How to Make a Mannequin

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Making your own mannequin can give you a variety of choices for poses and occasions.
Making your own mannequin can give you a variety of choices for poses and occasions. (Image: CrackerClips/iStock/Getty Images)

Making your own mannequin gives you a prop to dress up for Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's Day, and more. They can be posable, free-standing or sitting. Fiberfill, cardboard, duct tape, old clothes, and someone to help are key requirements for this project. This project is moderately difficult, even for experienced crafters, because it cannot be done alone.

Things You'll Need

  • Duct tape
  • Old t-shirt
  • Old pants
  • Scissors
  • A helper
  • Old newspaper or Fiberfill
  • Cardboard
  • Gloves (optional)
  • Shoes (optional)
  • Styrofoam head

Making Your Dress Form

Put your hair in a bun or otherwise get it up out of the way if your hair is longer than shoulder-length.

Wear an old T-shirt and pants that you don't really care about -- these items may get cut up. Ideally, your clothes should be formfitting.

Apply the tape under your bust, crossing in the center, and around. This way, you will avoid a "uni-boob." This is where your helper comes in.

Apply the tape horizontally over your clothing and smooth it in place. For comfort, start on the lower half first, using long strips of duct tape. Overlap the strips, concentrating on one section at a time. Continue with long strips of tape on the front, sides, back and down the legs.

Fill in the top section. Use shorter strips of tape than you did at the bottom. Apply strips diagonally. Make sure you go all the way up to your neck. Work down your arms to your wrists.

Cut down the middle of the back, the sleeves and the legs so you can take it off.

Finishing Your Dress Form

Wad up a lot of old newspaper and stuff it in your mannequin. Turn it as you work so you can see any empty areas as you go. If you don't want to use newspaper, use fiberfill -- available at any craft store.

Push the cut ends of your mannequin together and tape it together. Cut more cardboard to close off the bottom of your form's legs.

Stuff the gloves and apply them to the ends of the arms. Stuff the shoes with something to give them weight and attach them to the ends of the legs. Put the Styrofoam head on the neck and attach it with glue.

Decorate or dress your mannequin and put it on a stand.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remember this is YOUR body double, so don't hold your stomach in to make it look flatter.
  • Note that your helper will be patting and smoothing the tape in some personal areas, so recruit someone you know well and are comfortable with patting you.
  • If your shirt is a V neck or low cut, put extra fabric over your chest up to your neck so the tape won't stick to your skin.
  • Consider stuffing the bottom portion of your mannequin with something weighted if you want it to stand on its own.
  • Do not pull tape tight as you work.
  • Do not use expandable spray foam to fill in your form.
  • Do not stretch your dress form as you stuff it.

References

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