How to Make a Bendable Mannequin

Written by gwendolyn filosa
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How to Make a Bendable Mannequin
A bendable mannequin can become art for your home. (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.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Old long-sleeved T-shirt
  • Old pajama or scrub-type trousers 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
  • Dust sheet or old sheets
  • Spray paint
  • Rubber boots or old high-top sneakers

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  1. 1

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

  2. 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.

  3. 3

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

  4. 4

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

  5. 5

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

  6. 6

    Stuff the shirt to create a lifelike shape, using rolled newspaper or old clothing.

  7. 7

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

  8. 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.

  9. 9

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


  1. 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 trousers.

    How to Make a Bendable Mannequin
    Styrofoam heads are available at beauty supply stores. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)
  2. 2

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

  3. 3

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

  4. 4

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


  1. 1

    Place the mannequin on its back, on top of a dust sheet or old sheets.

  2. 2

    Spray paint the mannequin the colour of your choice.

  3. 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.

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