Working with Faux/ Fake fur FAQ

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#1 Koisnake on 10 years ago

Looks like faux fur is one of the many fabrics used to make cosplay costumes. Sadly, I see most people use it the wrong way, cut it wrong, or simply purchase the wrong stuff. I decided to create a resource and FAQ list to help you all to shed your fear on using faux fur.

[b]Great places to purchase faux fur[/b]
[URL="http://syfabrics.com/Browse.aspx?CategoryID=183"]SyFabrics[/URL]
[URL="http://www.distinctivefabric.com/category.php?cat=LONGFUR"]Distinctive Fabrics[/URL]
[URL="http://www.crscraft.com/products/vProduct2.asp?pid=Fur&L1=2&L2=13&L3=0&L4=0&V2=1&V3=0&V4=0&cat=bear+supplies&sub=Fabrics&class="]Crs Crafts[/URL] NOTE: AVOID buying the Fun fur!!
[URL="http://imstuffedfur.com/"]I'm stuffed Fur[/URL]

[b]What is Fun Fur[/b]?
This is the lowest of the low when it comes to quality of faux fur. Its nasty, course, and just plain icky. Its so thin, that if you put it up to a light, you can see through the backing. It doesn't even look and feel like real fur! Sure, its inexpensive, but you will truly regret buying it. I would avoid buying this at all cost, unless you want to work cheap.

[b]How do I cut fur[/b]?
When cutting fur, your trying not to get the 'shaved' effect. This can easily be done. When cutting fur, remember to cut only the backing, not the fur! To do this, simply slip scissors under the backing and began to cut. If your scissors jams, that means your not cutting correctly and cutting the fur.

The best way to cut fur is with a razor blade. Its much more easier than scissors and can give you nice, clean affects. When cutting fur, simply use enough pressure on the blade to cut the fur backing. Be sure not to press too hard or you'll shave the fur.

Here is a helpful tutorial on how to cut fur with scissors.
[url]http://s19.photobucket.com/albums/b181/thegreenmooseofdoom/?action=view&current=MVI_2380.flv[/url]

Make sure your fur is running the right direction before you cut. Its wise to mark the backing with a arrow going down when you find the direction of the fur.

[b]How do I sew fur[/b]?
Its quite simple. If you want to sew two pieces of fur together, tuck the fur fibers in and sew. If fur gets stuck in the seams, you can comb them out with a Slicker Brush, comb or hook them out with a sewing needle.

Remember, when sewing fur you have to have a seam allowance.

[b]What kind of thread and needles should I use?[/b]
Personally, I use all-purpose thread and I didn't run into any problems yet. However, I reccommend a stronger thread for sewing bodysuits, known as heavy-duty or upholstery thread. As for needles for hand sewing, standard needles will do, though curved needles can make hiding seams easier and sewing tight place (like heads). For machines, I'd suggest a denim/heavy fabric needle. Be forewarned that you will get snapping needles, so be sure to stock up!

[b]How much do I expect to pay for fur[/b]?
Usually fur runs around $20 a yard. The sites I've listed about are very reliable sources to purchase fur. Be sure to plan your project before purchasing fur. You do not want to buy too little fur, or too much. Although, having extra fur can help a lot on repairs.


[b]How do I wash fur[/b]?
There is numerous ways on washing fur. You can spot clean with water and fabric cleaner, and allow to air dry. Or, you can throw it in the washer in a GENTLE setting. When drying, NEVER EVER use heat. This will melt the fur, since its basically plastic. The safest method is to allow it to air dry. If you must use the dry cleaner, do not use heat as a setting, just allow it to tumble.

[b]Can I dye fur?[/b]
YES. After some research and experiments, I found out that RIT DYE can work for dying fur effectively. When dying your fur, do NOT use boiling water, or you will melt the fur! Simply use hot water (not 'burning'), and allow the fur to sit in the Rit Dye 'bath' for about 30 minutes (or longer, I only tested this on samples of fur). Wring all the water out, brush (since the fur is nappy), and allow to dry. Once dry, water down the fur until the water runs clear, then allow to dry once more and brush until soft. Although this is not a permanent dye, it lasts long and is great for those hard to get colors.

You can also 'coat' the fur in a different color. The best method is to air brush the fur with an air brush kit. However, complete air brush kits with compressors will cost you a good $150 or higher. Click [URL="http://www.prefurs.com/articles/Faux-fur-colorizing.htm"]here[/URL] for a how-to on air brushing faux fur.

You can also 'Dry Brush' your fur. This means getting heavily watered down acrylic paint and brushing it over your fur in small amounts (a toothbrush can work). When you are finished, get a hair dryer and began to dry the fur as much as you can. When it is completely dry, you'll notice that it will be alittle hard. With a comb, begin to brush away at the fur to soften it.

[b]How much do I need?[/b]
For someone like Matt from Death Note, Kiba from Naruto and the like, a simply yard can do it, even a half a yard. For a fur coat, I would say around 3 yards, to be on the safe side. If you would like a fursuit, buy around 4-8 yards, depending on your size. I am 5 foot 3, and 103 pounds, so I only need 4 1/2 yards of fur for a fursuit. For plush toys, you can use as little as 1/2 a yard. but 1 yard to be on the safe side once more.

[b]Does Faux Fur shed?[/b]
Not really. Unlike real fur, faux fur doesn't shed and grow new fur. It will occasionally shed, but not nearly as bad as an actual animal.

But, they do shed when you cut the fur. No matter what, some fur will get loose when you cut in the backing. When your all done with cutting, get a fine comb and began to brush the edges to remove access fur. This will prevent fur flying around the room and getting everywhere. A vacuum is also a good technique, especially if you're shaving fur with a dog shaver.

[b]What kind of lengths are there for faux fur?[/b]
There are simple terms used for faux fur. Seal fur is very very short fur, resembling a seal's fur (der). Short pile fur is about 1 inch long, or more. Medium pile fur is around 1 1/2 inches long, and Long Pile can range from 2-4 inches long. 4 inch fur is very rare.

[b]How can I make a mascot/ fursuit?[/b]
The following thread is all about discussing the art of mascoting, as well as helping others who may have questions. The first post has tutorials on basic construction on mascoting.
[url]http://www.cosplay.com/showthread.php?t=144272[/url]

Feel free to ask any questions if you can't find the one you are looking for an answer for.

#2 Thevina on 10 years ago

Thanks for the tips!!! Off to shop for Yoshi Costume!

#3 Koisnake on 10 years ago

Glad to help :) I will be uploading my own video fur and fursuit tutorial soon, so keep an eye for that.

#4 phantomthief on 10 years ago

And have a vacuum handy when working with the super long stuff... My favorite furs are 3 and 4 inches in pile length (DF's solid long and sparkle fur respectively) and turn my room into a fzz ball ^.^;

I also like to take a fine tooth comb and brush over the the cut end of the fur whenever I cut out the pieces I need to get all the loose stuff out to minimize shedding.

~Ari

#5 Koisnake on 10 years ago

Ah, thats exactly what I do, forgot to put that there. I actually just grab the loose fur when I got the fur, removing it (just did it yesterday when I was making a Ratchet Tail)

But I'll go add that, totally forgot.

And yes, DF long pile fur is my favorite to work with :)

#6 EelKat on 10 years ago

I'm looking for something that looks like real fur, possibly an arctic fox tail look or a Mongolian sheepskin look or alpaca wool or possibly yak hair . The pile is quite long and very fluffy and the color is a ecru or cream color.

I would prefer real fur, but only if it's sheared and not skinned. I tried Googeling for this, but all I could find was either skins (ICK!) or bags of sheared wool. I had heard that yak hair, Mongolian sheep wool, and alpaca wool are sometimes sold knitted or woven into a fur fabric, used for making fur costumes in movies (the Grinch was said to be made like this, using yak hair dyed green). I would really like to find a place that sells this type of fur fabric, but so far none of my searches have turned up anything. Do you know where this type of fur can be bought?

(P.S. I have a coat trimmed with Mongolian sheepskin [real fur] and it's a super soft, super fluffy 6" pile, with a "twisted" kinky "dreadlock" texture to it. This is what I am looking for...either the real thing, or a faux one that looks and feels like the real thing.)

#7 DlGlT on 10 years ago

I have no idea about these sites but either have fake mongolian wool or fake fox fur (or both)

[url]http://www.mendels.com/fur2.shtml[/url]

[url]http://www.fabrichut.com/vcart/itemblock/?itemblock=817[/url]

Have you tried ebay? Sometimes(most of the time) you can find fake tibetten or mongolian area rugs that are a fraction of what it would cost to purchase it as a length of fabric.

#8 Pantsu_chan on 10 years ago

I would also suggest ebay...some sellers have full pelts you can buy. I purchased a few raccoon tails and some raccoon fur pieces last year and there were a bunch of different pelts available at that time.

#9 DlGlT on 10 years ago

[QUOTE=vinylgrrl;2473432]I would also suggest ebay...some sellers have full pelts you can buy. I purchased a few raccoon tails and some raccoon fur pieces last year and there were a bunch of different pelts available at that time.[/QUOTE]

They claimed they didn't want to use skins...which are pelts.

Though once again, ebay <3

#10 Pantsu_chan on 10 years ago

^ Right, but if you want REAL fur, there's no way you're going to be able to get it without a skin backing...since sheared fur would essentially be a pile of fluff (a la sheep's wool) and utterly useless for making Sesshomaru's big fluffy shoulder thing.

I've also found some 3" pile faux fur on ebay that looks real (silver wolf fur, see my YamaPi costume in my gallery), so again ebay is the way to go.

#11 phantomthief on 10 years ago

If you trust Koisnake and I, probably the best faux-fur around under $50 a yard is DistinctiveFabric.com's Long pie solid fur. The stuff looks and feels amaaaaaazing! $20 a yard and there's a 25% off coupon on their site until the 15th of this month :)

~Ari

#12 DlGlT on 10 years ago

Thirding distinctive fabrics. If you want to test a bunch of their fur and choose which one you like best they have a thing where you can get 10 free sample swatches, all you have to do is join.

(I actually forgot all about that site....whoops.)

#13 Crazy Flower on 10 years ago

I happen to be in love with the minky beaver fur from syfabrics. It's so soft, I want to hug it.

Would an xacto knife work as well as a razor for cutting fur?

#14 Koisnake on 10 years ago

[QUOTE=Crazy Flower;2475239]
Would an xacto knife work as well as a razor for cutting fur?[/QUOTE]

Never tried it before but I know you can defiently use it to carve details into foam. But it does look promising.

#15 phantomthief on 10 years ago

[QUOTE=Crazy Flower;2475239]I happen to be in love with the minky beaver fur from syfabrics. It's so soft, I want to hug it.

Would an xacto knife work as well as a razor for cutting fur?[/QUOTE]

I use a box cutter XD

Same concept, so it should be just fine :)

~Ari