Help me make a batch of cheap bodies
April 26, 2007 11:57 PM   Subscribe

What would be the best and cheapest way for me to make something like this?

I'm wanting to make at least 10 of these bodies. So far I've thought that I could put them together with a mixture of cardboard and garbage bags but I want to open myself to other suggestions.

The cheaper the better, the 'bodies' would only be out for a day and at this point I don't have plans on keeping them, as leaving them lying around the house would seriously freak me out.

Of course, the picture belongs to Mark Jenkins, who has an amazing series of street art. Check out his stuff here.

Thanks MeFi!
posted by 913 to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Cut some heads off some people? ...or blow up dolls.
posted by thebrokenmuse at 12:02 AM on April 27, 2007

chicken wire over some kind of wooden frame? I think that's where I would start.
posted by stray at 1:58 AM on April 27, 2007

Probably a wood or pvc pipe armature, and judging from his other work it looks like he uses a crapload of tape.
posted by pg at 2:33 AM on April 27, 2007

Yeah... maybe a frame of pvc pipe or wood dowels--probably wrapped in something to fill out the clothes (you could go to a fabric store and get something cheap--either fabric or actual stuffing/filling, like for pillows. More realistic than using newspaper).
posted by Many bubbles at 3:02 AM on April 27, 2007

Hm... on second thought scratch "fabric". It'd be a pain to wrap it around enough to fill it out properly (and expensive) and probably unnatural-looking to crumple it. Definitely stuffing, quilt batting, something like that.
posted by Many bubbles at 3:08 AM on April 27, 2007

...Last one, I promise. And depending on what you wanted to do with them, you could also fill them out with packing peanuts, although then you'll need to tape the openings or something so they don't fall out.
posted by Many bubbles at 3:10 AM on April 27, 2007

Looks like most of his bodies are made from tape. I would start with rolled pieces of cardboard for arms, legs, torso, etc. and then go crazy with the tape to sculpt and get the look right.
posted by gfrobe at 4:00 AM on April 27, 2007

Find a friend (or several friends) who are willing to be your models.

Go to the thrift store and buy a snug-fitting, long-sleeved shirt and a slightly too small pair of pants. Purchase duct tape, five rolls per person should be adequate.

Have your friend put on their new outfit and pose for you. Wrap them in several layers of duct tape until the tape shell is thick enough to hold its own shape. If you use another friend to stand on the other side of the model and pass the tape back and forth, this will get done much faster.

Now you will have a model encased in a duct tape shell from their neck to their heels. Cut off the shell along with the thrift store clothes underneath. Thank your underwear-clad model.

Stuff your shell with newspaper and reinforce with wooden dowels from the hardware store. Sew up the seams that you cut with a needle and waxed dental floss. Dress. Pose.
posted by Alison at 5:11 AM on April 27, 2007

If you don't need them to stand up, like the pic, you can stuff rolled-up newspapers into pantyhose and put the waistbands of the hose together.
posted by notsnot at 5:15 AM on April 27, 2007

The artist is Mark Jenkins and I believe he has instructions on his website. Wrap your leg in plastic wrap then wrap that in a couple of layers of packing tape. Use scissors to cut a slit and slide it off and then repair the slit with more tape. Voila!
posted by comiddle at 5:37 AM on April 27, 2007 [3 favorites]

I've used fallen leaves to fill out clothes (especially for figures on a porch for halloween); wrong time of year for it, though. Like packing peanuts, you'll have to figure out a way to keep them in, and like newspaper, you'll need a structure of some sort to make leaf-filled figures stand.
posted by msbrauer at 6:04 AM on April 27, 2007

Block styrene or styrofoam. If you are a good scavenger you can find this stuff in shipping crates at dumpsters around businesses. You will still need some type of heavy wire as a skeleton.
posted by JJ86 at 6:08 AM on April 27, 2007

I suggest filling your tape with skeleton and cheap Polyurethane foam
posted by Megafly at 11:32 AM on April 27, 2007

Paper Mache and the aforementioned blowup doll as a form? Cut a hole and remove the the blowup, then fill it out with Expanding bipart foam if that's not durable enough.
posted by Orb2069 at 7:32 PM on April 27, 2007

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