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

Cast

Step 1

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

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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

Step 4

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

Step 5

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

Step 6

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

Step 7

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

Step 8

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.

Step 9

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

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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

Step 3

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

Step 4

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

Finishing

Step 1

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

Step 2

Spray paint the mannequin the color of your choice.

Step 3

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.

References & Resources