The Project thus far… (Duct Tape Armor)

So for the record, I began the Project a week ago on March 22. However, I started “researching” it for about a week before that. As I turns out, there is very little material on the internet as to how a young woman in an apartment with no tools is supposed to go about making armor. But as armor is expensive to come by and nothing out there looked remotely like what Ari is supposed to wear (I’ll post a pic when I can!) I decided to do it myself.
At one point, I was considering paper mache. But then I thought to myself, “How would I do that? It’s not like I can make a mold of myself and I’m certainly not willing to lie here with paper mache ick all over myself while it dries!”
In this thought process, I actually came across an interesting tutorial for making a “form” of yourself out of duct tape. It actually came up tagged as “duct tape” armor, which was why I was intrigued.
In the tutorial, the woman was actually trying to make a pattern for a bustier/corset by wrapping herself in duct tape and then cutting it off, rather than actually measuring out a pattern. I thought this was ingenious. And so, I made my first pilgrimage to Home Depot and bought two rolls of duct tape (which was way too much, by the way. If you do this, you should only need one). The tutorial also said to get a tight-fitting shirt so that the duct tape has something to stick to. So I ended up at Old Navy in the little girl’s section buying an XL tshirt because this was actually cheaper to do than finding anything in their women’s clearance section!
I’ll try and get pictures up of the next process, but this is basically what happened:
I live with my boyfriend, so he helped me with the “duct tape armor.” I put on a tight fitting sports bra (since I’m rather “endowed” and didn’t want to end up with armor that looked too fantasy/bikini armor-like) and the shirt, and we began to mark out where he should wrap with the duct tape. The breastplate I’m attempting to make is only a bustier-type size, so it only needed to go to the bottom of my ribcage. We marked it out on the shirt and away we went.
After the first spin around, I found it rather difficult to breathe. We began from the bottom of my ribs and planned to work up. If someone helps you do this, maybe consider telling the person to go easy on the wrapping. From there, we worked out way up past my chest all the way up to my sternum. We began on the front of my body first with particular emphasis on the chest area, since I figured that duct tape isn’t that strong and would probably collapse after we took it off if it wasn’t too well-formed. The armor needed to come to a point “^” up by my collar bone, so we worked the duct tape up in that manner and left my shoulders alone, which are bare for Ari. Then, we added duct tape to the back.
By the time this was done, I looked rather silly but it was really need to actually “see” what I was going to look like. However, I was feeling light-headed and we really needed to cut it off. We got rid of the scrap pieces first (ie, the arms, the midriff, the shoulders) and it was painful to hear a nice shirt being cut away. But it was for a good cause. And then, we used a Sharpie to mark where my boyfriend would need to cut along the sides. Imploring him to cut very carefully, he began at the bottom and I sucked in my ribcage as much as I could so that he wouldn’t cut me or my sports bra.
And viola! I ended up with a shell of myself!
That night, I took some measurements and ended up cutting the mass of duct tape down into a more refined and final shape. While I should note at this point that the duct tape armor shell is still just sitting around at this point even though I’ve moved on to metal working, I think it really helped me to see what I had to do insofar as the metal. In fact, when I chronicle my first failed metal attempt you’ll see that I tried to use the duct tape shell.
But if anyone’s interested in the duct tape armor thing, I think its best application would be to use it as a form for paper mache. Maybe you could weave some strips of wire in there for support or maybe even some wire mesh? Because I was right: the silly form does collapse rather easily!

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