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November 19th, 2015     by Sidney Drmay     Comments

Illustration by Erin McPhee

Gender can be a very complicated part of your identity. If you are transgender and you identify as a different gender than the one assigned at birth, you may find discomfort with how your gender presents based on your physical characteristics, this is often known as dysphoria. You can use different tools such as packers, breast forms or binders to explore your gender and alter your physical appearance to match your gender better.

Whether you want to bind your chest or have breasts this guide will help you do-it-yourself for cheap. You will probably find lots of ways to improve on the ideas below but hopefully this can help you get started!

Breast forms

Unfortunately breast forms can be extremely expensive to buy, ranging somewhere in the $150-300 range. There are some cheap ways to make breast forms that can make gender exploration easier. You can use a variety of methods but this is one of cheapest and simplest ways.

You’ll need:

  • Knee high pantyhose (Dollarstore)
  • Rice (a small bag is between $5-12)

Take one of the knee high pantyhose at a time. Stretch it out a bit so it won’t be too stiff.

Take your rice and scoop it into the pantyhose until you have a your preferred size of breastform. Tie a knot at the end to keep the rice inside. Repeat this with the second pantyhose

At the end they will look like this. Breast forms like these are easy to make and can be reused many times, watch for tears that will cause your rice to spill out though!

They fit in bras very easily and can be made to any sizing preference.


Binding improperly can be incredibly dangerous and can lead to many health complications. It is never a good idea to bind with ace bandages, duct tape or any other material that restricts breathing and movement.

You’ll need:

  • Tights or leggings ($5-12 depending)

You can use any tights for this, depending on your chest size you may want something more durable like leggings or athletic tights.

Cut the legs off the tights.

Once both legs are cut off it will look like a small pair of shorts.

Find the middle of the shorts.

At the centre spot cut a hole, this will end up being your head hole.

The final product will look like this, a small shirt. It will bind best when it is on top of a sports bra, it likely will not totally flatten depending on chest size but it will be able to give a flatter appearance.

Binding with leggings and tights is safe and easy, but you will have to replace tights more often because of the thinness of the material. Make sure to take off any binders whenever possible, you don’t want to restrict your ability to breathe for too long.


There are two ways to pack, soft packing and hard packing. Hard packing refers to a device that can be used for sex and won’t be covered in this post. Soft packing refers to a device that is used to imply a bulge. This method is simple but can need to be redone often because the materials aren’t incredibly durable.

You’ll need:

  • Condoms (free! or $5-12 depending on box)
  • Gel liquid of some sort (Dollarstore)

Make sure the condoms are unlubricated, you don’t want to have lube all over your hands while you’re making packers. You can grab these at any sex positive clinic or a drugstore. As far as the liquid goes it can be hand soap, shampoo, dish soap or anything like it.

Unroll the condom and dust it off a bit, unlubricated condoms usually have a powdery material on them that you probably don’t want in your pants.

Fill the condom with the hand soap, be careful to not put too much.

When you have the amount of liquid you want tie the condom off.

Now you have a soft packer! This can be placed inside underwear (boxers, panties, etc) for the appearance of a package. Depending on the underwear type you may need to secure it.

All of these tools can help you experiment with gender a little bit easier for a cheap price, which can really important at the beginning of your gender journey. Hopefully this can get you started!

Tags: diy, gender

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