Make Your Own Doll Dress Form

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Want to try your hand at designing clothing for your doll? You’ll probably want to do like the pros do, and use a dress form. Make a few extra mannequins (a French word for dress form) so you can display your doll’s clothing, too.  This project is designed for an 18-inch doll.

Materials

  • Plastic doll
  • Plastic food wrap (like Saran Wrap)
  • Duct tape — if you choose a tape with a pattern printed on it, wrinkles won’t show up as much in the finished form as plain gray–and it looks a lot nicer in a pretty design.
  • Scissors
  • Plastic grocery sacks (about 20)

Stand and base:

  • Candle holder (from a dollar store or resale shop)
  • Wood dowel to fit the holder (usually a 3/4-inch dowel, about 12 inches long)
  • Paint to cover the candle holder and dowel (spray paint, acrylic or latex paint)

OR

  • Cardboard paper towel tube
  • Tuna can
  • Hot glue gun (with adult help)
  • Acrylic paint or spray paint for the stand and base

Use an undressed doll for the form. Wrap her tightly in a couple layers of plastic wrap. Be sure to wrap it over the shoulders and across the back and front at the neck. Wrap around the arms, but don’t cover the arms. Wrap across the bottom at the hips. The wrap will keep the tape from sticking to the doll and from getting any of the tape adhesive on the doll.

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Tear or cut duct tape into short pieces, about 4-inches long, and begin wrapping the doll, covering the plastic wrap. Keep applying tape to cover with at least 3 layers of tape. You want it to be firm once it’s off the doll, so the more tape, the less likely it will get dented and out of shape. Press firmly to smooth out any wrinkles.

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When the doll’s torso is covered with the tape, use the tip of the scissors to begin snipping through the layers of tape and plastic wrap in the back. Cut from the bottom to the neck, being careful not to nick the doll. Slip the form off the doll and carefully tape the back together. Add more tape strips to cover the arm and neck openings. Trim the bottom edge so it is even all the way around.

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You can attach the form to a base in several ways. If you have a candle holder and dowel, paint them first, then slip the dowel into the form while stuffing and push it gently up to the neck area, stuffing bags in to hold it in place. Tape across the base to hold in the bags and finish the bottom. Adjust the dowel for height and finish taping everything securely.

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If you are using a paper tube and can to make the base, you can paint everything once you are finished.  Stuff the form with plastic bags until it is firm, then tape several layers across the base to finish it completely. Use a hot glue gun to attach the tube to the center of the form’s base. When cool, hot glue the other end of the tube to the top center of the can. Paint the can and tube base and let dry. I have used spray paint to cover the entire dress form and it turned out nicely.

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