Simple ideas on how to not overheat (with your head on)?

Discussion in 'Fursuiting and Costuming' started by carolioness, Feb 1, 2017.

  1. carolioness

    carolioness New Member

    Hi everyone!
    I'm currently challenging myself by building my first (realistic-like) fursuit. (yee-haw!)
    As I'm quite new to the fandom and especially to building fursuits, I'm still trying to find the best ways to make stuff. There are hundreds of tutorials online (which is absolutely great!) but there's one thing I'm still quite doubtful about:
    I can imagine that being in a fursuit can be extremely hot. I want to finish the suit for a fantasy/cosplay festival that's coming up and I will have to wear it all day there. Even though the fesitval is held outside: I can still imagine that one could overheat quite easily. I know from experience that my body isn't too capable of very hot situations, so because of that and it being my first suit experience; I want to play as safe as possible.

    The suit itself will probably be bearable; I've so far done padding to create digitigrade legs, but the body itself will just be fur, and I guess that won't be too extreme. The head however, might be a problem...
    Before I decided to make a full suit, I was thinking about a half-mask covered in fur (like those Venetian masks, you know?) but it somehow itches to make a complete head. I've tried making a base with foam but wearing that base only for 5 minutes already was quite hot, as your head produces quite some heat itself and foam won't breathe at all so just keeps it all in. So I'm not sure if that's a good idea for that 'whole day of wearing it' festival... The foam was mainly the problem in this case; the parts that weren't covered din't feel overheated.
    I've also read about fans installed in muzzles but I'm not sure if I fancy that (also because I don't want to spend too much money -and- it is my first suit so I'm not sure how it will actually work out. ;p let alone if I'd install electronics in it)...

    So: I was thinking about making my base mainly out of paper mache and cover that with fur, so I would have no foam in my face. (in this case, I would need to find a way to make paper mache waterproof, because that'll be safer). But I'm not sure if that won't be too hot or if that would at all be comfortable... Hng... I can't seem to find the perfect solution yet. So my question to you basically is:

    Has anyone ever made an animal mask/head that was bearable/(semi)comfortable to wear all day and still looked good with a body suit?

    Like: a half-mask maybe? One with open bits? Open eyes? Different materials inside? Who can help?!
    One good thing is that I'm making a feline suit, so the nose doesn't have to be huge to create the right shape. :rolleyes:

    Anyone who can help? I'll thank you endlessly!
  2. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Well-Known Member

    There are a few ways not to, hydrate frequently, take breaks frequently (usually 15 - 20 minutes at a time in full suit in hot conditions), make use of AC units, design a head with an open static mouth and built in fan, use underarmor. Most of all, know your limits. Dehydration happens before you're aware of it in suit.
  3. Kellan Meig'h

    Kellan Meig'h Kilted Coder

    Paper mache is NOT an appropriate material for mask making. This fact cannot be stressed enough. It will become soggy and it will mold/mildew. You would be better off spending a bit more for a resin mask base. If you decide to go foam base, you will need a fan and/or ventilation holes in the mask.

    When in suit, either you or your handler will need to carry some water that you need to drink regularly. Dehydration is no fun at all.
    Arcturus Maple likes this.
  4. carolioness

    carolioness New Member

    Ah okay, thanks for warning me about the paper maché. I saw people making mask bases out of it (for other costumes than fursuits, but still) so good to know that that is a bad idea... ;-) Resin could work maybe! Should have to find out how to work with it but that must be possible...

    Oh btw - I've also seen people make masks out of plaster... If there's a way to seal it so it will be water resistant, could that maybe work as well for a base?
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017
  5. Kellan Meig'h

    Kellan Meig'h Kilted Coder

    Um, no. If you thought paper mache was a bad idea, well, guess what?

    Plaster bandages don't have much structural integrity when laid up thin for a mask and if you make it thick enough to be sturdy, it's too heavy. No bueno.

    There are several sources for resin mask blanks and if you're up to a challenge, make a resin mask from a resin based negative mould pulled from a Roma Plastilina clay sculpt. Tutorials can be found on the Intarwebs.
  6. I've got some suggestions!

    Here's a tutorial on making small, battery operated fans to go inside of heads-
    You can also buy cooling vests/wraps! There are different kinds, some you stick in a freezer for a few hours, others you put ice or water in, but they fit under your fursuit and keep you cool that way. The vests are literal vests for keeping your torso from overheating but they also have just wraps for like...around your neck and such.
    Another tip would be to wear moisture wicking layers under the fursuit, that'll help a lot.

    All those saved my life when we were doing a Bioshock cosplay run a few years back. I made Songbird, and there were so many layers of leather + the heavy mechanical wings and the circuitry inside to make the eyes glow that I would have gotten heat stroke in no time without the fan and cooling vest.

    Certainly agree with the above- staying hydrated is really important. Take frequent breaks and drink lots of water
  7. Kellan Meig'h

    Kellan Meig'h Kilted Coder

    You don't have to get fancy with small computer fans. They will run off of a 9V battery and if yo use rechargeable ones you're only out the cost once. Even a very small one will do a lot of good for air flow through a mask.

    To really stay cool, buy one of these; EZCooldown Performers Vest

    You can't match the performance of one of these vests with any of those alexipress POS substitutes. Yeah, it's pricey but I used one at the last con I attended wearing The Old Warhorse Ver 1. I swapped out the PCM inserts in the vest half-way through the day and I was still going strong that night. Warhorse tested, Momma Tigress approved. Do not let anyone tell you their vest is just as good because it's not true. Been there, done that. I'm buying one before Further Confusion 2018 comes around.
  8. carolioness

    carolioness New Member

    Thanks for the tips!

    Some good news for me; two friends of mine appeared to have quite some resin left from a DIY project they recently finished, so I borrowed their stuff and can use what I need. I'll be kind and pay them something for it, but it still saves me quite some money!
    I also came across stuff called Varaform - also looks kind of cool! (And it is mesh, so it will 'breathe' a little more than resin.) But myeah, it's pretty hard to get around here so I might try the resin first... I'm thinking about making some holes in it so some heat will at least be able to escape... I noticed the 3d-prined masks have holes, so why not add 'em to a resin base?

    Has anyone on here done a mask with resin + fiberglass, btw? Seems to be a little easier as you wouldn't necessarily have to make the silicone (negative) mold... If so; any more tips on that?
  9. Kellan Meig'h

    Kellan Meig'h Kilted Coder

    So you found out about Hexcelite, did you? Um it's okay but keep in mind it will reform if you leave it out in the sun or in a hot car. Yeah. 43 inch wide pieces for $43 USD a yard.

    Douglas and Sturgess: Light Varaform, yd.

    As far as resin goes, you can put holes in it for ventilation. I have worked with fiberglass/epoxyglass but you would still need a negative mould to work inside of or a positive to work over the outside to create a shell. Either way, you need to work this stuff outside - toxic fumes either way. Typical resin is polyester but I prefer epoxy, after building a few stitch and glue boats. The plywood is cut out, holes drilled and copper wire stitches it together. All of the joints are then covered with a layer or two of fiberglass and some epoxy. Thickened epoxy then is filleted in to the inside of each joint. Makes an ultra strong boat.

    West system epoxy or the newer Silvertip epoxy are my choices but it has to be for this use. Common epoxy is a glue, not suited for epoxyglass. Douglas and Sturgess have their house brand of epoxy;

    Douglas and Sturgess: Epoxy Resins - Sets

    I would use the thinnest fiberglass cloth I could find for this. Hit up a Tap Plastics or a boat shop.
  10. carolioness

    carolioness New Member

    They do sell smaller pieces in online shops here, obviously for less money, but shipping costs make it twice as expensive (still cheaper than $43 tho). But as I'm not quite sure how well this will work for my idea, I might just try the resin now and make some holes in it.

    Yeah - think that's what I mean; you can work with only the positive mold. Whereas you'd need to make both a positive and a negative one if you'd want to pour the resin in a negative mold... Anyhoo; the stuff I got from those friends is epoxy resin, so that's cool. Still need a place to find thin fiberglass... My father had some in the basement but that stuff was too thick. The art supply store here sadly ran out of it and weren't sure about delivery... So let's see if there are any boat stores around here... ;-) (and otherwise; the internet is my friend)
  11. Kellan Meig'h

    Kellan Meig'h Kilted Coder

  12. Keefur

    Keefur aka Cutter Cat

    I built my fursuit head over a kickboxing head gear. You can pick you size and the thing costs less than $20. You make a bridge across the front with plastic mesh cloth and attach the muzzle to that. I cut off the ear protection foam. The upside is that it is made to allow ventilation and after you wear it, you can just wipe it out with something that kills bacteria and it stays fresh. The down side is that the foam is dipped and where it touches you, it instantly causes sweat. It also is a bit heavy because the foam is denser. By Cats For Cats used to make his heads like this. I don't know if he still does as I haven't inspected any of his work recently. If you look in my gallery, you can see a couple of pics of my head in progress. It is a Sabertooth and I had to make a metal piece to hold the saber teeth that were cast resin from a mold made from real saber teeth. The suit is about 7 years old now and still going.
  13. carolioness

    carolioness New Member

    Looks cool, @Keefur ! Seems like quite a nice idea to build a head out of such a mask. :) I didn't even know they existed.

    And to update this post: I've recently finished the fiberglass resin base! Now all I need to do is make a proper head of it. :rolleyes:
  14. Keefur

    Keefur aka Cutter Cat

    Drop me a note and let me know how it goes. Even though I haven't posted a lot on the forums, I've been around the Fandom for a while. :)
  15. Crimson_Steel17

    Crimson_Steel17 The night is my solace; the day is my prime

    Okay, confession time: I wore my Middle School's mascot suit. I know- GASP!- but it was essential, and it was like $5 a game because they couldn't get anyone to do it. My favorite part? The battery powered fan in the head. That thing was nice, and I was the only person at the game with my own personal air conditioning (if the term is applied extremely liberally). Definitely consider it.

    BTW, everyone is right: those are God-awful materials for suit construction. If you (the OP) would care to peruse the sticky area of the forum, the mods have stickied a comprehensive list of appropriate materials for fursuits.

    Have fun, and happy building!
  16. Keeroh

    Keeroh Shinies Snatcher

    Fursuit in the snow. Otherwise, your best bet is to substitute foam for mesh wherever possible. Plastic mesh. For the love of god though, NO PAPER MACHE.
    It's solid. It's hard. It'll get moldy with how much humidity is going on in there. If you waterproof it, the waterproofing will leech into your skin and das no good. Just cut out huge swaths of the head (ideally on the top, near the fursuits ears) and replace whatever you can with mesh. It wont be the most comfy if someone pets you, but it'll vent. The fans people talk about? REALLY not expensive. If you go to, they have pre-assembled fans with battery packs for ~25 bucks. If you wanted to DIY it, a CPU fan is like 10.. maybe 15 bucks. You just gotta find a way to shove power to it. A fan in the muzzle to circulate the air out of your head will do wonders.

    But seriously, no paper mache. You'd die.
  17. Alex K

    Alex K Guest

    Just put some dry ice on it and you'll be as cool as an ice cream cone in no time
  18. Kellan Meig'h

    Kellan Meig'h Kilted Coder

    Any small computer fan will run off of a 9v battery. Not at full speed but it will run. Buy a few rechargeable 9v, enough to have a set charging while you're out using the others in your fursuit head and a charger, you're set. The little sockets for 9v batteries are cheap enough to have spares on hand.

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