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Duct Tape Nerd Life

Here I am wandering around at a New Year's party when this big pink dress goes by. I have to do a double take because my mind cannot believe what I just saw. The dress is made entirely out of duct tape. Selea Nielsen has been collecting rolls of duct tape since her middle school years and started making small items during that time. As her collection grew bigger so did her projects.

Selea in her duct tape Princess Agitha,
Legend of Zelda Hyrule Warriors.

Photo by Craig Ozancin,
Doors of Imagination Photography

After gushing over Selea's fantastic pink Ciel dress at the party I found out she was going to make Princess Agitha from the Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Warriors video game. There is a lot of detail that has to go into that character and I must say, months later when she debuted the costume, I was very impressed.

Selea started cosplaying about four years ago but she has been collecting duct tape for far longer. She even has the Guinness World Record for Largest Duct Tape Collection, which she received this year. Selea is continuing to collect duct tape and create fun and unique costumes.

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Interview with Selea: Duct Tape Nerd

When did you start cosplaying and why?

I started cosplaying 4 years ago, and it all started with wanting to be Link. Not knowing what cosplay was, me and a friend got our costumes ready (she was dark Link) for Halloween only to find out that there were conventions where it was normal and acceptable to dress up like video game characters and run around with swords. I've been cosplaying ever since then.

Selea and her date, Tyler, both made these
pirate costumes all out of duct tape.
Photo by Neecholl Nielson

What drew you to your love of duct tape?

I started collecting duct tape in middle school, back when there was only a handful of different kinds, and have slowly been building up my collection since then. Just a couple months ago I secured the Guinness World Record for largest duct tape collection! At first I started making small things - wallets, bows, etc. - but in high school I entered the stuck at prom competition (not winning anything, but I still had a lot of fun).

Duct Tape Pokemon Flower by Selea

When I started cosplay my collection was a lot larger and my love for duct tape was great and I knew I had to make a duct tape [cosplay].

How hard is it to make a cosplay out of all duct tape? What kind of planning is involved?

It is a rather tedious process. Picking out the cosplay I want to do is one of the harder parts because I have to think about what will look good in duct tape, but also what is actually possible to make out of duct tape. Duct tape doesn't give much wiggle room, so most cosplay wouldn't actually be possible to make. Also, while there are many different patterns of duct tape, the color selections is pretty limited, so I have to research all the colors that would be involved while picking out a cosplay.

From this simple Link picture to a full dress,
Selea knows no boundaries when it comes to
duct tape and creativity.

The actual sewing part isn't too complicated. I start by cutting out the pattern pieces from fabric, cover those pieces in duct tape, and then sew them together just as I would fabric. I tend to break a couple needles throughout the process, but my sewing machine is pretty good at handling the duct tape.

How many rolls of duct tape did you use on Princess Agitha?

Around 28 rolls.

Check out the head piece and the details. What great work!
Photo by Joe Chavez, Prinny Fun Cosplay

Wow! Why did you pick duct tape? Why do you collect it and what is your favorite part about it for creating cosplay costumes?

I really don't even remember why I started collecting duct tape. Probably just because I couldn't be normal when I was younger and I was always finding ways to be different, and I didn't know anyone with a duct tape collection, so I figured I would stand out.

One of my favorite parts about creating duct tape cosplays is the moment when people realize it's duct tape and not fabric. It's so fun to see peoples reactions and see how flabbergasted they get when they realize that it's duct tape and not fabric. Also, I haven't really changed since I was younger and I still like finding ways to be different, especially in cosplay, and making things out of duct tape is a great way to do that. I don't mind being one of several people doing the same cosplay, but I like to find ways to be unique among those people.

This bug princess is enjoying a stroll along the river while looking for slugs.
Photo by Craig Ozancin,
Doors of Imagination Photography

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