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How to Paint Simple Foam Mannequins

Updated April 17, 2017

A foam mannequin is the most widely chosen display items for department stores, fashion boutiques and related apparel stores. These mannequins are popular because of the ease of paint conversion. With a foam mannequin, you can also change the looks and features to fit the design layout you have created. The versatility of a foam mannequin puts them in high demand.

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  1. Create the design you will apply to the mannequin out on paper. Make sure you have selected the specific colour schemes you plan to use. By creating the design on paper first, you will help eliminate any confusion about the project. You should have a few various sketches on hand in case your change your mind during the process.

  2. Visit the local paint store and buy the proper latex paints you will need for the mannequins. Choose acrylic as this will work best on the material of the mannequin. Give the clerk the measurement size of your mannequin so you can buy enough paint to cover the project.

  3. Purchase several sizes of paint brushes. You will need these to accomplish various aspects of the project. You will want a thin brush for facial features, wider brushes for the body area and thinner-sized brushes for hard-to-reach areas.

  4. Spread out the paint cloth to avoid getting paint on anything of value or just to protect from making a mess. Stand the mannequin straight up and start painting from the legs upward. Use the colour you selected earlier. Keep in mind if you plan to dress the mannequin, as you may want to avoid painting the areas where clothes will be placed.

  5. Draw on your mannequin the facial features you wish it to have. Unless your mannequin already has the face outlined, you will want to create it in the image that fits your total design. Should you have to draw on the mannequin, keep the sketch light so you can paint within the lines and avoid having it show in the light.

  6. Use a small thin brush to apply to the facial features. Apply your lighter colours then move upward to the darker colours. This will allow you to gauge the contrast in the mannequin's make-up and allows you to make any changes to balance out the colour scheme. Allow the paint to dry completely before adding more colours on top of it.

  7. Place the mannequin in an area that is well ventilated so it can dry properly. You will most likely need to leave it overnight. You can then apply a can of spray-on shellac to give the mannequin a shiny glossy coat. This will also protect the paint and keep it looking in pristine condition.

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Things You'll Need

  • Colour pencils
  • Acrylic paint (latex preferred)
  • Paint brushes
  • Paint cloth
  • Sealant spray (shellac preferred)

About the Author

Wirnani Garner holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy and works in the medical profession. Her articles focus on health-related subjects, though Garner is proficient in researching and writing about a diverse range of topics.

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