How to Paint a Foam Mannequin

Written by amy davidson
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How to Paint a Foam Mannequin
Mannequins are often used in store displays. (mannequin image by FJ Medrano from

Foam mannequins are often used in displays in stores, or even as funky decor around the house. One thing that makes foam mannequins helpful is that they can be painted to look exactly how you want to match whatever project you have planned for them. If you have a foam mannequin that you want to give a specific look to, learn how to paint it in order to get the desired appearance for your project.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Coloured pencils
  • White paper
  • Acrylic latex paints (colours of your choice)
  • Paintbrushes (various sizes)
  • Tarp
  • Pencil
  • Shellac sealant spray

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  1. 1

    Draw out colour schemes and designs using coloured pencils and plain white paper. Drawing out what you want before can help prevent making irreversible mistakes on your mannequin. Draw a few different looks, then pick out the one you like best and set that aside as a reference as you paint.

  2. 2

    Purchase acrylic latex paints to correlate with the design you've chosen. Depending on the size of your mannequin and how much of it you plan to paint, you can get tubs of paint or small tubes. Acrylic latex paint can be found in almost any colour at most craft stores.

  3. 3

    Purchase paintbrushes in a few sizes, ranging from large for painting the base of your mannequin, to smaller artist's brushes for the small details of your mannequins face and other small aspects.

  4. 4

    Lay out a tarp to protect floors and set up the mannequin, either standing or lying across the tarp, to be painted.

  5. 5

    Paint the entire mannequin the base skin colour you have selected depending on your design. If your mannequin will be clothed you can opt to avoid painting areas that will be covered, to help save time and paint. Allow the base coat to dry for a couple of hours.

  6. 6

    Trace out facial features on the mannequin using a pencil. Keep trace lines light, so that they can easily be erased or painted over. Also trace out any other small details, such as jewellery, that you may be painting on the mannequin.

  7. 7

    Paint the facial features of the mannequin using the colours you have selected, and a small artist's brush, which will allow you to paint even the smallest details. Paint on lighter colours first, such as the white of the eyes, or a soft pink blush on the cheeks, and allow paint to dry for a couple of hours before painting over it with another colour.

  8. 8

    Allow entire mannequin to dry overnight once you have painted it to your liking. Spray with a coat of shellac sealant spray to help keep paint in good condition and prevent it from breaking off. Allow sealant to dry for an hour.

Tips and warnings

  • For a more realistic face, glue fake eyelashes around the eyes of the mannequin.
  • Never use spray paint to paint a foam mannequin, as spray paint can damage foam material.

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