Of What Are Mannequins Made?

Written by bianca bumpres
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Of What Are Mannequins Made?
Mannequins are created as lifelike structures to model clothes and accessories. (mannequin image by FJ Medrano from Fotolia.com)

While history cannot pinpoint who created the first mannequin, they progressively made it to the stage of life size models over thousands of years and begin to circulate in France. Mannequins are realistic doll models that are used to model clothes and accessories. Mannequins give designers and consumers an ideal of how certain clothing, material or accessories will look on an individual. Mannequins are made from a variety of materials.

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The first mannequins were manufactured from wood. Wood is very sturdy and may have been used primarily for this very reason. Wood mannequins are made with balls and sockets to make joints to form leg and arm function. Wood mannequins can be painted to present a lifelike image. Some disadvantages to wood mannequins are the heaviness of the material, which may cause the transport cost to rise. Although wood can be painted to be lifelike, the wood itself does not offer this look, due to it being an abstract material. In time, wood cracks and tears, which is almost impossible to repair or even hide.


Polystyrene is a hard plastic that is indestructible and has a long-lasting shelf life. It has been used to manufacture mannequins for roughly the past 15 years. It is also lightweight and transports cheaply. This type of material may be injected with dyes to create a variety of eye-pleasing colours. Companies in need of many mannequins at one time benefit from purchasing polystyrene mannequins the because material is cheap and easy to transport. Some disadvantages to polystyrene are that it cannot be sprayed over and can be expensive due to the restrictions on styles and moulds. Prolystyrene also looks cheaper than a wood mannequin.


Fibreglass is currently the most widely used material for manufacturing mannequins. This material has a balanced ratio of weight and sturdiness. Fibreglass mannequins also transport for a reasonable price and can last for a long time with proper care. Fibreglass is easily painted or painted over and can be changed into different looks when necessary. Paint smoothly covers fibreglass to make simple lifelike renditions on the fibreglass model. This material can also be affixed with balls and joints---enabling the model to look even more realistic. Though fibreglass is mostly sturdy, if it falls, it will completely shatter---making clean-up difficult and dangerous if proper precautions are not taken.

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