Policies and FAQ

How do I Get a Quote?

You’ll need to provide a good description of your fursuit or partial with reference pictures.  Please see my commissions page for average prices, but every suit is unique.  More expensive materials, detailed markings, extra appendages (such as wings or multiple tails) and more moving parts all add to the cost of your costume.

Reference pictures?

Although I’ve done a limited amount of ref art in the past, it’s a service I no longer offer.  The more you care about getting every detail exact, the better your reference pictures should be.  Consider getting a reference with at least two angles on the body (front and back) and 3 on the head.  If the artist you choose to do your ref is willing, ask them for close-ups of special details, markings, “tattoos” and so on.  I like close-up images of the eyes, as a good guide to painting them right is essential for me.  🙂  Let me know how long any fur or hair on your character is, too, and where.

Yay! I got a quote! Does that mean I have a spot in your queue?

Nope.  But, it does mean that I’m already thinking about your costume because that’s always fun!  😀

What forms of payment do you accept?

After I provide you with a quote, I require a minimum 33% non-refundable payment (or the nearest whole number, rounded up) up front before I’ll start sourcing materials and planning your costume.  This payment also shows that you’re serious and guarantees your spot in the queue.  I hang onto the deposit and other payments until the payment hits the 1/2-way mark, then I go shoppin’ for your materials!  🙂

Finished suits will be released to their buyers only after payment in full is received.  If at any point in this process you stop responding or are unable to send another payment for 90 days from my last request, your order will be automatically cancelled unless you have an amazingly-good reason for an extension: life happens, I know.

Money beyond the first non-refundable 33% payment may be refunded based on individual circumstances.  Folks may have to cancel orders when life gets in the way, so I will do my best to be fair if you’ve been fair with me, but generally, once a suit is over half finished, it becomes non-refundable.

Cancelled orders will be altered to remove any features specific to your character (if reasonably possible) and completed to be sold at auction or they may be scrapped for materials.  I don’t have the space to keep half-completed projects in my studio and I’ll need to re-coup the costs of the time, materials and money spent in making it.

So how do I send you my hard-earned monies?

I’m able to take Paypal and credit card.  For United States orders only, I can also accept personal cheques and money orders but will not start or continue your project until the payment has cleared my bank–this can be slow, so please have patience.

How do you handle shipping?

Buyer pays all shipping costs including tracking/insurance (which I require).  International buyers, please research duty/customs fees and import restrictions in their area ahead of time.  Duty fees are high in some countries and seem to be applied almost at random in others.  Either way, I will not lie on shipping forms to aid in avoiding duty fees.  Also, please be patient–large packages attract the notice of Customs and they will probably hold onto it for a while (fursuits look weird on x-ray, apparently).  Call them often to make sure your item is still there or on it’s way to to you.

I ship from California, USA, using the US Postal Service when possible.  FedEx or UPS can be requested but will be more expensive.

Can I come to you and pick it up to save on shipping?

Sorry, no.  My remote Artificer’s Lair and Laboratory is hidden from the public for good reason.  Speculate as you will, but this dragon likes her privacy.

What about picking it up at a Con?

I do not offer any options for personally delivering your suit.  I only attend two Cons a year and our car is small.  Cramming in someone’s order along with the merch I plan to sell at a Con would be insane.

Hey, Americano!  Where my suit at?  It’s been a month!

Delays in international shipping are beyond my control.  Once the package leaves the United States, I can no longer be responsible for it.  If there is any way to offer international tracking, I’ll try to find it.

How do I get my fabric/suit for repairs, etc, to you?

Use the standard shipping your country’s postal-services use, or whichever is safest for your items.  When shipping things to me, try to avoid packing peanuts that may leave broken bits of Styrofoam woven into your fur and fabric.  Packing-paper works fine and I can recycle it: just put your items in clear, breathable plastic bags (the ones with small holes in them) to protect your stuff.  🙂  Label boxes with a short description of what’s inside to keep the Custom’s Agents at bay and don’t include signature requirements.  I’m  not always home and shipping can be rather random, so it’s something I can’t plan ahead for.

Can someone under 18 order a suit from you?

Sure, but understand that it’s a big responsibility and you might outgrow it.  I suggest waiting until you’re fully grown, or get a partial without the body-suit (head, tail, hands and feet).  Oh, and getting your parent’s permission is probably a good idea.  🙂

What’s a DTD (duct tape dummy)?

It’s a headless”replica” of you made by layering pieces of duct-tape on your body.  I require a duct tape dummy for all full fursuit commissions, but not for partials.  You wear a set of old clothes, layer on two layers of duct tape in short strips, then cut the tape off, tape the seams back together, send it to me, and I’ll stuff it with poly-fill or paper to make a full body duplicate of you that ensures your suit will fit right.  Click here for a good tutorial on making the dummy (Kilcodo makes some adorable toony suits, too).  Here’s a video version for doing a quad suit.  And one for a standing suit.

These vids do give conflicting advice in places (number of layers, long strips vs short ones, tightness), so use your own discretion and what’s comfortable for you.  Obviously, mummifying yourself too tight is going to cut off circulation or breathing, so be nice to your brain-cells and only wrap as tight as say, a bathing-suit would be.

If you don’t wish to sacrifice even old clothes, a cheap painter’s suit works pretty well and they’re available in roomy sizes.  Wear your regular undergarments for comfort while doing this.

Things I need you to do differently, or in addition to the tutorial:

  • Buy quality, name-brand duct tape!  Cheap tape can shift and come apart (the Shuretape brand is horrible–avoid!).  Duck-tape brand and Gorilla tape are both good brands.  You will need approximately three 2″ thick (from the cardboard tube) rolls for the average person.  If you are substantially large, I suggest buying one or two extra, just in case.
  • Tape all the way to the base of your thumb and over the heels of your foot (not over the whole hand or foot).
  • Tape all the way to the base of your neck.
  • Make the tape as tight as is comfortable–as tight as a bathing-suit, if possible.  Even if your suit is meant to be loose fitting, the duct tape is meant to create a duplicate of your actual body size and shape.  I’ll add any needed ease for comfortable movement.
    • For bipedal suits:
      • Stand with your legs shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent when you tape them.
      • Hold your arms straight out to the sides (level with your shoulders), with the elbows bent a bit.  I suggest that, when you tape them, hold ’em out one at a time, or you’ll be in pain in the opposite arm from holding it out so long.  Have some supports available to rest your hands on to make things easier.
    • For quadrupedal suits:
      • Tape your limbs the way you’d stand in the quad suit: your back horizontal, legs vertical (on your feet, not your knees) and shoulder-width apart, and arms straight down.  Rest your hands on something sturdy like a coffee table to get your back horizontal.  The quad suit will come with supports to extend your arms to be as long as your legs.
  • Mark your natural waist-line with permanent, black marker.
  • If you want digitigrade legs, mark the front of your knee and the back of your calf with a 3″ wide circle.
  • If ordering a quad suit, also mark your elbows.
  • After you cut your duct tape off, tape it back together again securely.
    • Your dummy needs to be taped together so I can stuff it.  Having you tape it ensures I won’t be confused by parts mixed up during shipping, parts cut in unexpected ways, or parts not marked as to where the edges should meet.
    • I suggest drawing lines where you intend to cut, then adding Xs across them so that the Xs can be matched up with each other as you tape the pieces back together.
    • If you forget to tape your pieces together, there will be a $25 charge added to your order if I need to do it.

Hands and feet

Hands:

  • Trace an outline of both of your hands on cardstock, fingers spread as wide as you can get them.  Don’t cut out the outline.  Label your hands with your character name and short description.
  • If your character has only 3 or 4 fingers, arrange your fingers the way you want your paws to look, then trace your hands.

Feet:

  • Send me an old pair of clean shoes that you wish embedded within the feet of your character.  Shoes that are broken in enough to be comfortable are best, and they must come up to your ankle and be able to slip on and off without tying them.
  • If opting for the sock-base, trace each foot out on heavy card-stock, labelling them with your sock size (most are marked on the package as 9-11, men’s, but you can find larger ones, if needed, or ladies’ socks if your feet are small), character name and short description.

What won’t you make?  The three big C’s: Copyrighted, Copies & Nasty Concepts…

  • Copyrighted characters (IE: pokemon, Krystal, Toothless, etc).  Cool as they are, I don’t wish to be sued for making money on someone else’s characters.
  • Copies of existing suits without written permission from their owner–I cannot stress that enough!  Claims that they “told” you it was okay will be denied.  Please, please get the owner’s permission in writing if you can.  Also, exact copies are not generally possible, especially if identical materials are no longer available.  Available styles and colours of fur change often.
  • Concepts that defame, mock someone or are offensive in some way, such as a character based on racial, sexual or sexual orientation stereotypes.  I decide what is offensive, and I’m strict about it, too.

Can I change my suit design after paying?

Only if I have not yet begun work on the part you want changed.  I may make exceptions for minor changes that take less than 30 minutes.

I will not normally send you pictures showing the suit as it is constructed.  If you are fanatic about getting every detail exact, we can negotiate an extra fee for me to take extra time to send you progress pictures.  Remember, once material is cut and sewed/glued, it’s used up.  Carefully picking pieces apart always takes longer than connecting them together to keep from destroying the parts or the head underlay, so I do require additional fees to cover materials and reconstruction time if you insist on changes.

Will you lower my quote if I provide materials?

Definitely!  As long as you pay for shipping.  Mention this in your order and we’ll discuss.  I’ll usually discount your suit by $12-$15 a yard, depending on what fabric it is.  If you are crazy enough to get NFT fur, I’ll not only tip my hat to you, sir/madame/other, but I will discount that cost, ‘cuz, holee heck.  >^—^<

It takes roughly 3-4 yards of material, total, for a full suit–and up to three yards more if there is a pattern in the fabric that I have to be careful of (like scales or cheetah spots), or if I need to make”extras” (like wings, or an extra long tail) and I will only discount by what I think the material should cost, not whatever price you actually paid for it.  Still, let me know what you paid for your material and we can talk.  I will reject low-quality materials and you’ll be out the cost of shipping (including return shipping if you want it back).  Trying to save money by buying cheap, low-quality material that comes apart or loses its finish during or soon after construction will not make either of us happy.

Note: stretchy furs are rare and hard to find (unless it’s NFT–that’s always stretchy–I talk about them below), so asking for them will cost me extra time to get it (and you money).  A lot of the stretchy furs are cheaply made, so use the same test you would use on regular fur if you go hunting it yourself.  Also, expect a limited palette of colour and lengths.

How do I decide what’s good fur or not?

Run damp fingers with the pile-direction of your chosen fur.  If more than a few hairs stick to your skin, don’t buy it; it will shed and eventually have balding spots on the heavy-wear areas.  Also, part the hairs to look at the backing.  It should be hard to see through the pile.  If you can easily see the weave through the hairs, the fur is junk–don’t buy it, unless it’s of a type or colour you absolutely need–I’ll try to find ways to keep it’s flaws from being a problem.

For fabrics like scaly vinyls, printed stretch materials and other odd things, I suggest feeling everything you can with your fingers.  If it’s stiff or thick feeling, it will NOT be comfortable to wear and will likely crack over time.  Look for odd areas of blurred colour and stains–some vinyls absorb colours from other materials they touch for long periods.  This is called crocking and you cannot remove the marks–don’t buy that vinyl.  Run your fingers over any metallic prints you like.  If it feels really thin and almost see-through or there’s any sparkly flakes/powder on your fingertips, it’s poor-quality printing and fabric and should be avoided.  Look for a heavier weight spandex instead, the kind used in dance-wear.

Can I have the scraps left over from making my suit?

If I don’t use all the material that you send, I will generally keep it since the suit was discounted for the full value of the material (I do make other things, and can use the material).  If you want the remainder shipped back, you’ll be responsible for the shipping costs.  It will be cheaper if excess material can be shipped in the same container as your suit, so let me know A.S.A.P.

What if I want a specialty fur, like something 4 inches or longer or in a hard-to-find colour?

I’ll have to bite the money bullet (or you do, see discounts above) and order National Fiber Technologies fur, as they’re the only ones I know of who make furs with piles longer than 4″ (they do up to 12″, actually).  Furs come in a crazy number of colours and patterns these days, so finding your colour might not be as hard as you think (some sage or army shades of green are hard, though–dunno why).  But NFT furs are expensive: $40-$70 a square foot, last I saw, so a three yard piece that’s four feet wide-48″- would cost an astounding $480-$840 and this will increase the price of your suit.  Also, it’s backing is a very loose weave that needs to be reinforced with another fabric=extra work for me.

Do you use real fur, leather, claws, or other animal parts?

No.  Real parts fail more quickly than synthetics–leather rots or stiffens and discolours if it’s gotten wet with sweat (salt-stains=yuck!).  If you want props or fursuit clothing made of leather, fur, claws or feathers, this is fine.  I just don’t make your main costume from these materials.  For longevity and ease of care, I suggest using synthetic micro-fibre suede or PVC leather/reptile/ostrich in place of leather and plastic or resin claws in place of real ones.

Be careful what kinds of real animal parts you ask for!  I can get them, but some species are illegal to have in your possession, so do your research!  Eagle feathers, for example, are illegal unless you are a Status Indian and have a Tribal ID.  Get faux eagle made from large goose feathers instead.

Digitigrade, Plantigrade, or Unguligrade?

Unguligrade animals walk on their toes or toe-nails, such as horses, camels, bison, cattle, antelope, swine or deer.  Some have tried to mimic this with feet designed like high-heeled shoes, but this can become quickly uncomfortable and even dangerous so I don’t offer the high-heeled option.  I do make hoofed costumes, but your full foot will be flat or raised a little but braced (think platform shoes) for the sake of safety.  Cool info-nugget of the day: Cetaceans (dolphins, whales) are in the ungulate families, even though they don’t walk on hoofed feet (their “feet” are fins)!  🙂

Plantigrade creatures walk on the whole foot: primates such as humans and gorillas, bears, skunks, weasels, rabbits, raccoons, and rats (though some say they’re digitigrade–call them semi-digitigrade).

Digitigrade animals walk on their toes and the ball of the foot.  This is common amongst predators like wolves and cats, and in birds, with a rear “heel” raised well above the ground when they walk.  This effect can be simulated in a fursuit by adding extra padding to give the appearance of the raised heel on your calves and the forward-projecting, muscular, shorter thigh while you continue to walk on your foot normally, or longish “toes” for birds (I can’t think of a way to simulate the “backward knee” of a bird’s ankle other than hazardous stilts, sorry).  The digitigrade option costs extra and does add a little weight and heat retention to the leg.  The padding will come as separate inserts with Velcro to attach them inside your suit–it makes it easier to wash your body-suit.

What about muscle-suits?

They look like fun!  But, seriously, if I can find a way to make your suit’s “anatomy” look believable, I will.  Proportion is everything with this kind of costume, though.  If you are bulky, or overweight, the “muscle” padding will look… odd, and the effect you wanted will only end up looking silly.  A muscle-suit will mean that there will be an inner layer bonded (sewn) to the surface of your suit.  Cleaning it is going to be a harder job, but poly-fill (what I use) dries quickly.  Just use the same technique for cleaning a non-lined suit.

How long will it take?

Forevaaaarrr!  No, just kidding.  I’m terrible at estimating time but I will give you a general idea: It can take anywhere from a month to two, depending on how much detail is needed for the project.  Lots of fiddly spikes, woven hair or glowing eyes all add to construction time, so take that into account when you ask for a quote: it will be more expensive.  If you want the suit before a particular date that seems realistic to me (at least three months lead time, not including the shipping-time required to get it to you), I will do my best to meet your deadline but I can’t promise it.  Building a fursuit is a large project and every one has a different set of details and challenges that can’t always be predicted.

How do you make your costumes?

It would take too much time out of my schedule to give you a personal tutorial, sorry.  But, there are plenty of tutorials out there.  Do a Google search for “fursuit tutorials” plus whatever it is you’re interested in making.  Also, try things on your own until something works that you’re happy with.  Perhaps, if I’m between major projects, I’ll make a “whatever” head and stream the process!  Suggestions from fans would be awesome, too!  🙂

Do you have a warranty?

Yup.  One calendar year for any damage caused by anything I consider to be my fault.  This includes free repairs/replacement to anything damaged through normal, light use due to design defects or weak seams that I didn’t catch (tight spots like the crotch and armpits often blow first, and claws can be broken off in falls or by hitting a hard surface).  Send good, close-up, and clear pics of any damage so I can check it out.  If it looks like my bad, I will pay standard speed return shipping.  If you would prefer to make repairs yourself or find someone local to you, we may negotiate a partial refund to cover your costs.

If you make alterations to the suit without consulting me or if you attempt repairs on your own that cause additional damage, I can no longer offer you free repairs.

Repairs to damage caused by misuse or accident (falls in suit do happen) can be negotiated for a fee.  None of my repairs include cleaning unless you want to pay extra for the service.

To give you an idea, my first suit was built in 2010 and is still going strong without any needed repairs (he’s only chipped a claw or two).  🙂

Safety and liability disclaimer

Vision: while I do my best to ensure as good vision as I can, fursuits have inherent limitations in what you can see out of them.  You won’t have full peripheral-vision and you often can’t see what’s at your feet or see every obstacle you would otherwise easily avoid.  Having a friend (often called a “handler” or “wrangler”) to help guide you in in close or crowded places, to shoo away hatchlings before they trip you or pull your tail, and to carry your water helps a lot.  Heat: always have water with you!  Fursuits will cause you to overheat and sweat a lot, so take breaks and drink more than you think you need to.  Heat-stroke and dehydration are no fun when all you want is to have a good time at Cons.  🙂

I cannot be held responsible for any accidents caused by wearing the fursuit I create for you, whether or not there is any defect in its construction (see the warranty section), but I will be cautious in my engineering in hopes of minimizing any risks.

Do you line your suits?

No, it adds too much insulation and can make the suit unwearable (heat).  But, that said, if you get a dive-skin or Underarmor, it wicks away moisture from your skin and actually helps keep you cooler.  It also keeps skin oils from getting into your suit fabric, making it easier to keep clean.

Allergen warnings:

Your commission will come from a smoke-free home.  But, I do have a little grey cat who likes to “help” when I work.  If allergies are a problem, please let me know and I will ensure she doesn’t come near your materials.  Everything will be gently vacuumed before shipping, too, as it is impossible to keep dust out of anything up here in the mountains.  I purchase everything new, so no nasties should be on your fur.  I use hot-glue and sometimes a mold-able plastic called Instamorph, both non-toxic, and any resin parts I use in the construction of your costume are considered safe once cured.

Can I wash my suit?

Yes!  Please don’t be that guy/gal who wafts that certain “perfume” at Cons!  Your costume should be treated as the work of art it is, meaning, be nice to it, keep it clean, and keep it in a well-ventilated area when not in use–no cramming the poor thing into a crate and leaving it there for months!  <3  Gently hand wash, roll in a towel and press out the excess water, then air dry and brush out the fur with a slicker brush afterwards to keep the pile neat and fluffy.  Do not use a household tumble-dryer with heat that could melt and damage synthetic fur or other parts!  If your suit is relatively simple in design (no spikes or other odd bits), it should be possible to machine-wash your body-suit and hand-paws: turn them inside out to protect the fur, and wash them in the “delicates” cycle with cold water with soap designed for delicate fabrics.  Do NOT machine-wash your head, tail or feet-paws!  Use spot-cleaners for fabrics or carpets instead and/or vacuum the interior of your head with a hand-vac, then spray an anti-bacterial such as Enbac inside and let it air dry.

This article discusses some good washing and drying techniques (except for hanging–I suggest laying your suit flat on a rack, outside in the shade, if possible).  I personally don’t recommend dry-cleaning: many dry-cleaners might not know what to do with a fursuit and paying a high price and risking the cleaner damaging the suit just doesn’t seem reasonable to me.  Some of the chemicals they use could be allergens, too.  Running a hose into the head or body of your just-washed suit (right-side out and on a sturdy rack) and using a cool fan to pump air into it works well and shouldn’t damage anything.

I also suggest using an anti-bacterial spray like Enbac to keep down odours.  Avoid things like Febreeze.  They might smell nice, but they can be toxic to your pets.  You also might have allergic reactions to them.  No amount of Enbac will replace a good cleaning, though.  After an event, try to clean your suit as soon as possible to avoid sweat, bacteria and/or molds building up in your investment.

But, how can I clean my paws or head?

For spot-cleaning on the non-machine-washable parts, Beastcub, of Beastcub Creations suggests a cleaner called Oxy Magic, by Clorox.  She has a photo on her care page where it shows her unicorn’s front legs, one dirty grey, the other pristine white.  This seems like a possible option for hand-cleaning the outside of parts that cannot be laundered, such as your head.  🙂  Go here to see the results: http://www.beastcub.com/caresheetfaq.htm  BTW, she does beautiful work, too.  🙂  Or try Nature’s Magic enzyme cleaner, or other carpet-cleaner that is rated for natural fibres (it won’t be as harsh as other industrial cleaners).  Check labels to make sure it isn’t something you’re allergic to, or something that will bleach your fur!

Can I ignore Physics?

No way.  Ferggeddaboutit.  Seriously.  If you want moving wings, great, but I will not make them so enormous you can’t walk through a door unless they can fold reasonably quickly.  If you want an extra long tail, I can certainly accommodate you.  But if you want it fifteen feet long, expect to wear at least two harnesses to carry that sucker–one at your waist and one on your torso.  It’ll also be heavy, even if it’s filled with an air-bladder.  So would those wings, no matter what I made them out of.  Total mass might be only six or seven pounds each wing, or for that whole tail, but remember, it’s on a cantilever, meaning it’s apparent “weight” will be increased at the far ends and messing with your centre of balance.  Expect to trip a lot until you get used to moving around in it…

In other words, Physics can be your friend if you keep in mind it’s very strict rules.  Otherwise, you will go to hell.  Really.  The Physics “Hell of Uncomfortable Costumes That You Can’t Wear For Beans Because You Collapse In Misery Within A Few Minutes” type of hell.  I can’t be held responsible for any lab-coat-wearing devils that come for you if you don’t listen to me.  You Have Been Waaaarrrrned.  >;-)