Log in

No account? Create an account
How DO you make those Animal Costumes? (Fursuits)
Padded Hand-paw Tutorial. 
16th-Jan-2008 11:06 pm
Blood Raven - Suit!
Someone asked about how-to's on hand paws. This method is a bit time consuming compared to most, but I really like the look and feel of padded hands and felt it worthwhile to pass along my method to anyone who's interested with a tutorial, since I've been taking massive amounts of photos of the construction of my latest suit and have 'em on hand to write one up. :)

Supplies needed:
A pair of thin gloves ($2 at Wal-Mart).
A chunk of foam (Can get at Jo-Ann Fabrics).
Claws (if desired - can be made of sculpy, fimo, etc. or bought - boy scout beads are awesome).
Desired faux fur fabric.
Hot glue & hot glue gun.
Scissors, exact knife, et cetera for carving and cutting.

First, cut rectangles of foam a bit bigger than each finger of your glove:

Then hollow out each rectangle and shave them down into finger-like cylinders, varying in length as you so desire to exaggerate the proportions of the hand:

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you intend to have claws, leave at least a half-inch or more of space above the tip of each finger on your hand. Determine this by constantly trying on the finger padding as your carve them. Make the fingers thinner than you want the hands to ultimately look, since fur does bulk things up a lot.

Once the fingers are all carved out, hot glue them onto your gloves. I find that the best way to get a nice, snug fit is to glue them on while you're wearing the gloves, so that as the glue hardens, it molds itself to your fingers. WARNING: It gets really hot. I'm kind of tolerant of burns and burn-like sensations, but if you have sensitive skin, instead of your fingers, use a drum stick or a pen or something similar to stand in for you real finger while you start to glue, and then slip your real fingers in and adjust as needed once the glue as cooled down a tad bit. Here's them all glued on, with the claws I intend to use:

Now, the next step is optional, depending on how you want your claws to look. You an of course make claws yourself out of sculpy or something similar, but I really love to use the "bear claw" boy scout beads. They're nigh impossible to break, shiny and pointed enough that your paws can double as awesome back-scratchers. The only problem with them is that they are wickedly lengthy: 2+ inches or so. if you want longer claws, then that's perfect, but your hands will look rather wicked, like so:

Which I suppose would be lovely if you're making a werewolf or somesuch. That's the first set of paws I made using this method. After that, I decided I preferred a more docile, shorter-clawed look, and so my solution was to hack-saw the claws in half, to about this length:

I did so by hand, which is hella hard on the wrists so... take plenty of breaks and roll/stretch them often I suppose. If anyone has a suggestion on how better to cut the claws, I'd love to hear it.

Anyway, once you have all your claws made/cut/prepared/whatever, use a marker to indicate where and how you want each of the claws to sit, and look everything over to make sure it's nice and even. Then, cut into each finger tip along your marks and hot glue the claws into place. Once it dries they should be NICE and sturdy, so long as you left the half-inch+ of space I told you too:

Now it's time to fur, starting with the fingers. First cut rectangles of fur long enough and wide enough to fit each finger:

Also pictured are ELF cookies, a cup of Earl Grey tea and the boxed set of Firefly, which also are essential to the paw-making process... okay, wellll, maybe not. But they certainly don't hurt! ;) Ahem. So, you then proceed to folding over each rectangle so that the backing of the fabric is facing out, and sewing the long edges together:

This part can be done by machine, although unfortunately I was at school where I have no sewing machine and this set of paws was done entirely by hand (acckk). You then turn each piece inside-out, comb out the seam, and tug them onto their respective fingers:

Once you have all the finger-sleeves on, you need to bunch up the tips so as to pull the fur snug to each claw. To accomplish this, sew around (sewing direction indicated by the blue arrow) the top opening of each sleeve (indicated by the red arrow below) and pull tight; usually about four or five times does the trick for me, but this may vary depending on how thick the fabric you're working with is:

Once synched, the seam should be pretty invisible:

Next is to do the arm sleeves of each hand. To do this, lay your arm flat on a piece paper and trace it, including the thickness of your palm (see the scribble in red below for the pattern). Leave about a 1/4 inch to 1/2 excess for seams on your arm, and even more than that on your palm (those foam fingers are thick, after all). The arm length can vary depending on what you want - either shoulder-length sleeves (usually for partial suits) or lengths that just exceed the wrist by a bit (usually for full suits). Then cut two opposite-facing pieces of fur for each hand:

Again, some work can be avoided if you have a sewing machine. If you do, sew the arm portion (the wrist down in the drawing) by machine. The finger portion must be done by hand no matter what. Here, I had no machine, and so opted to just sew them on one half at a time. As you sew the backing to the fingers, do NOT sew in-between the fingers. This causes wrinkles and bagginess and unpleasantness. Just sew to the bases of the fingers. In my experience, the bulk of the fingers holds them so close together that you can never see in-between them at the base, no matter how you pose them. Also be sure to leave plentiful room in between your index finger and you thumb - extend your thumb away from your hand as far as you can go when drawing the pattern and trying on the hand in-between sewing to make sure you retain a full range of motion with it.

Sewing on the other side:

And tad-daa! Houston, we have hand paws:

(They're next to the head of a suit I'm nearly done with, and will post pictures of soon, hehee. Yay mysteries of mysteriousness. Or... something. Yes.)

These hands do not yet have paw pads, but you can add them if you so desire:

Those are the hand-paws to my Blood Raven suit. There are numerous ways to go about making paw pads; how I do it is by simply cutting the shapes out of fabric (fleece or felt does fine), leaving a 1/4 border of excess. Sew the excess under to give it a clean look and prevent fraying, and then sew the pad pads onto the hands, leaving a small gap, through which you stuff them before sewing up the gap, giving the paw pads a squishy, 3-dimensional look.

Why bother to pad hand-paws when you can just trace your hand and be done with it? It depends on the style of your suit, really. If you had an extreme skin-tight, latex or cast head, padded paws might be too large. But for foam or mesh heads, padded paws are more proportional to your head. For comparison, hold up your hand to your face - does it cover most of your face? Usually the answer is yes. Hence my fondness for padding. :) Additionally, they're really comfortable and look more paw-like than hand-like, which is fun. The fingers are flexible/bendable despite the hot glue, although you *do* loose some dexterity, which is also something to keep in mind, if your performance in-suit requires nimble hands.

Enjoy! I hope this is helpful. If anyone has questions, feel free to ask. :)

17th-Jan-2008 05:22 am (UTC)
Cool! That's a really innovative new way to make toony hands. :D
I have no idea how you came up with that fur cinching technique around the claws, but it's totally ingenious.
Can't wait to see your new suit.
17th-Jan-2008 07:16 am (UTC)
Thanks! I dunno, it's what I've always done, simply tracing your hand and sewing the two halves together never occurred to me for some reason when I went to make my first suit, but this did. o_O And I really like the feel of it, so when I realized that there were way easier ways to go about making paws, I wound up just sticking with this anyway. :)

Also, yay, and I totally cannot wait to be done with him, lol. I've had some crazy difficulties with his hair which have fiiinally been resolved, so whoo for that. Now it's just a matter of finishing details and piece together the proper attire/costume for the character, since he's very specific to something. ^^
17th-Jan-2008 05:39 am (UTC)
That is rather awesome!! Thanks so much. :)
17th-Jan-2008 07:18 am (UTC)
Yay, you're welcome, hope it's helpful!
17th-Jan-2008 05:52 am (UTC)
fab job!!
17th-Jan-2008 07:17 am (UTC)
17th-Jan-2008 06:57 am (UTC)
Question:So the blocks of foam that the paw digits are made from are just carved down to cylinders?

Also how do you hollow them out?

Im curious, i might use this method instead of the glove pattern one.
17th-Jan-2008 07:09 am (UTC)
Yep! You just carve them down with a pair of scissors. Hollowing them out is just a matter of poking a hole in the base with the scissors, and then ripping away at the interior - with the scissors or by literally just picking/ripping at it with your hands, polyfoam isn't terribly tough to pull apart - until you've got it to fit your finger nice and snug.

If you decide to try this, good luck, and feel free to ask more if you run into any troubles. :)
17th-Jan-2008 08:41 am (UTC)
is this 1/2 inch or 1 inchthick foam?
17th-Jan-2008 07:47 pm (UTC)
2 inch, actually. Thiiick stuff. :3
17th-Jan-2008 11:21 am (UTC)
cutting claws is simple! make sure the plastic is nice and cold. freezer or fridge. score a line on each side where you want them cut. take a pair of plyers and hold the base of the claw and SNAP them off. it will leave a clean cut right along the score mark .
17th-Jan-2008 07:46 pm (UTC)
Freeze them, eh? Never would of thought of that - thanks! I'll give it a try next time.
26th-Mar-2012 03:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I tried that and it worked. Its wasn't really clean cut, but all I had to do was shave it down a bit with my exato blade. Thanks.
17th-Jan-2008 11:23 am (UTC)
oh.. and on those grey paws.. why is the fur going the wrong way?
17th-Jan-2008 07:45 pm (UTC)
So it doesn't overwhelm the claws. I always make my paw fur face backwards (towards the arm, away from the claw tips) so that the claws don't get lost in the floof, which was especially important on those grey shag paws, as you can see. It's just a stylistic decision. :)
18th-Jan-2008 05:42 am (UTC)
i just trim the tips with clippers. gives the same look and allows the fur to go in the right direction:)
17th-Jan-2008 01:35 pm (UTC)
so I suppose you could make these look more realistic by just carving in a tad more detail into the foam cylindars (ie, more knuckles and joints) I am so going to use this for my werewolf suit, thats bunches!
11th-Feb-2009 07:54 am (UTC)
oh wow. this is greatt!
im making tiger paws and arm, and dont no how to to the colours. wether i should airbrush them on, use white finger tips, white palm, and and orange back of hand? i want them as realistic as possible i guess.
22nd-Dec-2009 06:54 am (UTC)
This is amazing! Thank you for sharing. I'm not really planning on doing a fursuit as it's soo time consuming and requires a sewing machine. However I was thinking how I was going to do a jolteon gijinka and I'd like to do paws for the character. So thank you for sharing this surely will come in handy!
7th-Jul-2017 04:26 am (UTC)
About how much fur do you need just for the basic gloves (not the full arm sleeves) ?
This page was loaded Sep 21st 2019, 4:36 am GMT.