Tuesday, 22 March 2011

TUTORIAL - Vintage Style Decoupaged Mannequin

I picked up this female torso at a car boot sale a few years ago and she's been hanging around in my wardrobe ever since just waiting for the perfect project to come along. I don't know why, but last week I suddenly had an overwhelming desire to try out decoupage and what better project to try it out on than this?

Like it? Read on to find out how to make your own!

  • Torso - mine's the hollow plastic kind but you could use any!
  • Thin paper - I used old incomplete dressmaking patterns
  • Brushes - I used cheapy ones from the kids art section at the supermarket!
  • PVA glue or equivalent - I watered mine down as it spreads better!

First of all I cleared the area I was going to be working at, laid newspaper down and arranged my materials. I opted for the old dressmaking pattern paper as it seemed more fitting for the project & would be easier to work with as it was thinner. Other papers on my list of 'things I can use' were vintage letters, comic book pages, maps and sheet music which could also work well.

I started off with a base layer of glue. Whilst waiting for it to dry I began tearing up my papers. Smaller bits are easier to work with - large pieces will only end up folding, creasing up and over-lapping where you don't want it to (as you can see on the first layers I laid down - duh).

Next up I put some glue down and started layering my paper. I found the glue to be a little too thick to work with to begin with so I thinned it by mixing it with a bit of hot water until I had a usable consistency, making it much easier to work with. As you can see, the pieces I started off with were too big to smooth nicely over all the curves, but I liked the textured appearance the larger pieces left on the torso, so I left them there.

I picked out as many interesting bits of print that I could, and placed them on the torso so they could be seen clearly. The little "Vogue Pattern" marks are my favourite and I put the little buttons on her neck.
I started off layering printed bits of the pattern paper but wasn't particularly keen on the bold appearance so went back over it all again with plain pattern paper to fade the lines out a bit.

I felt she was still looking a bit too naked, so I used the lines of the patterns to 'draw' a corset onto her.

After she'd dried I patched up some bits that needed a few more layers, folded over any over-hanging edges and glued them to the back so she is now smooth around the edges!

She's certainly not 'perfect', but overall I'm really happy with how she turned out and I now have a beautiful new mannequin to display my work on at craft fairs, and when she's not being used she'll look fabulous propped up on display in my home!

I would love to know what you think! 
Do let me know if you find this tutorial useful or if you think I could improve it in any way. 
As seen on Cut Out + Keep


  1. Hi I love it, I was thinking of doing something similar with my little mannequin. Been thinking for a while but now I may just go ahead and do it, thanks x

  2. Love this! The 'corset' looks brilliant and I especially love the buttons on her neck (though I may be a bit biased on that score)!


    PS. Why do I never seem to find anything as cool as your mannequin in the car boot sales round here?! :S

  3. @Picto yes definitely do it - this was such a fun project to do and I'm so happy to have a lovely looking lady to display in my home instead of hiding her in the wardrobe! I would love to see yours once she's finished ♥

    @BeckyButton thank you :) I was really unsure about the corset at first but now she's finished I think it looks fab!

    I couldn't believe my luck when I found her, she was on the floor next to a male torso, I would've had both of them but only had the pennies at the time for one! Keep an eye out, carboots are full of beautiful things if you look carefully ♥

  4. Oh she looks wonderful - like a piece of art!! I'm so glad you did it... and the corset looks wonderful. Mine looked a little "naked" too and she now wears a top most of the time. :)
    I think doing this is a wonderful alternative to the very expensive vintage dress forms.

  5. She looks wonderful and I love the tutorial. You did a great job. I am now inspired to create one for myself.


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  7. I love that you used patterns on your dress form. She turned out really cute. Thanks for the tutorial.

  8. I just found you through Carol's dress form party. This is so cute and I love the way you made a corset from the patterns. Hugs, Sherry

  9. I think she is perfect!! I love how you used the lines of the pattern to make a corset!! Thank you so much for attending the dress form ball, I hope you will have a great time!


  10. I think you did a wonderful job! Popping in from Carol's dress form party to say hi!

  11. I love how this turned out for you! Some times it pays to wait and think about things... even if it is the back of your mind and then baam! something as great as this is created. TFS!!! Hope y'all have fun at the ball!

  12. I think she is fabulous! I would love to try my hand at doing one.
    I'm now a follower :)

    Have a really great day!


  13. This is awesome, great job.
    I would give this a try.
    Thanks for sharing.

  14. I think you did a great job. Love the idea to use a old pattern. Visiting from the party.

  15. Fantastic job! Very inventive...creative. What a great look!


  16. I love the idea of using pattern pieces on a dressform. Beautiful!

  17. What a great idea of using sewing patterns to decoupage with! I love it!!
    And a dress form decoupaged using a pattern would look so great in a Craft Room.I think I may have to borrow this idea if you don't mind...

  18. Great idea to transform this dress form! And I love that you used the lines on the patterns to give her a look that she might actually be wearing undies! Clever! Thanks for sharing!

  19. Totally a fantastic idea, she turned out beautiful....


  20. I think she's perfect! Love your creative ideas and just became your newest Google follower : )

  21. I love it and finished my own from your inspiration. I am wondering if you used any kind of sealant as a finish coat?

  22. Hey OriginalFindings, that's wonderful, I'm so glad mine inspired you! I only used a coat of PVA on mine though it's just for display, it you were to use yours more 'vigorously' I'm sure you could use all kinds of varnish :)


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