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. :)
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. :)