Taping your breasts

DIY option
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Breast taping

There a few different reasons for taping your breasts, each will require a different method. Whichever you are doing read the tips and adhesive advice below, then scroll down to the section you need for more information.

Possible reasons to tape your breasts:

  • To lift and reduce movement when you can’t wear a bra.
  • Taping to flatten your chest. Used by women who are dressing as a man, also sometimes used by dancers to reduce movement.
  • Taping to create cleavage. For when you have small or no breasts, it is sometimes used by transgender women to give the appearance of breasts.

What sort of tape to use

You can use surgical tape (also called medical tape), but not the paper kind as that usually has fairly weak adhesive and isn’t very flexible. You can also use sports strapping tape. Whatever you decide get something that is fairly wide and flexible (like the cloth tape), this will give a better result. Both of these options are good as they are products that are designed to go on your skin. A lot of people use duct tape but that is riskier if you have sensitive skin, also be careful not to buy one that has really strong glue as taking it off could be painful.

A breathable cloth tape will also be cooler and less likely to make you sweaty than plastic duct tape. Also watch out for whether it will be noisy, if you hug someone and your breasts squish a little a plasticy tape can make a crackly noise. Some tutorials mention masking tape but this isn’t a good idea, it’s usually not strong enough glue and its papery so it will be noisy and won’t flex well. The video tutorials linked to below all use duct tape but you don’t need to, use whatever you think will work best for you.

WARNING: Even if you use medical or strapping tape which is designed for use on skin, un-taping can be painful and even rip skin, so be careful.

Tips on taping your breasts

  • If you want to hide the shape of your nipple as well you can use nipple covers. Or tape over your nipples as well but put something padded under (like cotton wool) it to hide the shape and so isn’t sticking to your actual nipple, just around it.
  • Try to avoid having the tape stuck to the most sensitive parts of your skin (for example nipples). You can use gauze, cotton wool or fabric under the tape to protect these areas.
  • It’s really easy to end up with bulges of breast and skin between pieces of tape. If you are going for a method that has gaps between the strips be careful not to pull your breasts too much when you are putting it on.
  • It might be easier to have a friend do the taping rather than trying to do it by yourself. If there are two of you, you can hold your breasts where you want them while your friend tapes.

Adhesive advice

  • Don’t apply over broken, damaged or sun-burned skin.
  • If you are worried you will have a reaction to the adhesive do a patch test first by using a small piece on yourself. The inside of your arm is a good place as it isn’t hairy so won’t hurt as much when you take it off.
  • Don’t use moisturisers or powders on the area before you apply it, they will make it harder for it to stick to your skin.
  • Adhesives can come loose if you are sweating a lot. Try to avoid using them if this will be a problem, or make sure the adhesive is in an area where you don’t sweat much.
  • Clean and dry the skin before sticking anything to it, wiping with rubbing alcohol will help remove oils and dirt.
  • Have a hot shower or soak in the bath if you are having trouble getting it off.
  • If you have sticky residue left on your skin after removal you can get rid of it by using some baby oil on cotton wool and rubbing gently. Solvents like nail polish remover will work too but they aren’t as gentle on your skin.

To lift and reduce movement when you can’t wear a bra

Taping your breasts is a way to lift, support and reduce movement when you wear something that you can’t wear a bra with. It’s a solution for not feeling able to go braless that has been around for a long time. In recent years there have been a lot of adhesive no-bra solutions that have come on the market, you may find you get better results with these. There are stick-on bras or specially shaped breast lift tape, you can do a DIY taping version of that too.

Firstly, it is tricky to get a good result with taping, you should practice first as it can take a few goes before you get the hang of it. If you are doing this for an outfit for a special occasion then definitely test it out before the day to make sure it works.

How you tape your breasts will depend on what you are wearing, if it is something really low cut (goes below your breasts) you will need to have the breasts taped separately. To create lift hold your breasts up as you tape, leaning forward can help too. Start with the tape low on the breast and pull upwards to create lift. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Mimic breast-lift tape: cut pieces to the shape of breast lift tape and apply like they are. See here for a video of a woman using it (note: you have to sign in to watch the video, it’s age restricted as it shows bare breasts).
  2. Apply strips of tape, creating a shape similar to a bra. The edges of the pieces can finish at your side so this is good for if you are wearing something backless.
  3. You don’t have to use only tape, taping on contoured bra cups might give you a smoother and better result than using tape alone. To get the cups you can cut up an old bra you no longer want or you can buy shaped foam cups in sewing stores.

WARNING: Don’t put the tape the whole way around you as it can restrict your breathing or injure you if too tight.

Taping for lift - 3 options
Taping for lift and to reduce movement

Taping to flatten your chest

This is basically strapping or binding your chest. Dancers sometimes do this to make sure there isn’t movement when they are performing (see first method below). It is also used by women who want to flatten their chests to pass as a man, either a one-off for a costume or it is used regularly by some transgender men who want to avoid getting surgery.

WARNING: Don’t put the tape the whole way around you as it can restrict your breathing or injure you if too tight. Even when using smaller sections of tape make sure you can comfortably breathe.

Two methods:

  1. Use strips across your chest to compress your breasts (see image below). Make sure you hold them apart when taping to prevent them looking like one boob in the middle.
  2. Use strips to pull each breast to the side. Watch this Drag Series video tutorial for a demonstration. Note: this is quite extreme so it’s not recommended to do this too often or leave on for long periods of time (this is mentioned in the video as well).
Two different methods of taping/strapping your breasts
Taping to flatten your chest

Taping to create cleavage

This will give women with small breasts more cleavage than is possible with a push-up bra. Obviously a push-up bra is much more comfortable so you would only do this if you needed more cleavage or if you were wearing something you couldn’t wear a bra with. This method is also used by transgender women to give the look of real breasts without having implants. You will be taping across your chest to push everything up so you will need to pad out the bottoms of your breasts to make them look full. The easiest way is to pad a bra but if you aren’t able to wear one you can tape the padding on.

Here is a video tutorial from Drag Queen Misty Minute.