How to Make a Bendable Mannequin

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A bendable mannequin can become art for your home.
A bendable mannequin can become art for your home. (Image: Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

A life-size bendable mannequin can cost a few thousand dollars brand new, and even used mannequins run a couple hundred bucks. Yet the fashion industry depends on mannequins to sell their hottest trends. Make your own in a few simple steps, using household items and strong fabric tape. Bendable, or "pose-able," mannequins can display your fashion designs, help with alterations, or become striking art sculptures for your home or garden.

Things You'll Need

  • Old long-sleeved T-shirt
  • Old pajama or scrub-type pants or long shorts
  • Fabric tape or duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Old pillows
  • Clear packing tape
  • Styrofoam head, available at beauty supply shops or craft stores
  • Drop cloth or old sheets
  • Spray paint
  • Rubber boots or old high-top sneakers

Cast

Using yourself or a friend as the model, put on a long-sleeved T-shirt and some comfortable pants that you no longer wear.

Begin applying long stretches of fabric or duct tape on the sleeves, front and back of the T-shirt until the entire shirt is covered. This will make up the torso of the mannequin.

Use tape to make cuffs along the ends of each sleeve and a hem along the collar and shirt tail.

Cut one line up the back of the shirt with the scissors to remove from the body.

Lay the shirt flat and tape it back together using duct or fabric tape.

Stuff the shirt to create a life-like shape, using rolled newspaper or old clothing.

Make a base for the torso of the mannequin by taping the bottom to old magazines.

Finish shaping the torso for the mannequin into a lifelike form, using the clear packing tape to ensure a snug fit for the stuffing. Double-tape the armpits to lift the arms from the torso.

Make the bottom half of the mannequin by repeating steps one through eight on the pants, while you or your friend models them. Make hems for the legs and a waistband out of tape.

Head

Attach the Styrofoam head to a "neck," made from the cardboard core from an empty tape roll, using more of the same tape used on the shirt and pants.

Styrofoam heads are available at beauty supply stores.
Styrofoam heads are available at beauty supply stores. (Image: Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Place the head on top of the torso, using duct tape.

Fix the torso to the bottom half of the mannequin with duct tape.

Check the shape of the mannequin, using clear packing tape to tighten any sagging areas.

Finishing

Place the mannequin on its back, on top of a drop cloth or old sheets.

Spray paint the mannequin the color of your choice.

Attach cheap rubber boots or a pair of high-top sneakers to create a stand for your mannequin. Or seat your mannequin on a wooden stool and tape the back of the legs to the stool's legs with the clear packing tape.

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