Pasties can be made from all sorts of materials and in all sorts of shapes and sizes.  For those that would rather purchase their pasties, there are many sellers online that have various types, styles, and priced pasties. If you have money to spend, send it their way! (A few makers listed below with examples.  Feel free to comment about your favorite sellers!) For those that want to venture in the land of baking pastries, I mean… making pasties, here is your basic list of ingredient options and recipes.

The Base:

The base of a pastie is what will cover your nipple and form the shape of the design. Materials that can be used:

  • Craft Foam
  • Stiff Felt
  • Buckram
  • 3D Printed Material

I don’t recommend craft foam, even for beginners, because they will not last long (sometimes not even beyond a single use) and often have a cheap appearance to them, yes – even if it’s glitter foam. Stiff felt is a good alternative that is inexpensive and readily available at many stores. 

Other Supplies:

  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Decorative features for the final design (rhinestones, sequins, trim, etc.)
  • Tassel (optional)
  • Ball Bearing Swivel (optional)

Aside from 3D printed or other molded materials, the general idea behind pastry baking is that you’re taking a flat surface source, cutting a shape, and forming a conical form. The amount of peak depends on preference and also body type and body part. “Male” pasties or pasties used on other areas of the body like the buttocks, stomach, face, etc are best with a flatter pastie than that used for a “female” breast.

The best place to start is a basic circle. The size of the circle depends upon how big you want the end product (how much coverage you need legally or desire personally), and how flat or conical you want it. You can use mathematics and make your geometry teacher proud, or you can do some sample runs on paper. The pointier you desire, the larger you need to make your circle. The larger coverage area you desire, the larger you need to make your circle.  It’s like rocket science. The initial circle is not just the size of the end game circle.

  • Draw a circle on the material.
    • Use a compass, or trace a cup or other object. When I’m in my messy basement costuming, it’s not uncommon to hear me mumble “where’s my nipple cup” because I have one that I use for most of my pastie making.
  • Cut the circle
  • Cut a radius into the circle, from the edge into the center.
    • You can fold the circle in half, open, and fold in half the opposite way to identify the center point.
  • Overlap your material into the desired size, factoring in that the height/peak will impact the width/diameter.
    • At this point, if the peak you desire does not give you the size you want, start over with a larger/smaller circle, whichever applies. (That’s why a trial with paper is good until the circle size is right.)
  • When you’ve settled on the size, then glue (or sew) the overlapped portion.
    • Use a clip, bobby pin, or clothes pin to  hold together if you’re using a slow drying glue.

Beautiful Mind.jpgDo you see the beautiful mind formulas that could happen? If you know the desired peak and final diameter, it’s possible to math your way into the initial circumference to cut. Most people are more into the hands on approach when it comes to nipple hats. I made a reference chart for your viewing pleasures, if viewing is your pleasure.

Basic Pastie Science

For non-tasseled pasties, you’re almost done!

  • You can seal the material with Mod Podge, something else, or leave them as is.
  • Decorate the outside.
    • I start from the inside of the circle, so I can adjust any pattern as I move outward. Starting from the outside may leave you with an odd space to fill as you close into the center.

For tasseled pasties, you have an extra step before sealing and decorating.

  • The ultra easy way to add a tassel is to poke a hole in the center, feed the tassel through and glue it inside the pastie. This is how I did mine in the beginning.  (I would add a small grommet on the hole.) 
    • The disadvantages:
      • The tassels are permanent.
      • They are “harder” to twirl.  I managed, but I’ve heard from others that without the swivel they weren’t able to twirl at all or as efficiently.
  • Another way that is still inexpensive is to add a fishing swivel with ball bearing to the center.
    • The advantages:
      • The tassels can be added using clips and removed or traded out with others.
      • They are “easier” to twirl because of the nature of the ball bearing.
    • Place the swivel in the center.  If there is enough on the other side, you can glue from the inside. If they are too small, you can add something to insert in the swivel hole and then glue that to the inside of the pastie. (I’ve used a safety pin by breaking off the tip and the fastener and bent into form.)
    • Cover the inside with a small circle of the material.
    • Two different types of swivels are shown in the picture instructions.
      • Left: Ball bearing saltwate fishing swivel size 0 (33lb) purchased online
      • Center: Swivel with attached hook purchased at Walmart
      • Right: same as above with the hook detached
  • If the tassels don’t have a clip, add a lobster claw or other type of attachment so you can clip onto your swivel.
    • Tassels can be purchased or made using fringe, beads, or other materials.
    • The types made from non-beaded fringe will often get frayed and misshapen  over time if they aren’t stored delicately.

Slide2Slide3That’s great Bearcat, I have showgirl hats for my nip nops, now how do I fasten this to my body?! I’ve seen or heard of the following:

  • Spirit Gum
  • Carpet Tape
  • Fashion Tape
  • Medical Tape
  • Medical Adhesives
  • Toupee Tape
  • Spray Glue

Be wary of things that aren’t skin safe, especially if you have sensitive skin. In general, avoid using lotions on the area on pastie wearing day. If you mess up placement, use fresh tape. Often, once it hits skin one time, it will lose effectiveness if you just try to shift position.

SupertapeI use Supertape brand toupee tape in AA strips because it’s easily peel-able and can curve nicely onto the pastie shape, skin safe, strong, and easy to remove. (I use it to tape underwear and other costume pieces to myself. If I forget to remove it, it can get vicious and wants to permanently stay on fabric. Just take it off as soon as you’re finished, and it’s fine.) 

Slide6If you’re feeling adventurous, experiment with different shapes and designs. “Punchline” pasties are ones that have an extra element of relevance to your act, a final punchline in your joke! (Keep in mind, many people won’t be able to see them. It’s a bonus for those that can.) Some of my work shown here, featuring such hits as the spinning wet floor people from my “Safety First” act and my tea bags from my “Madam Hatter” act.

This lesson is to teach you how to be a fisherman, not how to steal someone else’s fish.  Be inspired, but don’t copy designs of others.

Tassels: Here are some examples of tassels you can purchase – not all good ones for twirling use. If the tassel is too light or short, it won’t be a good merry-go-round the pastie ride and will leave you flat with your face in the dirt.


I make all of my own pasties, but have just a handful of pasties/pastie bases from others in my possession as examples. Check out their sites for better photos and products for sale! (Clicking photo will take you to their website.)




Do you find yourself in the glue section of a store whimpering like a lost puppy? You, my dear pup, are not alone.  There are so many things to consider when identifying the best adhesive. In an effort to keep it simple and targeted towards common burlesque needs, we’ll *stick* to a handful of options and how they may be used.

Eyelash Glue:

Eyelash GluesI tend to use the dark toned glue as nature intended, on my eyelashes. I use the clear/light on the occasion I’m gluing rhinestones or other objects to my face. I haven’t used eyelash glue for anything else, but at the rate I’m going, who knows where life will take me.

Spray Glue:

Spray GlueI don’t really use this for much, but I have seen people use it for pasties and adhering other items to their body.  It’s not skin safe and it’s a pain to clean off, so I don’t recommend doing this.  (Future post about pasties and corresponding adhesive will happen.)

Mod Podge:

Mod Podge.pngMod Podge can be used as a sealer. I’ve used it when making pasties bases or on the inside of headpieces I’ve dyed to keep it from coloring my forehead. My most substantial Mod Podge Masterpieces are my Cake hair and my Hatter Hat.  Both were built with soft items like ribbon or fabric strips. Layer by layer, I coated each strip in the glue and formed into place. It was a test of patience, because I am not built to wait for things to dry (or for reading instruction manuals). I had to fight my natural instinct to mess things up by not waiting. As the layers would dry, they would harden, and then I could continue to add more. One note: Do not leave your Mod Podge prop in your car during a hot summer day, because it will shape shift. Fortunately for me, my incident was minor and I was able to use a blow dryer to heat it up and get it back into form.

The “base” of the Madam Hatter hat was made with paper plate and some craft foam, stapled into the vague shape I wanted and then covered with ripped pieces of my old bedsheet. The “base” of the Let Me Be Cake hair was a plastic pretzel container that I cut and layered with pieces of ribbon I curled into place as they were wet with Mod Podge.

Hat BuildHair Build

Hot Glue:

Hot GlueThere was a time that everything I made was hot glued, because I didn’t know how to do anything. Those times were short and as frustrated as learning new things can be, I’m so glad my days of being a hot-glue-hottie are in my past. Hot glue is handy for a quick fix in emergencies.  I mainly only use hot glue now when I need something to dry quickly to proceed with the making process and the end result won’t be only the hot glue holding it together. A hot car will wreck your day if your costume is comprised of hot glue. My most important tip for performers is the same as when I work with little children using it for the first time. If, or when, you get some on your fingers, rub it quickly so it will roll away and not burn your fingers like witches on stakes.


E6000 FamilyAlso known in my house as “Cancer Tube”, “The Beast”, and the thing I buy anytime I’m at Joann Fabrics with an extra coupon to spare. This is what I use most often when it comes to costume and prop building. It comes in many forms.  Look at them there all lined up like it’s killer family portrait day. E6000 is toxic! Be sure to protect your lungs with a mask and wear gloves or at least thoroughly wash your hands after use. There is no need to go full out Hazmat suit like you’re Marty McFly and 1950s George is your craft project.


MaskWhat is needed is a respirator mask that is available online or at home improvement stores. Once protected, there are some decisions to make.  Personally, I only use the liquid kind in the tube. They have black, white, and clear.  I tend to stock up on clear. They do sell options for the liquid form that have tiny application caps. I’ve tried a handful of times and I end up making more mess when I use these than just being strategic with the standard cap. For rhinestones or other small work, my application method of choice is to take a kabob stick and dab it slightly in glue. That will form as a way to tack the item onto the stick and into the dot of glue where it will live on your costume.  There are wax pencils and other specifically designed tools for this. I’m frugal and my cheap method works well enough for me. I also know I would likely lose any tool I spent money buying. Just re-dab as needed when it starts to lose that pick-me-up attraction.


gemtacI haven’t used this myself, but I’m told it’s a non-toxic alternative to E6000. This is good for anyone with family or pets who can’t be in a ventilated or separate area when gluing.



Cloth Hookscoth-hooks-black-and-white.jpgI’m hooked on hooks hooking. Cloth covered hooks are a great way to add or modify a costume to be removable (or more easily removable). They are metal hook and eyes, with a layer of fabric covering. I replace all of my bra attachments with these and use them on other things like skirts, wraps, etc. You can find these online or in craft stores. My local store keeps them stocked in black and white, and sometimes brown. I try to keep a few on hand because I will often be working on costumes at odd nightly hours when only bats and vampires should be productive and most stores aren’t open. You can dye, or even easier – color the white ones with permanent markers, to make them match your garment. I imagine you could use paints also, but that would likely chip away. 

Hook ExamplesWhen I’m using these for the back of a bra, I will remove all of the standard hook closures and then sew the hook directly onto the ends.  Because my bras tend to have 3-5 rows of hooks due to carrying around boulder boobers, I will sometimes change the shape of the ends to be more of a trapezoid instead of a rectangle, then it will look better if I’m only using one cloth hook. If the ends don’t overlap and I leave them as huge rectangles, having one hook with leave a space between that makes me feel have weird feelings.  There are times where I will use fabric to make completely new ends. This usually happens for me if I need to extend the circumference of the bra, if I’m building a bra from scratch, or if I’m Frankensteining things together.



They call them “stripper zippers” for a reason! “They” being us. We performers call them stripper zippers, because they are easier and more reliable to strip out of a stage costume.

zippersWhen you need the reliable function of a zipper, you want to avoid invisible zippers and  metal teeth zippers. While invisible zippers are lovely in a garment for hiding the zipper, they will inevitably fail you on stage.  Purchase a zipper with large plastic teeth, either online or at a craft store that sells sewing paraphernalia. If the costume piece needs to be split completely when unzipping, be sure to acquire a zipper that separates at the end. (These can be labeled for use in jackets, sports, parkas, sleeping bags, etc.)

The better the cloth butcher or seamstress you are, the easier a time you will have replacing a zipper and it may be sewn with better quality, but even a novice can do this! Don’t be intimidated! As performers, we have the advantage of typically being viewed at a distance, under alternative lighting conditions, to patrons who aren’t focusing on stitches and thread colors. The audience won’t be able to see any small imperfections and their attention will be elsewhere. Use a color that matches your costume if you’re able. This will help disguise it, especially if you end up with a lot of the zipper showing. (I’m not a great tailor and learned to sew via the “just wing it” method, so my adjustments are slowly getting better, but still not executed properly.) Zipper Example Madam Hatter

Zippers can be added upside down so you’re beginning from the bottom and unzipping upwards. This works well for when you want to be able to hold your garment together before you flash open the spectacular show that is your body… or more costume…, because your hands will be at the top. You’ll be able to easily grasp the two sides and hold tight together until you’re ready. Upside Down Zipper Example Green Dress

Consider adding a tassel or other type of decorative pull so you can find the end. This adds an element of visual appeal on the costume and can make the unzipping more dramatic.  (There are always exceptions, such as – if the objective of your act/costume is for the audience to not know there is a zipper.) Longer or larger pulls can be especially helpful for performers with short arms, less flexibility, or larger bodies to work around.

When you are only partially unzipping a garment, you may want to insert a zipper that is a little longer than you actually need.  You never know what changes your costume layers or body may undergo and it’s better to have extra room you don’t need than to be short space in the future.

Avoid trims, fringe or other items that may get caught in the zipper. In standard “Do as I say, not as I do” logic, I have a dress with long fringe on all the under parts and a zipper on the dress over top. The audience doesn’t even realize the danger I put myself in every time I use that costume! That being said, if you have a situation like this, be very strategic about how the costume layers are laying on each other and how any movement you make impacts the interaction between these.


Costuming Tips

I’m going to make my own life a little easier and organized by using my website as a place to house some common costume tips, geared mostly towards burlesque performers.  There is a wealth of knowledge and wonderful tutorials on the internet, but I’m going to do some quick tips for things that come up frequently when easing people into the world of burlesque or helping performers begin to create or modify their own costumes. The hope is to help others, while helping myself create a centralized reference pile. I’m also available for costuming workshops, geared towards lower budget and basic skills.

I have an unfinished basement I lovingly call my “downstairs house”, that serves as my costuming and arts space. It ebbs and flows between a state of efficient organization and a haphazard explosion of projects and costume piles deposited on the floor after performances, where they live for a shameful amount of time before being placed back on a shelf. Somewhere amidst the mess of fabric scraps, paint splatters, and crusty glue remains lie my anxieties and inspirations.Costume