Seeking advice on making an articulated costume tail?

Discussion in 'Make It So' started by Socket, Aug 29, 2017.

  1. Socket

    Socket fuzzy tabletop goblin D&D group are up to a Shenanigan where we're all trying to get costumes together. And I super, super want to make a tail for mine because yay, tieflings. And because I have to go overboard at all times, I'm determined to make it articulated and swishy. Problem is, I am struggling to figure out how to put it together?

    In theory, it's basically a glorified version of one of those snake toys where you hold the tail and it wiggles. Central side-to-side flexible piece to make sure it holds a specific shape (I've sorted the shape that needs to be) and then a bunch of foam segments along it (pool noodle:acquired) to make it rounded.

    But I'm not quite sure how to go about it? Does anyone have any hints n tips on what to make that middle bit out of, or what shape to make the foam bits to make sure they don't jam into one another and make it non-swishy?

    Or just to start going about doing this? I am a tiny baby noob and would appreciate input from anyone who knows stuff about making costume stuff, or even just who is good at visualising how shapes fit together. Because I'm not good at either of those things. xD
  2. Enzel

    Enzel androgynous jrpg protag

    I'm more of a sewing person than a props person but I might have some thoughts. Most I've seen furry tail tutorials which tend to be p much wire base+"sock" made of fake fur, fill it with stuffing.

    In terms of having a base that's strong but flexible and won't wear out from bending, I wonder if that ridged plastic tubing that's used to keep wires organized would work? <this stuff. Like a small diameter version of it. You could put some kind of wire inside of it so you could bend the tail to keep a certain shape if you wanted?

    The only problem i can think of is that it might get crushed from being accidentally sat on. Hm.

    And I guess to make it smooth on the outside, you could make the "sock" out of stretchy fabric to put over the whole thing once the foam is on. You might still get ridges, I wonder if putting some poly stuffing in there would fill in the holes enough but still let the tail be flexible....or even a softer foam, like the stuff that you can squish easily with your hands that comes in packages sometimes.

    Come to think of it, altering sections of pool noodle and squishy foam would make it imitate a spine in structure, which is sort of the idea.

    Green = tube
    Blue = pool noodle
    Purple = squishy foam
    Red = outer sock
    2017-08-29 14.38.11.jpg
    • Informative x 1
  3. Void

    Void on discord. Void#4020

    pretty much yeah i would go about it like that. i'd have a strip of fabric and foam in sort of a similar pattern to how those snake toys work, with the sort of fabric sock that goes over top.

    you'll want to maybe glue your foam pieces down, and carve them to the right shape for the tail.

    tbh, you could actually just use a thick fabric as the sort of base for you to put your foam on, as the foam will hold things in shape and bend just fine. it would literally be building one of those wiggly snake toys but squishier and slightly bigger. and shoved inside a fabric sock thing

    i would go with using foam and fabric because even if sat on, it won't break
    • Informative x 2
  4. Socket

    Socket fuzzy tabletop goblin

    Thank you both, that's really helpful!!

    I've happened upon pretty much a middle point between both of these suggestions - woke up this morning and remembered that cable tidies exist and they're much flexier than wire while still being mainly one-directionally bendy. I'm gonna try making a fabric/foam base for the overall s-curve of the tail, with two pieces, and sew the cable tidy (which seems sturdy enough to hold up to all kinds of bashing-about and VERY swishy) in between the base shape pieces at the top as a kind of 'spine'. Then build the foam pieces onto the base piece like one of those snake toys and hope it holds its shape and stick the whole thing in a lycra 'sock'.

    ....Might have to make a buttplate to make sure it sits at the right angle but I'll jump off that bridge when I come to it. :L

    Thank you thank you thank you! Wish me luck. xD I'll post how it goes!
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