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How to Dress a Mannequin: 7 Ways to Give It a New Look

By on June 7, 2012 — Updated on June 14, 2013

It is quite expensive to buy a new mannequin and you perhaps keep your old dummies in the store room when it has damaged parts. But, what you actually need to do is to dress them to give them a new look.  How to dress a mannequin? Well, if you are naturally born creative, it would be very easy for you.

If you have  kept your ugly mannequins for long time, you better get them out from your store room after reading the following suggestion on how to give your old dummies a new look; or even if you are still using it in your display now, you can apply these ideas to revitalize the attractiveness of your stuff.

1. Change the Complexion

In other words, repaint your mannequin. You are free to choose the color that would match to your taste and to the taste of the customers in the first place. You can repaint it with black, brown, off white, silver or gold colors. In our last project, my co-artist (visual merchandiser) had painted our old mannequin with mixture of silver and black to look like a metallic mannequin, see the photo above. That mannequin was partly broken and we have just use the hot melt glue to connect the arms and the shoulder.

How to Dress a MannequinImage by Jenner8675309.

2. Body Painting

If you don’t want to repaint your mannequin, you can use body painting instead because it will not require you to totally paint the whole body of the mannequin. You can use poster color or water color to cover the damaged part with decorative body painting. I have tried also doing this to our old mannequin which has damaged wrists. The bolts were lost so I only stuck the wrist with packing tape and applied partial body painting on it to hide the packing tape. The example on the photo above is an example of a very creative mannequin body painting.

Tips on How to Dress a Mannequin Image (same as fp) by wallyg.

3. Apply Artificial Make-up

Sometimes the colors on the face of an old mannequin are faded so you can make it fresh again by applying artificial make-up. You can use a cheap party make-up but just be careful that the products you are selling will not be stained by the artificial make-up that you used. If you do not know how to apply make-up, you can find some ideas from old magazines and follow the style of the make-up of some models from it.

Image by ivan.gilkes.

4. Novelty Mask

On the other hand, you can use mask if you do not want to apply an artificial make up on your old mannequin. We haven’t tried this yet but I have seen mannequins that wear mask, sometime a head of an animal, sometimes a party mask, sometimes a Halloween mask and so on.

Image by dw*c.

5. Use Headdress

You can create a personalized headdress if you want but if you have ready-made one, much better. Explore you imagination because it is free and every one of us is abundant of it. You can use flowers, leaves, feathers grass, twigs, hay, straw and many other free materials that are just available around. Recycling is also good idea to apply when making your personalized headdress.

Image by sallykendallmosaics.

6. Apply Mosaic and Collage

This is something like body painting but what you need to apply is mosaic and collage (of course). This is quite weird to look at when finished but it would surely give a new look to your old mannequin. You can choose either to cover the whole body with patched-like effects or just apply it on some parts of your mannequin.

Image by myny1974.

7. Recompose the Parts and the Pose

In addition to dressing your dummies, give your mannequin some active and dynamic look. If your mannequin is manufactured to be standing, detached the waist and let it sit. If the arms are manufactured to be hanging down try to raise them up. Use some adhesives and other binding material to achieve this purpose. You can also hang them or plank them down for a change.

Do have other tips on how to dress a mannequin?

You can add them as comment. Thank you for reading. Godspeed!

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  1. Gary Martin

    June 10, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Painting mannequins can be difficult unless done by a professional artist.
    Using headdresses of flowers seems to be very in trend these days. It’s a great way to diversify the looks of mannequins. Thanks for the ideas.

  2. Marie

    June 11, 2012 at 6:48 am

    When I was a kid I always fear mannequins 😀 I now am able to appreciate them as displays and the fear has subsided somehow hehe.

  3. Cleiton

    June 15, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    I will be sharing this content with my friends for sure.

  4. tatess

    June 17, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    gone are the days when mannequins are just standing dressed inside the display windows.Visual merchandisers made the display windows more exciting and catch to get the customers attention.
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  5. metalpig design

    June 17, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Visual artists nowadays really knows how to make people not only glance but totally stop and appreciate on how they creatively dressed and portrayed those window display mannequins… 😛
    I invite you to read: Liquid Flowers High Speed Photography Series by Jack LongMy Profile

  6. judi

    June 18, 2012 at 8:06 am

    Thanks for posting this. At Mannequin Madness have a mannequin boneyard with distressed mannequins at discount prices and this will give our customers some great ideas

  7. tatess

    June 27, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Body painting is not easy to do.I just don’t know who are easy to work on, the live one or the mannequin?
    I invite you to read: Vote for Filipino Bloggers Worldwide’s LogoMy Profile

  8. Joe Lawson

    November 15, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    This is a great article, managed to take a lot from it and have passed it on to a few colleagues. I also found this great article on how to correctly dress a mannequin, may be of use to anyone, like myself, who was looking for information on how to go about it!

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