So how exactly do you get the pattern and figure out how to put fur on the fursuit head or other part you are making? It is time to explain the wonderful complexities of “furring” something – in this case, on a foam-constructed head. The technique of using tape to create a pattern invaluable. It is a veryuseful technique to learn!
This guide will help you create your pattern which will be useful for planning your fur usage (reducing the amount of wasted fur fabric), you can arrange your pattern to know how much fabric to buy, and it will help you know what shape your pieces need to be before you apply any glue to your head! This patterning process will also make it possible in an easier way to prepare your pieces to sew if you choose to sew, instead of glue, your fabric.
You are watching: How to fur a fursuit head
MaterialsFoam object you would like to fur (such as a costume head)At least 2-inch wide Tape (packing, duct, masking, or whatever you think may work best for you. I prefer masking tape, packing shape also shown in this tutorial.)Razor blade.Scissors (though I mostly just use a razor blade for the majority of it)Fur (measure the pattern you make to know how much to get!)Chalk or charcoal pencil (for marking your patterns on the fabric)Standard plastic hair-comb (for combing seams)
Optional:Inexpensive Kraft or Butcher Paper (to stick your tape pieces to, if you choose. Newspaper or gift wrap works, too)Pins to pin your fur directly to your foamand/or Needle and matching-colored thread (only requires minimal or no sewing if using hot glue for a head or paws)Sewing machine to sew your fabric together.
Begin with a few rolls of wide tape. In this how-to you will see both packing tape and masking tape used. Pictured above is my current favorite brand and size of tape.
What makes this technique so useful for making the pattern is because the tape does not actually stick very well to the foam (it should comes right off when you’re done without damaging the foam!). If you are not sure you can test applying a piece of tape to a scrap piece to be sure it does not tear off pieces of foam when you remove it.
Depending on your structure, you can tape over eye and vent openings, or you can carefully tape around them with narrower pieces of tape. This choice is up to you and will depend on if you want to cut them out later, tape around around them or later trim it once it is furred. You may also choose not to cover the inside of mouth or ears if you plan to pattern those separately.
Once the tape is applied to the whole form, draw the markings directly on top of the tape with a permanent marker. For a head, include the face markings, make note of fabric color or texture changes and the placement of the eyes and nose to give yourself a general idea of how it will look. For handpaws or footpaws draw on any paw pads if you plan on using your pattern for that.
If you choose not to use paper to stick the pattern pieces to, find a place so you can stick your tape pattern to lay the pieces flat.
Some pattern pieces won’t lay completely flat, you can cut the pattern piece along the curve to allow it to lay flat (this creates what is called a “dart”) If it is curved a little, this is OK, fur has a flexible fabric backing, some fur has a slight stretch to it, you also may not want to glue the fur into every crevice.
The tape-pattern is primarily used to acquire a pattern so you don’t end up wasting too much fur, but also to help you know what shape to cut from the fabric as well as how much fabric you actually need. Lay our your pattern pieces by color and fur direction, measure them (a yard is 3 feet) and now you know how much fur to buy! Photograph your pattern orientation so you can remember once your fur is bought!
It is very important to figure out the direction your fur fabric lays. Mark an arrow on the backing of your fur if necessary. Arrange your pattern pieces on the fur backing, keeping in mind the directional arrows you marked on your tape.
When you have your pattern traced, set aside the tape pattern (Save it until you are done with the mask in case of a mistake or you choose to redo an area) and you’re ready to cut it out of the fur. Use a sharp razor blade and carefully cut along the backside of the fabric. A snap-off razor is ideal, so you can always have a sharp cutting edge. This style of cutting reduces the amount of shedding and “shearing” the fur compared to using scissors to cut it out. “Shearing” is where the fur fibers accidentally get cut also, it can get messy and the fur will have a “sheared” appearance, if using a razor blade it is just cutting the backing-only and not the hairs so they typically will stay intact.
Once you have your fur-pieces cut out lay them over your form to double-check, and you are ready to start sewing or gluing!You won’t need much glue to tack down your fur, however the better job you do the more durable your finished project will be!
If you are sewing your project together before gluing
You can sew by hand or you can use a sewing machine. If using a sewing machine, pin together your pieces and sew with a minimal seam allowance. If hand-sewing you may not need any seam allowance at all, especially if using a stitch like a blanket stitch. You can sew together the face into a “sock” leaving the sides behind the cheeks open so you can slip it over the head. You will still need to glue down your fur, especially in the corners and valleys, but you can start gluing at the front and apply it in small increments radiating outwards.
When you are ready to sew up the two sides, use a Ladder Stitch to close up the edges that may need to connect, such as where two halves connect behind the cheeks. Ladder Stitch is shown below:
As shown in the picture above, this is a shot of two edges coming together unevenly. In this particular case it was on a curved section of the form, where a wrinkle needed to be smoothed out. If you encounter something similar: Trim one side of the fabric so that side lays flat. For the other side that is still uneven, match it up to the first edge and trace with a chalk mark to indicate where to cut (If its a wrinkle, the piece to remove will usually end up being a triangle or a curved piece, also known as a “dart”). The yellow razor is shown cutting the uneven side to match.
In this picture, it shows two edges that line up but aren’t yet glued or sewn. You can either use your needle and thread and hand-sew this edge you can use a ladder stitch (Shown above, which has a smooth, “invisible” result), or you can glue it instead.
To glue, peel the two pieces apart and run a zigzag bead of hot glue underneath the fur on to the foam, avoiding the two edges. Pull the two edges together and press them at the same time gently into the foam, avoiding getting any glue on the fur. To see a video of this technique, click here! When you comb the fur after the glue has cooled, inspect the seam, you’ll notice in most cases your seam is diminished. If its not diminished, you can glue it back once again. Pull the loose fur backing away from the noticeable seam gently, trim the edge to match it up a little better and run a single narrow bead of hot glue along the smaller edge, pressing down and pulling the fur to close the gap. Use your comb to comb the fur over in the direction of the fur pattern to get it to be mostly invisible.
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In summaryUse wide tape (masking tape, packing tape, etc) to cover your shape in tape.Draw marking placement/fabric changes on tape with a permanent marker.Draw arrows to represent intended fur direction.Cut pieces of tape covering foam using a razor, making pieces able to be laid flat.Label and Remove pieces. (Optionally stick them to paper.)Figure out the direction the fur goes that you are working with. (Double check before cutting!)The top side of your tape (that you drew your fur direction, markings, etc on) represents the “fur side.”The sticky side represents the “backing” (If you stuck your pattern to your kraft paper, the kraft paper represents the backing).Use your new pattern to plan your fur usage and how much to buy.Arrange backing/sticky side UP and trace your pattern on your fur’s backing using chalk (not Sharpie marker, it can bleed!).Leave only a minimal “allowance” around the edge of your pattern, if any, avoid using the selvage.Set pattern aside and cut your pieces with a razor blade on the backing of the fur. (Check fur direction before cutting!)Sew up your fur into a “sock” to pull over your foamwork, gluing in a radial fashion, or lay your fur on your shape (optionally pin the pieces down before gluing)Use a ladder stitch to sew up your edges or glue them if you choose.
The better job you do at furring, the more durable your final project will be!