Welcome to the first edition of Doin’ It Yourself, Dirge’s ongoing series of instructional articles about making your own sex toys. In the interest of wide appeal, these projects won’t require the use of power tools, and all the materials should be available at your local home improvement store. I’ll also try to limit the use of non-power tools to things you should probably already have in your home, but I’m also not above Swanson-shaming you if your tool box is a shopping bag full of candy and Sega Genesis games.
Also, any enthusiastic Dirge shippers might be interested to know that my partner is our style editor and resident kink witch, Haleigh Schiafo. Perhaps counter to her better judgment, she’s agreed to let me test out these projects on her. What a good sport! For our first project, I’ve chosen an all-time classic: the flogger.
Tools You’ll Need: Measuring tape, scissors, glue
Materials You’ll Need: Black electrical tape, black paracord, 3/4″ PVC pipe, steel o-ring, black spray paint.
The bulk of our handle is made of 3/4″ PVC conduit, which you’ll find in the electrical department. I’ve chosen to use a piece called an offset, which comes in a convenient handle size and even has an ergonomic shape. Offsets are pretty common, but if your local store doesn’t have them, you can buy a full length of 3/4″ pipe and cut it to size. The price is about the same for 10′ of pipe as it is for 6″ of offset, and we’ll definitely be using more conduit in the future, so if you’re going to play along at home you might consider taking the plunge. The fittings on either end are 3/4″ x 1/2″ threaded female reducers, and you’ll find them in the plumbing department. I’ve already painted them black, but when you see them in the wild they’ll be white.
Next, choose a handle length that fits your hand. I’m working with a pair of goddamn meathooks, so I’ve chosen to leave the handle at full length. If you’ve got daintier digits, plan accordingly. Using the tape measure, mark the pipe and cut it at the correct length using your hacksaw. Now’s a good time to paint it, along with the reducer fittings. I’ve chosen a classic BDSM black, but if you want a highlighter yellow flogger, that’s on you, pally. Once the paint is dry, you can glue one of the fittings on, but leave the other one for later.
For the flogger’s tails — AKA falls or tresses — we have a 50′ bundle of paracord from the hardware department. Paracord is a thin nylon rope with incredible tensile strength, and it also leaves quite a sting. Start by unrolling your bundle and finding the ends, making sure not to create any knots or wrinkles as you go. Next, grab the loose ends and fold the length of the cord in half, so you have a doubled-up cord 25′ long. Repeat this step until you’ve got a bulky set of cords about 6′ long.
Next up: the butt of the handle. We’re using a steel o-ring from the hardware department so you can hook your new flogger on a hook in the sex dungeon you definitely have. Slide it over the paracord and then fold it one more time; you should have a length approximately 3′ long with a ring on one end and a bunch of loops on the other.
Next, push the tails all the way through the handle. Keep the ends of the tails as close together as you can; if you don’t pull them through evenly, they can get jumbled inside the offset and you’ll have to start over. When you’re done, you should have the o-ring snugly sitting against the butt of the handle on one side, and the ends of the tail protruding just about evenly on the other side.
Now, here’s the trick: grab one of the single strands and wind it around the bundle and tie it off just above the handle.You don’t want this wrap to be too bulky, just enough to make sure that there’s a super tight fit when we put the second adapter in. Dry fit it first; if you can push the fitting down and it takes a little bit of work, that’s ideal.
Now you can push the remaining tails through the second fitting. Drop a bead of glue around the top of the handle, and push the fitting down. It might take a little work, but we want a tight fit to keep the tails from loosening inside the handle.
Grab your tape, and start wrapping the handle. There are a million kinds of electrical tape, but the cheapest one is fine; you’re not interested in its insulating properties. Begin at the handle end and then continue with wraps that overlap by half-widths and avoid folding and bunching. You might prefer to use fiction tape to enhance the grip, and that’s cool too, but you’ll still need a smooth tape to complete the project; you’ll see why soon enough.
Okay! You’re now within striking distance of doing some striking, but we still have to pick a length for our tails. Consider your experience level, and the amount of room you’ve got available to swing this puppy, and choose wisely. I’ve chosen a nice middle ground of sixteen inches. Make sure your scissors are good, because paracord is tough stuff; as the name implies, it was originally used for the suspension lines of parachutes. Leave the safety scissors in the drawer, is what I’m getting at.
To keep the ends of your tails from fraying — or worse, providing subpar smacking action — fold the ends over to create eyelets, and then apply your tape as seen here (this is why you needed smooth tape, incidentally).You may need to occasionally reapply this tape over the life of the flogger; an alternative solution would be to burn the ends of the nylon cord closed. Burned nylon ends can be unpleasantly sharp, however, so keep the backs and butts of your friends and lovers in mind when you’re making that call.
Well, it does what it’s supposed to do. The nylon stings, but it also has a satisfying thwack to it if you aim it right, which is the sensation I prefer from a flogger anyway.
And there you have it, friends. Not bad for our first outing, right? There’s plenty more where this came from; at any given moment, my brain is buzzing with mental blueprints for a dizzying array of toys, restraints and other goodies. Keep it safe, sane and consensual, and remember to check back for the next installment of Dirge’s Doin’ It Yourself.