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Tutorials

Welcome to the creative space! This is where you can find out how I create the projects that I enjoy and share tips on how you can make them too! Making things has been a passion of mine for most of my life, so this section of my site is dedicated to lots of tips, hints, as well as many examples on how I make my cute costumes and projects!

One thing to keep in mind while creating your own projects is to be as resourceful as possible! While I may have used one particular item, product, or technique in creating a costume or item -- if you find something similar for less cost, or found a different way -- share that information with others! You may find something better, or a different technique, and it will only develop innovation. I highly encourage you to share your ideas and experiences with others because it fosters further knowledge and innovation.

Are you interested in or looking for a community to share your progress and stay inspired? I operate a dedicated-topic chat called The WIP Zone on a service called Telegram. The WIP Zone is a wonderful inspiring place with a dedicated theme of sharing WIPs and staying inspired. All kinds of safe for work artwork, fursuit, sewn, crafted or other projects are welcome to be shared there.

Fursuit Building

Costuming, cosplay, dressing up, fursuiting, whatever you consider it to be. I think its really cute innocent fun, and I love maskmaking and creating costume items. It has been my hobby for well over 15 years now and I really enjoy seeing what others create too!

The process surrounding creating things such as fursuits is called prototyping, it is a perfectly natural part of the learning curve to learn to make new items by making rough versions and refining them as you gain skill and learn new techniques. Practice new techniques on scraps before applying to your final project, and most importantly don't stop trying!! Even if something doesn't work out as you expect, it is still a learning experience! It is for sure more fun to have a costume than it is to not have a costume, so have fun with what you make!

Resources

I have collected lists of many useful things that relate to fursuit and costume building, crafting, including supplies! I sincerely hope these resources help you in your craft endeavors! In the resources links you will find in this section include faux fur suppliers, foam suppliers, and links to other tutorials and guides by other artists.

Fursuit and Crafting Resources
A full list of resources for other tutorials and supplies, including fur and foam.
 
Heads
Building a Fursuit Head with Foam
My go-to technique for building the head of a fursuit costume.
Furring
The process of making a pattern with tape and applying fur to a foam shape. See also: "How to Pattern Objects with Tape" below in the detailing & finishing category.
All About Fursuit Heads
Information about foam vs balaclava based fursuit heads and the planning process that goes into it.
All About Fursuit Noses
A detailed guide on different ways to make and attach fursuit noses.
Making a Neck
A technique to make the neck cowl to bridge the gap between your head and shoulders.
Patterning the Neck and Jaw of a Resin-based Fursuit Head
Video guide on patterning a resin-based fursuit head, To allow jaw movement.
Making Toony Eyes
Tutorial on creating and installing flat plastic cartoon eyes by being resourceful
Pushing Expression in Toony Eyes
A tip on pushing expression for your characters.
Design for Suffed Nose with Nostrils
Need nostrils on your sniffer? This design will help you create some for a sewn nose.
Hiding Fur Edges Against Smooth Surfaces
You may need to hide the fur edge against places like noses, eyes, and lips, here's how to do it.
Creating Large Ears & Additional Ear Tips
Position your ears like a pro, get the curve and support you need for your ears.
Fursuit Beaks
Finishing tips for creating a beak for critters that need one!
Lining the Head and Finishing the Mouth
Detailed tutorial on finishing the interior and the mouth of a foam head with sewn teeth and a soft liner.
How to Cut, Carve and Shape Upholstery Foam
A video guide showing useful techniques for working with foam demonstrated using a razor, spring scissors, and normal scissors.

 

Bodies
Making a Fursuit Body
Learn to make a body by starting with a store-bought pattern, edit and fit the "test fabric" custom to yourself, as well as planning and installing a zipper.
Fursuit Body Padding Tutorial
Are digitigrade, unguligrade, or padded plantigrade body features planned in your costume? Learn how to make a custom shaped padded body in this guide.
How to Machine-Sew a Fursuit Zipper
A guide on adding a simple zipper that is compatible with faux fur.
Making a Tail
A great place to get started, plan and execute a tail with some careful observation and this guide.
How to Make a Zip-on Tail
Creating a zip-on tail and the planning involved for a smooth transition.
How to Make Use of a Duct Tape Dummy
So you want a body-double for tailoring yourself or others? Here's how to make use of a DTD in a detailed guide.
Set-in or Raglan Sleeves: What's The Difference?
A body needs a sleeve, this discusses what kind of fit you could get for your shoulder and underarms.
Ending a Zipper
Zippers can be used all over the place in your projects, learn how to make the end neat & tidy with a bit of matching fabric and no glue.

 

Paws
How to Make Basic Handpaws
A beginner technique to make "pancake" style paws using a sew-then-cut technique. Pattern included!
How to Build Footpaws
Utilizing a shoe as a base, this guides you through turning shoes into a cute set of footpaws.
How to Applique Paw Pads Visual Guide
The most up-to-date guide on how to decorate paws with paw pads using an applique sewing technique.
How to Sculpt Claws
A video guide on sculpting claws with oven-bake clay.
How to Applique Paw Pads Video Guide
A video suppliment to the above visual gudie, some techniques have been updated and are noted in the visual guide.
Retractable Fursuit Claw Design
A clever way to create claws that retract like a cat's paw, pushing them out with the wearer's fingers and using elastic to pull them back in.
How to Make Sewn Claws
Video tutorial on creating sewn claws, but also useful for sewing teeth and spikes, too!
Paw Sandal Tutorial
Protect the bottoms of your detailed paw pads with a fun accessory that looks like scaled-up sandals.
Tips for Lining Handpaws
Treating a liner layer as one with the rest of the pattern when you assemble your handpaws can make a great luxury touch.

 

Detailing and Finishing
Aligning Markings in Faux Fur
Tips on lining up markings across seams to get good results every time.
How to Shave Faux Fur
A video tutorial demonstrated on a small plush, showing how to shave faux fur on an already shaped piece.
Battery Operated Fan Tutorial
Is it hot in there? It doesn't have to be with a fan. Assemble a computer fan and a 9 volt battery.
Drybrushing to Add Details to Faux Fur
Paint and blend markings in fur with this technique that simulates the look of airbrushing without special tools.
Adding Whiskers to your Fursuit
One of my favorite touches! Add whiskers for the ultimate cute finishing detail.
Sewing Double Fold (wide) Bias Tape to Finish an Edge
Video guide on sewing wide bias tape. Useful on cuffs, necklines, and anywhere you don't want an edge to stretch.
How to Finish Edges with Single Fold (narrow) Bias Tape
A visual + video guide on utilizing the narrow style, single fold, bias tape.
How to Sew Bias Tape so the Edge is Hidden!
Visual guide useful for the kind of fabrics that may unravel in places you do not want your bias tape to show.
Lycra and Interfacing
A premium combination to prepare lycra for use on areas you want the shine of lycra but need it to be easier to sew.
How to Pattern Objects With Tape
Video tutorial for how to make a pattern out of a full-size model using tape and paper. Useful for making dynamic pattern shapes for anything, costumes, plush, etc.
Adding Yarn to Faux Fur to Change Its Appearance
Use brushed out yarn to make small perminant markings and dots by tying it into the backing of faux fur,
Using a felting needle to add markings
Use a felting needle to install small perminant markings and dots in faux fur.
Shaving Shag Down or Using Short Fur: What's better?
Should I shave? Should I buy short fur? It depends on these factors.
Edge Softening Using a Slicker Brush
Blend those overlapping edges by brushing them out to reduce a hard line appearance.
Hide Shortpile Fur Seams Better: Intentional Trapping Technique
Video guide on a different seam style, to better hide where two pieces of shortpile fur fabric connect to one another.
 Information on Airbrushing Faux Fur
Tips on utilizing an airbrush to paint color on faux fur.
Machine Sewing Small Spots into Faux Fur
This is a video demonstration of how to sew a small spot with a sewing machine.

 

For Beginners
Hand-Sewing for Beginners
Several links to videos of hand-sewing examples.
How Much Fur Do I Need?
The #1 question I get, the steps involved with making your pattern and measuring it to know how much to buy.
Common Fursuit-Related Questions (FAQ)
Many questions I have tagged with #faq so they are in an easy to find place!
Basting Tips
If pinning is cumbersome, try basting. Large stitches utilized in a similar way as pinning.
What is Safe For Marking on Faux Fur when Fursuit Making?
An important test to try yourself before using an untested marking pen.
What to look for when buying swatches and choosing fur.
Swatches are a very important 1st step to buying fur online. How to examine swatches to decide if they will work on your project!

 

Fursuit Maintenance

You created or purchased an amazing costume, how do you keep it nice? Here is some information on that very topic! Testing gives us confidence, so I encourage everyone to use scraps of fur test these maintenance methods so you can see the results and compare for yourself! Check out my #fursuit-maintenance tag on tumblr.

There is a lot of hearsay when it comes to maintaining fursuits, you can find out what works and what doesn't by using scientific method-style experiments to see results for yourself! Cut up a few swatches of scrap fur and save one piece aside as a "control" and test the remaining pieces to your heart's content! What results do you get? Is it what you expected? Share your results!

Comprehensive Tutorial: Fursuit Washing and Care
Covering spot cleaning, washing, drying, washing fursuit heads, faux fur care, replacement parts, between-wash care and a list of supplies.
How to Straighten Crimped Faux Fur
Learn to use heat in a controlled way to straighten fur that has been crimped by improper storage or with use.
Straightening Mongolian Faux Fur
Perminantly change the texture of Mongolian type faux fur with this technique.
Using Heat to Repair Faux Fur
Controlled heat using a handheld hairdrier can restore the texture of faux fur that needs repair.
Patching Fur
Visual guide on making a small patch and sewing it in place to repair a hole in faux fur.
Darning Holes in Faux Fur
Using darning as a technique to close up holes in faux fur's backing.
Fluffing Compacted Stuffing
Make the stuffing in flat tails and plushies soft and fluffy again with this technique, visual & video guide.
Wiping Down Fursuit Parts
A good practice after wearing your fursuit parts, but before putting them away.
Spot Cleaning (en español)
Got a little spot on your costume that needs cleaned up? Check out this tutorial in english or spanish.
Tips on Refurbishing Heads
Info on what tools to use, and other tricks to refurbishing heads.
How to get Hot Glue out of Faux Fur
Oh no! A drip!!! You can get it out, don't worry!

 

Crafts

Fursuits aren't the only thing I am a fan of creating, some guides on making some other goodies to enhance your furry experience!

Props For Your Character
What makes a good prop, exploring prop themes, clothing as a prop, and other aspects of prop creation and use.
Make Your Own Ears
A pattern and tutorial for making your own ears with just faux fur and a few extra notions.
Shrink Plastic Name Tag
Utilize shrink plastic to make a cute prop nametag for your character.
Puff Paint Paw Socks
The ultimate addition to any pair of socks. A really fun craft for anyone!
Paper Fox Army
A step-by-step illustrated guide to fold your own origami foxes.
Anthropomorphic Stuffed Animal Pattern
A pattern collaboration with a friend, This pattern will create a 25-inch plushie with anthropomorphic-style proportions.
Simple Custom Carrying Case Tutorial
Demonstrates making a case for a head, but is also suitable for any object (such as footpaws, props, etc.) that you want to cover for travel or protection.
How to Sew Thumb Hole Cuffs
Create comfortable and cozy cuffs with a thumbhole to add to your kigurumi project, favorite sweatshirt, or other wearable items!
Fursuit Bandanna Tutorial
Here is how I construct fursuit bandannas! This is an especially great way to practice using a sewing machine if you are new at it.
Sewing a Prop from Vinyl
Techniques that can be utilized to make ANY interesting see-through prop using vinyl.

 

Recipes

I love recipes and have decided to share some of my own! Some are edible, some are just useful things! Enjoy! Check out my #recipe tag on tumblr.

Matrices' Favorite Fruit Dessert
A super simple dessert that can be made with fresh or frozen fruit.
Husky Mocha
An iced mocha made with 2 kinds of chocolate.
Fursuit Spray Recipe
Want your character to have its own signature fragrance? Make a simple spray with disinfecting qualities.
 

 

Articles

These are articles about fursuit-related topics without them specifically being a tutorial. My goal is to be informative or thought-provoking in the process. I hope these, and future articles, serve to be both good information to help folks think about the how's and why's of fursuit topics, but also offer a helpful or informative detail about the topic at hand (ok, ok, some how-to stuff might still be included). Check out my #articles tag on tumblr.

Timing and Pricing
Timing yourself is one of the most important steps you can take to figuring out how to price creative works.
Subtlties in Markings
What can certain subtleties do to make a character “read” or “feel” a certain way such as masculine, feminine, or neutral? How to push that in your designs.
Fursuit-ONLY Aesthetics?
A thoughtful article discussing details on characters that may only ever be present on the fursuit version of it, not in the art, certainly not on an animal it is based on… Have you wondered why its like that?
Choosing and Using a Sewing Machine for Fursuit Making
Want to get a sewing machine just for making a fursuit? This article outlines what to look for, as well as how to actually use a sewing machine on fur, what needles to get, and other important usage information.
How to Write a Great Auction (or sales post) For Your Fursuit
A collection of tips on what to include in your auction post, where to get the information it needs, picture taking and advertising tips, and important logistics of the sales and mailing process.

Marketing Yourself In The Furry Fandom
Part One: Introduction and Getting Started
Your online image, pricing, and who to consider advice from when starting out.
Part Two: What it is Like Selling and Advertising
Deciding your limits, exploring sales tactics, keeping your leverage for refunds, and advertising tips.
Part Three: The Concept of Premade (The words you choose to market your work matter)
Marketing yourself by breaking away from tired buzzwords and coming up with ways to elevate your highly creative custom luxury items.

 

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© Sara Howard 2016.