DIY: Making Your Own Fake Leather

#Leather isn’t an uncommon element for #costumes & #cosplays, but it doesn’t have to be the real thing. Real leather can be cost prohibitive (not just the leather, but the tooling also can be pricey), becomes hot to wear or there may be objections to using and/or wearing animal products.

To solve these dilemmas, there’s an easy solution: make your own faux or fake leather. The question is how? The most obvious solution is to use faux leather fabric (or pleather); but if you need something that’s thicker than pleather you can use some foam underneath it, or you could just transform foam into your own homemade fake leather. You could even paint fabric to make it look leathery.

The first video tutorial below by Ginny Di talks about combining pleather with foam to create realistic looking fake leather. To do this you’ll need pleather, paints & foam.

If you want to make your own fake leather from foam only, you can try a technique presented by Buddy Cosplay. To do this, you’d need several tools, including an iron, heat gun, paints, foam, aluminum foil.

The next video is similar to the first, but isn’t as detailed. It’s by ButtercupBrix.

There are other similar tutorial videos online. The key to remember here is that you don’t have to use actual leather and you can let your creativity take you where you want. You could even make a gas mask that looks like leather by combining these techniques with the gas mask tutorial that we just posted.

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DIY Cosplay Gas Mask

If you’re doing a #cosplay that requires a gas mask, you could use an actual gas mask, but it may be cost prohibitive or it may become uncomfortable to wear for long periods as actual gas masks are made with rubber and are intended to form a tight seal around the face. Solution? Make your own cosplay gas mask! Not only will you be able to customize it however you want, it will be very easy to paint! (It’s really not easy to paint stretchy rubber as it will crack when you stretch it or wear it.)

While we aren’t necessarily advocating that you purchase this pattern,  but #cosplayer Lost Wax provides an excellent one with a tutorial video on how to make your very own cosplay gas mask:

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Spatial Awareness in Cosplay

#Costumers & #cosplayers who wear bulky #costumes & #cosplays that effectively make themselves physically larger than they aren’t in #costume need to be aware of how that larger size affects their movement in relation to other objects, including people, doorways, furniture, etc. This is called #SpatialAwareness and it’s a complex skill that’s learned when we’re children.

Spatial awareness is the ability to be aware of oneself in space that includes an organized knowledge of objects in relation to oneself within that given space. It also involves understanding the relationship of these objects when there is a change of position. Thus, it can be said that the awareness of spatial relationships is the ability to see and understand two or more objects in relation to each other and to oneself.

As people walk & move around in their daily lives, they encounter a variety of obstacles, but they rarely bump into those objects because they’re spatially aware of their own size in relation to the distances between themselves and those objects. This awareness can be completely lost when wearing a costume that makes oneself larger than one normally is and it doesn’t require a significant increase in size to increase the probability that the costumer or cosplayer may bump into something or someone.

Any costume with bulky armor, a large hoop skirt, protruding parts, etc., will throw the wearer’s learned spatial awareness out the window because that internally learned sense of one’s own size is no longer valid. Thus, the possibility of bumping into others, furniture or doorways suddenly becomes a very real problem not only for the wearer, but for the costume itself.

Any costumer or cosplayer who’s planning to wear a bulky costume needs to not only spend some time learning new spatial awareness skills while wearing the costume ahead of time, he or she should also learn not to make any sudden swinging, turning or bending motions that could potentially bump into something (or someone) as this could potentially hurt someone, damage the wearer’s own costume or damage someone else’s costume if they’re standing nearby.

Spatial awareness will also be adversely affected if the costumer or cosplayer is wearing a mask or helmet that reduces the wearer’s side and/or peripheral vision. Our spatial awareness is dependent upon having a wide view of our surroundings, but a mask or helmet that limits vision to being more straight ahead makes spatial awareness to the sides impossible. If the costume includes bulky parts that extend out to the sides, then bumping into things and others is going to be difficult to avoid, especially in a crowded setting. In this situation, the wearer should have a handler who isn’t in costume and can help the wearer manage the movements that he/she can’t otherwise see.

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Fursuiters Do Something that No Other Cosplayers Do: Dance Contests

What you won’t see at a typical comic or anime convention you will see at a #furry convention: a dance contest! These #fursuiters (or #furries) not only put a lot of effort into their #fursuits, but their dance moves while wearing their fursuits as well.

Here’s a furry dance competition that occurred this past weekend at Furry Weekend Atlanta (or #FWA) and was filmed by Fursuiter Blazzer:

Regardless of what type of #cosplay you enjoy, it’s ultimately about having fun.

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Pros & Cons of Owning, Wearing & Making Fursuits

#Fursuiter Pocari Roo shared a video on #YouTube discussing the pros & cons of owning & wearing a #fursuit. We highly recommend this video for anyone thinking about getting into #fursuiting.

Fursuiter Avedis_2000 shared a video of the pros & cons of making your own fursuit. Again, we highly recommend this video for anyone thinking about making your own fursuit:

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DIY: Making a Fursuit Head

The most distinguishing feature of any #fursuit #cosplay is its head. The head is probably the single most important element to any fursuit because the head is what helps to define the identity and species of the type of anthropomorphic character that the #fursuiter is portraying more than any other component. It’s also often the part of the fursuit that draws the most attention.

We’ll begin by stating that there are multiple ways in which a fursuit head can be constructed, but the primary components that are almost always used in all fursuit heads are (1) foam and (2) fur.

  • Foam is what gives the fursuit head its overall shape. Other materials (such as EVA foam or parts casted from resin) may also be used as part of the inner structure.
  • Synthetic fur (in typically different colors) is then applied to the outside of the head in patterns according to how the wearer wants it to look.

Other materials that you will need include the following:

  • Hot glue gun & sticks (a lot of stick)
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape / ruler
  • Sewing (a sewing machine is recommended, but some sewing will have to be done by hand)
  • A head form
  • Hair clippers (for cutting the synthetic fur)
  • Vacuum cleaner (for cleaning up debris)

Most fursuit heads have static jaws, but if a fursuiter wants the jaw to move as they move their mouth on the inside, that needs to be taken into account before any work is done in constructing the fursuit head.

Several Documented Methods

For simplicity, we’ll break down some of the techniques for making a fursuit head into the following methods that we arbitrarily named. An important note: these aren’t necessarily the only ways in which a fursuit head can be constructed.

  • Method A (Static jaw, from the inside out over a balaclava base)
    • Start with a knit balaclava as the first inner layer.
    • While wearing the balaclava, wrap a sheet of foam around the head to form a cylinder that’s the same size as the maximum diameter of the wearer’s head.
    • With the balaclava removed, glue and and shape the cylinder around the sides and top of the head.
    • More foam is then added, shaped and sculpted to form the head of the anthropomorphic character before any fur is added.
  • Method B (Static jaw, from the outside in starting with wide foam)
    • Start with two very thick pieces of foam (like a foam mattress) and glue them together.
    • Begin to cut and shape the exterior of the anthropomorphic character by working inwardly. This is like creating an actual sculpture.
    • Gouge out the shape for the wearer’s head to fit inside of the sculpted head.
  • Method C (Static or movable jaw, from the inside out over an elastic strap base)
    • Create a simple structure for the head using 3 pieces of cut elastic strap, one of which goes around the chin.
    • Begin attaching foam pieces to the stretched elastic straps (that are on a head mold) to form a base layer of foam.
    • After attaching the foam to the chin area, cut the foam (and not the elastic beneath) if you want a movable jaw.
    • Ad more foam that is shaped and cut similar to what was done in Method A.
  • Method D (Movable jaw, from the inside out & using a resin-casted muzzle)
    • To do this method, starting with Method A or C for the base layer will be a good starting point.
    • Instead of forming a muzzle out of foam, use a hinged resin-casted muzzle (purchased from a prop maker) as the base of the muzzle. Then add foam over of the resin to create the desired head shape.
    • Of the various methods listed, this is probably the most expensive due to the need to purchase a resin-casted muzzle.

Now for the example videos.

Method A is shown by Skyehigh Studios:

We also recommend watching an 8-part video series posted by Koofsuits. We included the first of the 8-part video series on how she constructs a fursuit head. She doesn’t show the initial creation of the base layer as Skyehigh Studios did in the previous video.

Method B is shown by fursuiter StarryKitsune:

Method C is shown by fursuiter Tiny Badger:

Part of Method D is shown by prop maker CanineHybrid:

Using EVA Foam in the Fursuit Head Build

Fursuit maker AlbinoTopaz recorded how she made a fursuit head for an auction winner that incorporates EVA foam for additional rigidity in the final product. EVA foam was used for both the ears and teeth. This required painting.

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