand up dummy we chose to make the duct tape body in two pieces, mostly for the comfort of the person being wrapped. First we wrapped the legs and created some tape suspenders to hold them up. Then, after those were removed, we wrapped the arms and torso.
Step 2: Building a Skeleton
We measured our clonee and sketched out a plan for the skeleton.
As we were working entirely with junk we had lying around, the results are functional but not pretty. Nobody will see the skeleton, so I wasn't concerned with aesthetics.
Your results will likely look very different but the important parts are that it be vaguely person-shaped, that the frame supports the weight of the fully dressed dummy and (if you want to dress it) that the legs can easily come off the base.
We cut out 2x4 feet and attached them to a plywood base.
Using bits of pvc pipe attached to the 2x2 leg bones and parts of a broom handle inserted into the feet, we created a way to easily slide the dummy off of the base (and put it back).
The spine, neck and head were cut from plywood and attached to 1x6 hips. To make it easier to insert the cardboard arm bones, we hinged them at the elbow. The arms were attached to 1x6 shoulders.
Step 3: Final Assembly
Add the duct tape body form over the skeleton.
Stuff it firmly with newsprint, scrap paper or other material you have on hand. Make sure you fill it completely or the body may cave in in places without enough stuffing.
Seal any openings and seams with more duct tape.
Your finished clone is ready to be dressed!