Duct Tape & Decoupage

Over the years I've come across several tutorials for creating duct-tape dress forms, and I've always been intrigued by the idea of having a custom-made mannequin. Patterns can be unpredictable (I'm a size WHAT??!), and I've been longing for a break from the confines otherwise-known-as McCall's and Simplicity. Enter "Duckie," as I've just affectionately named her. She's a slightly more rotund version of me (thanks to physics, it's almost impossible to get the form in your EXACT shape, but the dimensions are perfect) constructed of two rolls of duct tape, an old nightshirt, fabric scraps, a men's suit hanger, the stuffing from several old pillows and miscellaneous other objects that Scott thought would be fun to throw in.

I'm not going to get into detailed instructions of how we completed this feat (you can see that for yourself here), but here are the highlights. First, I put on an old, thigh-length nightgown I found at the thrift store. Next, Scott wrapped me in several layers of white duct tape (it took two, 60' rolls).

Creating my Duct Tape Dress FormLet me just say that I don't recommend this project to anyone who's claustrophobic.

After we cut off the form, I placed a men's suit hanger inside and stuffed the form with poly-fil and fabric scraps. I sealed the armholes with more duct tape and then went in search of a base.

Scott was going to help me build something out of metal pipe and/or PVC and wood, but instead, I found this perfect, used store fixture for sale at Thrifttown on 33rd South. After finagling a couple pieces of it and adding a piece of PVC to the inside of the actual dress form, I was almost done!

BUT OF COURSE, I needed to prettify the base. I've never used Mod Podge before, but after stumbling across the awesome blog, Mod Podge Rocks, I was determined to try it. Here were the necessary supplies:

  • Sandpaper or rotary sander
  • White paint (I used some leftover from our house)
  • Paint brush (thanks, Scott, for the new eco-friendly ones!)
  • Scissors
  • Colorful paper (I used some Amy Butler scrapbook paper I found at Michael's)
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Mod Podge - gloss
  • Acrylic Gloss Spray Finish
  • ...a little imagination


First, I disassembled and sanded the base. After cutting out my honeycomb shapes and piecing them together, I applied them to the top and sides of the base using a layer of Mod Podge. I put an additional three layers of Mod Podge on top (let it dry half an hour between each coat), and I let the whole thing dry overnight. Finally, I sprayed a coating of the acrylic gloss spray finish and put the whole thing back together (after it dried, of course!). I am so happy with the results!

My Duct Tape Dress FormThe Bust of my Duct-Tape Dress FormThe Decoupaged Base of my Duct Tape Dress FormNow, I can't wait to actually make something using the dress form!