How to Make a Bendable Mannequin


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


  • 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.


  • 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.

  • 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.


  • 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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  • Photo Credit Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images Hemera Technologies/ Images
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