Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Duct Tape Muzzle Art Tutorial

I've seen some really lovely duct tape muzzle art at the Muzzle Up Project, and wanted to try it myself. There are a few pictures around, but I haven't been able to find any sort of a tutorial or documentation of the process. This is what held me back for months, I didn't feel confident about starting the project without seeing someone else do it first. So, in the spirit of "you go first!" and "I'll do it if you do it!", here is my process for making my first tape-wrapped muzzle.


Dog muzzle tape art
One roll of decorative duct tape and one Baskerville muzzle.
For this project, you need duct tape and a muzzle, obviously. I also used a can of clear spray enamel and an x-acto knife. 

A note on duct tape choice: Most of the design is going to be wrapped around the small bars of the muzzle. The larger the design, the less recognizable it will be. Small prints work better, and abstract designs work best. I originally wanted Hello Kitty tape, but ended up going with rainbow unicorns. Shut up, unicorns are abstract now.
duct tape art
The first piece.

Time to get started! The first thing I did was tear off a small strip of tape and wrap it around a bar. Not bad, but I should have used a wider piece that covered the whole bar.

duct tape on Baskerville Ultra muzzle
More pieces, kind of wrinkly.

I covered a few more bars and quickly discovered that covering a curved surface with a flat piece of tape resulted in wrinkles.

pink rainbow unicorn dog accessory
Cutting corners.

To fit the tape around the corners neatly, I tried cutting it with an x-acto knife.

Baskerville Ultra Muzzle hack
First corners accomplished!

This made the tape lay flat around the corner, but also left gaps in the back. The alternative it to just mash it around the corner, which gives better coverage but doesn't look quite as clean.

Making a decorated muzzle.
Trimming to fit.

The duct tape is wider than the bars of the muzzle. I cut down on bulk and made the tape lay flatter by cutting off the excess before smoothing down the edges.

Turning a plain black muzzle into a work of art.
Big piece on longer bar.

Time to try taping a longer bar! This was the longest piece of tape so far. I checked the size before ripping off the tape. Longer pieces show the design better and look cleaner if you can get them down flat enough, but they're more prone to wrinkling too.

duct tape art
Halfway there!

This strip of tape went halfway around the muzzle. Most of it ended up looking pretty good, but it wrinkled more than I wanted.

duct tape decorated dog muzzle
A gap!

Here's a gap where the ends of the tape didn't quite meet. 

Baskerville muzzle in duct tape
Small pieces to the rescue!

I used some of the bits I trimmed off before to cover the gaps. I was surprised how many little tiny piece I used. The pattern really helped cover them up.

leftover bits of duct tape
The aftermath.

Here's what the table looked like when I was done. I learned that cutting the tape with the knife made for much flatter and cleaner lines, but also took way longer. Anywhere the very edge of the tape folded over on itself, I just cut off. 

custom pink dog muzzle
The finished product.

Here's the finished muzzle. It turned out a bit more wrinkly and a bit less neat that I'd like, but was definitely a learning process.

pink basket muzzle
Not perfect, but not terrible.

The toughest part was fitting the tape around the strap holes. I'm not totally pleased with how this turned out. 

duct tape basket muzzle
Getting ready for the clear coat.

To hold everything together nicely, I decided to spray it with a couple coats of clear enamel. Gotta cover up anything I don't want painted.

pink dog muzzle
Ready to spray.

With the straps covered in masking tape, I took the muzzle outside and sprayed it with the clear coat. As spray paint is inert once it is dry, "why didn't I just paint the whole damned thing?" crossed my mind, as I'm sure it did yours. Unicorns. Unicorns are the answer.

pink unicorn basket muzzle
Hanging up to dry

The finished product! I don't have an in-action shot, partly because this thing needs a few days to cure and partly because I don't actually have a dog large enough to wear a size 5 Baskerville Ultra muzzle. I'm planning to do this with a smaller muzzle now that I've developed some skills. Anyone need an inexpertly-wrapped size 5 rainbow unicorn muzzle?


  1. It's so funny that you always post topics that are on my mind. I recently started looking to muzzle train my mini poodle because of his reactiveness and just to see if i could actually train him to "like" his muzzle. I've seen that they made a light blue baskerville, but can't really find it to buy anywhere reasonably priced. Do you think the duct tape will last washing and all the grime?

    1. So funny! I've had the duct tape for ages and just finally got around to doing it. I have a light blue Baskerville that I got on Amazon, but the availability seems to be hit and miss. No idea how well the tape will last, but if I was doing it for everday use I'd probably do quite a few more layers of clear coat to smooth everything over and make cleaning easier. I recently started seeing pictures of wire racing muzzles that look amazing for little tiny dogs. Super light and comfortable, but the sellers all seem to be in Europe. Here's my favorite: http://www.muzzlesforgreyhounds.com/wire-racing-muzzle.html