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How DO you make those Animal Costumes? (Fursuits)
Hi guys! I thought I'd start making a pro/con list comparing and… 
25th-Mar-2005 11:16 pm
Hi guys! I thought I'd start making a pro/con list comparing and contrasting the two main techniques for making fursuit masks for my site... I was going to only adding things based off my own experiences.. But I think I'd like it more if I had your guys' honest input as well.

Let me know if you've explored both techniques before, or just one (and which one). And what you have to say about it... such as Pro: whatever, Con: whatever ... or if its just something based on your personal preference.

Here's my table so far:



Grey Area
(depends on personal preference)


  • More like a stuffed animal, not many hard parts.
  • Doesn't require "extra padding."
  • Easy to start right away with foaming.
  • Snug/tight fitting.
  • Seams tend to need greater reinforcement, due to flexibility. (often need to be hand sewn)
  • Hot, no real space to place additional fans.
  • (in my experience) Working jaw not as sensitive, tends to hang open.


Grey Area


  • Plenty of space for battery operated fans.
  • More rigid structure, not "floppy"
  • Easy to reinforce.
  • Can do entire mask with no fine sewing.
  • Loose fitting, more room.
  • Sometimes requires extra interior padding.
  • Can easily get "boxy" or large if not careful with planning.
  • Have to build understructure before foaming begins.
26th-Mar-2005 07:43 am (UTC)
Actually, I've seen some plastic canvas heads that were pretty snug, almost as snug as a balaclava would have been. That's what I want to aim for.
26th-Mar-2005 08:32 am (UTC)
I definatly like baclava better. Because its nice and snug. The mesh heads always make me feel like its gonna fall off, and at least the one I have was a LOT harfer to breathe in, and find places to ventalate.. And harder to get the movable jaw to move at the right time... For some reason when my mouth was closed my head mouth was open, and vice versa.. o.O
26th-Mar-2005 08:33 pm (UTC)
The jaw was operating more like a see-saw, your pivot point was in the center. If you put your pivot point at one end, rather than in the middle, then put a small rubberband in the "sweet spot" where it closes properly and opens just enough (This is definitely something that frustrates some people who can't find it) its sort of in the middle in front of where your chin would be pushing down on the jaw as you speak. That should fix the mouth so it opens when you open your mouth.
27th-Mar-2005 06:39 am (UTC)
Ahh! Thanks! :)
26th-Mar-2005 10:25 am (UTC)
I've found that the extra flexibility of a balaclava head can be reduced by foaming the entire thing, including the back and crown with half inch foam, that makes them surprisingly rigid, as long as you use a good glue (evostick impact has served me very well for three heads)
26th-Mar-2005 10:43 am (UTC)
I would imagine (and here I'd be happy for someone to correct or confirm me) that a balaclava head would fit most people, whereas a mesh head is more built to a single head-size. Is this so? I certainly know that the mesh heads I've build fit me well, but wouldn't fit larger heads.
26th-Mar-2005 02:22 pm (UTC)
For my heads I use either plastic canvas or bike helmets (more so for toony heads and ones for kid events and such). I make sure that the head fits me comfortably then I can easily adjust it by removing or adding more foam to the inside of the head. As for the bike helmet based ones they come with pieces of foam to add in or take out to make it fit.

26th-Mar-2005 08:20 pm (UTC)
I guess I haven't had the same luck. My balaclava-based head I literally had to struggle to get it to fit anyone else properly, even myself. I think it was due to the addition of the elastic to try to get the jaw working. (I didn't use wide enough bands of it, I think)

I haven't had as many problems with the plastic canvas head not fitting other people as much as I have my balaclava one. And I think in the end I prefer plastic canvas over the balaclava, since I can add padding to make it fit, rather than have to rely on the balaclava fabric stretching properly to fit.

The sizing prettymuch depends on how a person actually builds it, though. Like if its designed to be built to fit one person, that narrows the "fitability" of the mask for other folks.
26th-Mar-2005 12:13 pm (UTC)
Can you put this behind an LJ-cut?? The coding for the table is messing up my friends list. Thank you.
26th-Mar-2005 01:53 pm (UTC)
Amazing how things change. Seven years ago the catagories would have been "carved foam", "rigid shell", and "latex cast and headband"

I'll go back to my retro-tech now...
26th-Mar-2005 03:01 pm (UTC)
Yeah, kickin' it old school style!
26th-Mar-2005 08:25 pm (UTC)
I started out working in Paper Mache' then after 4 masks made from that I moved on to the carved foam, too. I think I leaned more towards Plastic Canvas due to its tendency to not be as messy as the glue/paper or the teeny snips and burned out turkey cutters of the carved foam.
I'm still not sure about the Balaclava technique. I think I'd have to try it one more time on another mask to see if its worth the trouble still.
26th-Mar-2005 03:47 pm (UTC)
Balaclava: Better for people who work well with organic shapes
Mesh: Better for more geometrically-inclined people
26th-Mar-2005 08:34 pm (UTC)
Good point :3 thanks!
26th-Mar-2005 09:54 pm (UTC)
I use a flexible plastic-mesh and make the head as small as possible. There is just enough room for servos, batteries and fan:


This structure is covered with cloth:


Movable parts are made of flexible material. The fur is hand sewn to the surface. I can work much more exact with a needle:


You can build a head very fast that way (I need about an hour for the basic structure). It's durable and lightweight. Servos and batteries can be attached to the mesh easily. That's important if you want to add animatronics.
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