Making your own Body Form

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Okay. What's a Form you ask? Why, this is a form!


Yes. It's those freaky half maniquin people your mother uses to put her dress on. This is invaluable in making your own armor! It will allow you, no matter which production method you use, to make sure your stuff fits all around your body without having to constanly ask family members/pets "Does this make my butt look fat?" As an added bonus, you can put your armor on it when you're not using it.

Now there are some problems with getting one. First of all, if you're a guy, you do not need extra space for boobs. Secondly, as a guy, we tend to be a bit bigger than these anorexic model sized forms. Thirdly, they're expensive to get the ones that are adjustable to match your body size.

But do not fret! You can make your own CUSTOM FORM OF YOUR BODY with the following supplies!

1. a long sleeve shirt you can destroy. Turtlenecks are BEST!

2. Rolls of Duct Tape THAT DOES NOT STRETCH AT ALL. Whole-sale places (Sam's Club, Costco) tend to sell cheap stuff that's hard to work with. 3M brand is best.

3. Paramedic scissors (these come in nearly all store bought first aid kits. They have a funkay angle to them.)

4. Some PVC pipe and joints (to make a stand, 1/2 inch width)

5. Some friends you trust (you're giving them duct tape)

6. Some synthetic stuffing (comes in BIG bags and is white and fluffy.)

7. Some Muslin (cheap fabric. Get 3 yards or so)

Okay, here we go, follow closely now!

Step 1:
Bribe your friends with Pizza or something to come over, and put on that fancy Turtleneck and some lose fitting shorts. Cut some muslin and make a "skirt" that overlaps the turtleneck. It needs to go down about half-way down your thigh. I know it looks silly, but you can use it to help hold your hip armor assembly later. Just trust me. Tape the muslin to the outside of the shirt.

Step 2:

Hand your friends the rolls of duct tape. What they need to do is put long strips of it on the shirt. Make sure the tape is lying as flat as it can on the shirt, with the most surface area with glue on it. The longer the strips the better, preferably all the way around you in one length, plus a big X across your chest and back. DO NOT MAKE IT TOO TIGHT. I needs to be snug, but not pushing your flesh in making you skinnier. That will make the end result too small, and could potentially make your armor too small. That is bad. Very bad. Also be EXTREMELY CAREFUL WHEN YOU PUT THE TAPE ON YOUR NECK THAT YOU DO NOT CHOKE. This is why you need friends you can trust. Do this all over the shirt and the muslin extension. And yes, this will require some butt touching. Get over it.

For the arms, make sure you put your arms where you want them in the final product or forever hold your peace. You'll have to hold this pose for a while so pick something comfortable, or just bare it for a while while your friends hurry and tape you up. Make sure you have your legs about shoulder width apart so your belt will have something to catch on and not just fall off the form.

You want about three or four layers of tape over every part. Make sure there are no holes. Minus all the plastic and boobs (for guys) you should look something like this:

Step 3:
Now you need to cut yourself out of it. Do this from the back bottom cutting up with those paramedic scissors. It should go through the shirt, muslin, and tape easily and not cut you up in the process. To get your arms out, cut from the wrist up the arm until your hands can fit through and carefully pry the thing off yourself. Get your friends to help.

Step 4: Your friends can leave now, but having some help for the next few steps is nice. Now you need to repair the cuts you made, preferably from the inside so you don't increase the thickness on the outside. Make sure you do a good job of this and that it's completely secure, as there's going to be some pressure pushing on it from the inside, which I'll get to in a second. You want to restore it as closely as possible to what it looked like before you cut yourself out of it.

Step 5: So now you have this hollow flimsy thing. Now is the time you want to connect the PVC into a T shape (one 60" length or so and two 6" lengths with a T-joint and stick it in there to give the stuffing a little extra rigid support. Cut it to size if you have to.

Step 6: Now the stuffing begins! Start with the shoulders and arms first. If you have some extra PVC, cut a small length to help push the stuffing up into your arms, as that is the most confined space. You want to stuff it to the point to where it is some what firm, but not putting so much stress the tape starts to split. Make sure your PVC frame stays centered as this is going to eventually become a stand.

Step 7: The hardest part. Taping the bottom shut. If you've put enough stuffing in it, this should be hard as it's all trying to come out the bottom and the hole where your neck was, and the wrist holes. You need to tape these shut but not overly deform them doing so. I've found that using some card stock/board helps on the bottom and wrist holes to keep them round if you cut them to shape.

Step 8: If you taped everything properly you should now have something like this, but no boobs and with arms.

There should be a PVC pipe coming out the bottom. You can now fashion a stand using three T joints, two 12" lengths, and four 18" lengths in an H shape, with a T joint in the middle of the H assembly to stick the pipe coming out the bottom of the form on.

Now when you want to make sure the armor fits and you realize you need to add padding or other features for a proper fit, you can do so while it's on the form and see it from all angles. Best of all, it's not some generic form, but a copy of yourself, so it's sure to fit. You can also apply these techniques on your legs too and if you're inventive enough, make a full body form. You can spray paint it black and use it as a display for your armor when you're not wearing it if you use a + PVC joint to extend the pipe out the neck and put a styrofoam head on it to hold your helmet.

If you're really crazy, you can coat the thing with the same fiberglass resin used on pepakura forms to make the thing ridgid and remove the stuffing. However, if you don't and just remove the stuffing, you can store it/move it easier when it's flat.
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