Monday, August 25, 2014

Make Your Own Dress Form with Duct Tape.

My heart is heavy today. Heavy. Like really real stuff. I'm attributing some of these raw feelings to the New Moon today. I actually did a post on the New Moon today over at Lotus Tarot. I don't want to give into these raw feelings too much.. other than take the path of healing that this Virgo Moon is urging. Self love, self healing, forgiveness, and acceptance..

Anyways, this post is not on the New Moon. I posted this picture yesterday with the promise of finally posting that body form tutorial! (Also, cute kitten alert!)

So, here is a little bit about the dress form...  I woke up one day, and told Sterling I had an idea. I set a budget for $35.00 and we ended up going over a bit. I thought I'd only need 3 rolls of duct tape. Boy was I wrong. It was still under the price of a regular body form, and this one has my exact measurements.

Sorry for the rough photos.. My house was a giant mess the day I decided to do this!

What you will need:
Lamp post, coat rack, basically anything with legs for you to put the body form on.
Topper (Optional) This is for the "head" I ended up using a decorative ball and candlestick. I painted them, and glued them together. It's perfect!
Duct tape
Plastic Wrap
Old T-shirt
Hot Glue
Ribbon or Trim (Optional)
I found this lamp at the thrift store for $6. It was perfect. 
We trimmed the cord off and I painted it black and silver. 

For the topper, I used a candle stick and decorative ball. I also painted them black and silver. 
To make the paint look like a dark brushed silver, I painted it black then did small spurts of black and silver on the stand and the topper. The end result looks like an antique metal. 

Next is the not so fun part.

You will probably need someone to help tape you. Wear a t-shirt you never plan on seeing again, as it will become part of your dress form. Have someone duct tape you up. To get true measurements, it needs to be pretty tight. It can get a bit hard to breathe, plus you will want to sit... That's probably too bad, cause sitting or doing anything will add lumps and wrinkles. So be prepared to stand still, with shallow breathing and a bit of back pain. Oh yeah, it might be hot. 

Oh, and please have extra tape. We ran out, of tape. Sterling had to run to the store and buy more.
It was rough. 

Put plastic wrap around anywhere the tape will touch your skin. I only used it on my neck because my sleeves were long enough. Please notice the lack of smile on my face. We may have taped me up a bit too tight and at that point it was taking way longer than I thought. It was worth it through. 

Once you look like you are ready for a little space party in your duct tape dress.. it's time to take it off! 
Now assuming you trusted the person who taped you up, hand them a pair of scissors and trust them to cut the space party dress off of you. "Cut the t-shirt and plastic wrap, but NOT my bra! Or my skin. Please." 
A success. 

Now it's time to tape the back up of your empty body form. 
I put some cardboard over the neck and arm holes and taped over them.

The next part is kind of tricky, as you are attaching a body form to a stick. 
And I'm going to kind of step out of this "how to" for a moment and tell you you may be on your own for this part. Each stick or stand is going to be different. We used a lamp post for crying out loud. I kind of let Sterling figure it out. I was taking advantage of taking deep breaths and sitting again.  

What I think we ended up doing was sticking the pole through the body and screwing it through the neck. We used glue, screws, and more glue until it finally stood. 

The next part is stuffing it. You want to stuff it so it's pretty full, but not too full, because then you can end up with a hunch back, or lopsided butt. So, fill it up just enough.. not too full. Mine ended up having a bit of lumpy hips, which I was able to fix just a bit. (Also I do have bony hips) 
It turns out when I stand I tend to pop a hip out and keep my weight on one leg more than the other, so my dress form looks like she is full of sass. I love it. 

Then cover your body form with fabric. I chose to use the red velvet I used in my dining room makeover. I've seen some mod podge newspaper or vintage paper over the tape. Either way, you probably want to cover the tape up. 
(Notice how messy my house is getting?!) 
I covered it with velvet using hot glue and fitted strips of fabric. I tried to keep the strips uniform and fitted, but this time the project had taken about 4 hours more than I thought it was and I was just wanting to be done. 
I hid the seams with white trim and ribbon. This gave it a finished vintage look. 
I think over all the dress form durned out great. There are some minor flaws in it, but it is a copy of me after all.. and aren't we all full of flaws? 
Good luck. If you make one, I'd love to see pictures and help answer questions! 

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  1. Amazing! I've heard of doing it this way, but never saw one turn out so pretty! I may or may not be considering having my hubby tape me up while he's on vacation this weekend...

  2. i made a dress form like this before. it is exhausting!! lol but yours looks great w the red velvet!

  3. This reminds me of those packaging tape sculptures I did in high school. Sooooo claustrophobic!

  4. Mr. Pratt's class?? I remember that. I have some scars from that! The head was the worst.. I almost brought that up in the post!!


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