DIY Duct Tape Dress Form


Ok, this is kind of embarrassing but it’s such a useful tool I’m just going to go ahead and put it out there – this exact replica of my body I mean.  The duct tape dress form DIY is nothing new, but I really want you all to create your own so we can show you some new Hot Mess Mommy tops and dresses and you can sew them to fit just right.  My friend Mary and I really worked to perfect the technique and show you all the supplies to make a really effective yet simple custom dress form of your own body super inexpensively.  Get the full tutorial on  How to Make a Duct Tape Dress Form after the jump…

Duct Tape DIY Dress Form

You will need:
-A big, old T-shirt that will be destroyed
-About 50 yards of duct tape (I used five 10-yard rolls).  I got all matchy with our Prudent Baby logo using Duck Tape brand in Tranquil Teal, but it also comes in Island Lime, Green Clover, Red, Yellow Sunshine, Neon Pink, Funky Flamingo, Purple, and Totally Tye Dye for some craft-room coordination.
-One 4′ or 5′ length of PVC tubing depending on how tall you are (can find at any hardware store for a few bucks)
Batting
-Spray Adhesive, I used Aleene’s Tacky Spray
-1 can of Expandable Foam (from the plumbing section of the hardware store)
-A pair of disposable gloves
-An umbrella stand (I used this plastic one from Ikea)

1.  Acquire one best friend (hey everyone, meet my bestie Mary).  Leave your bras on so your boobs retain their normal clothing-wearing shape, then put the old t-shirt on top.  Begin by wrapping tape around each other’s waists like so:

Resist the urge to suck your stomach in.  You need this thing to be your actual size or it’s useless.

2.  Now take the tape and cross it over your chest from the bottom of one boob around the back, then the other side:

3.  Oy, this is getting humiliating.  Using small pieces of tape, tape around your breasts (without smushing them).  Tape up your back and around your shoulders like you have cap sleeves on.  Layer the tape up, you want about three layers in any given spot.  If you want, you can also wrap a piece of old t-shirt around your neck and tape your neck as well, so you’ll also have a neck on your form, but we were running low on tape and had zero intention of going to the store for more looking like this:

Back view:

4.  Now continue to wrap tape around your stomach and your booty.  You want to go further down than this, but I ran out of tape.  If you do it too tight you will regret it, it’s not that fun to wear this much hot sticky tape for long:

5.  Now use scissors to cut open the back of your duct tape body cast, cutting through the t-shirt but being careful not to cut the bra:

6.  Lay your form down and spray the inside of the boobies with spray adhesive:

and stuff them with batting:

Now spray the entire inside with spray adhesive and stick batting to it:

7.  Cut a scrap piece of cardboard and hot glue it to the inside of the neckhole:

Tape the back slit of your form shut and turn the whole thing upside down.  Stuff with more batting or even newspaper or whatever you’ve got:

8. Pour a glass of pinot.  Grab your spray foam and a pair of disposable gloves:

Stick your PVC pipe into the center of your dress form:

And using the long wand on the spray foam, stick the tip down as far as you can and spray the foam around the pole.  Also spray the foam in a few random spots throughout your form.  The foam will be really sticky, it will about triple in size and harden, giving your dress form some heft and cementing your pole in place:

Here is a close up view of what it looks like when you first spray it:

And here is why you should be wearing disposable gloves.  My skin is still peeling off:

9.  Let it set for about four hours or overnight, then turn your dress form over and stick the bottom of the pipe in your umbrella stand, adjusting so the form is as close to your actual height as possible:

Now mine looks like this.  I had to go out and buy more tape to finish it up.

I went ahead and closed the armholes with tape, but you can actually make duct tape arms if you want.  Make sure you indicate where your armholes are with your tape in such a way that you will remember where they are while you are piecing your clothes together:

Tape up the bottom as well.  You could use a piece of cardboard but the tape works just fine:

Add a few more layers of tape to smooth out any ripples, just be sure not to change your shape in the process:

Make a nice neckline.  It’s important to remember where your neck is when sewing:

And a few final wraps around the waist so it’s nice and smooth for pinning:

Done!

by

59 Comments

I BLEED PINK

Thanks for sharing, I am going to have to try this out.(Especially since I can get neon pink tape)

I am curious did your neighbors see you guys…LOL!!

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Julie

Now if only I had a friend who lived nearby who sewed… Because there's NO WAY I'd let one of my friends tape me up like that unless I could tape her up too. LOL

What a great idea, and a heck of a lot cheaper than buying a dressform!

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Kalen

So cool! Sounds like a great project. Now, to figure out where to store it…

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Sarahendipity

I recently found your blog, it is awesome! Thanks for all of your great ideas. It is so fun to be crafty and to be frugal, I love it! ?

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Jacinda

This is incredible!
Ladies: if you make one and send us a photo, I am personally going to send you a present. Let's make some! Let's not let these pictures of Jaime on the interweb be in vain.

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Jenny Lou Who

I've seen tutorials for duct tape dress forms before, but this one is waaaay better than any I've seen! I love the step-by-step photos too. I may do one in pink duct tape. After I move, though. This seems like a lot of work to be smushed in a moving truck by boys who don't know the value of a dress form.

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Kristabelle

I saw something similar to this when I was a teenager, I loved it but couldnt remember how it was done. Thank you so much I am actually going to give this a try. Love it. I will let you know how I go.

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Jaime

i cant wait to see some pictures of neon pink dress forms! thanks everyone for not laughing at me 🙂

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Crystal

I want to make this soOOoOoOooOOO bad!! My only thing is my hubby comes home from deployment in just a few months and if history repeats itself my body shape will change for about nine months.. is there any way to variate your body form without totally making a new one??

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Kate

@ So Blessed! – I am pregnant now, and was just thinking how cute this project would be to remember the belly in the 8th or 9th month! Not to mention, to help make maternity clothes maybe? And then it could be a tongue-in-cheek decoration in the nursery…

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Jessica

Thank you so much for putting this up here!!! I know how much hard work it is to document every step of the way for an already long and kinda messy process. I love this and can't wait to try it!!!!

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Sandy

Holy Cow! The possibilities!!!!!
I'm going to make one in my son's form so I can make some clothes for him for school (He'll be 4 in June).
I can definitely see the benefits of this for when Halloween rolls around… No more squirming toddlers… No more bribing him to hold still while I measure him….
I think I love you. 😀

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Unknown

Very great idea!! I sew a lot and something like this will come in very handy!! Thank you for posting!! I'm going to definitely make one!!!

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Genevieve

May I suggest a warning not to start this project late in the evening if you plan on using a teen and pre-teen as your help. There's just something about seeing mom all duct taped up and barely able to move that wakes up the major giggle monster followed by the "oops! I just duct taped your head." Yea, this little mama was ready to cut herself out and duct tape some kids to the wall. No worries though… no children were harmed… hair will grow back…. I now have my very own dress form. Thanks. 😉

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eileenfp

My 9 year old daughter is just starting to sew. She refuses to use patterns and wants to design her own stuff. I decided we have to make her her own dress form. We are blowing the expanding foam into the entire thing instead of using the batting first. That didn't work for us at all. I read elsewhere that the expanding foam really fills out the parts that need it. Wish us luck!

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Kari

Looks so awesome! I was just curious how it is holding up over time? I’m debating between making yours or buying an inexpensive adjustable dress form…Thanks!

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Jaime

it still looks just like the day i made it. it really holds up well! i may have gained a few pounds though. but that’s not the dress form’s fault.

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Lori T

This is a fabulous tutorial! I had read about this kind of method to make a dressform before but couldn’t get up the nerve to try it. I’m more a visual learner and your pictures are so helpful! Thanks! Plus the wine seems to be mandatory in this version! 🙂

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Whitney

Do you have any issues with the pins leaving holes in the form of have you covered it? I’ve heard people having issues with sticky pins as well due to the duct tape.

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mandy

i just made mine tonight, and can follow up with a pic. I wanted to say this is a great idea, however, shall i do it again i would make some changes. First off, i am big breasted and i should have filled the breast area with something heavier, well actually I think I would just double line it with the batting and then use the foam filler. The batting would keep the form. Although Idk how heavy it would be. I am a size 16 so I also ended up using more of everything and still need more foam 🙂
thank you for your amazing tutorial!

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Solange Coker

Ok Just read your tutorial on this and I must say you are a GENIUS for posting this. Just started mine and so far it came out the same way. However I crumpled newspaper and stuffed it instead of using the batting. Thanks soo much for sharing. Now I can finally start using it to design my outfits.

xoxo

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Alicia

I just found your blog and this great tutorial! This weekend an old but not antique dress form came up free on craigslist. My hubby went and got it for me, but it is a size 2 and I am a size 22. Ha! Anyway, I think that I will use it and this tutorial to make myself a dress form. Thanks again for the great tutorial.

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Heather

I found this site yesterday and could not wait to get home and try this method out on my toddler! I successfully made a dress form in about 1.5 hrs (not including the drying time) but I do have one question – I tried filling the tummy area with stuffing before lining the form yet the tummy still is not holding it’s shape. I have already filled the form and closed it up so is there anything I can maybe add to the outside of it that will help to ensure it doesn’t flatten out on me mid project? Thanks again for the helpful pointers! My daughter and I had a great time with this!

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Things I Should Try Thursday | It's Kinda Funny

[…] DIY Duct Tape Dress Form – Again, in line with me thinking I need to start sewing, a dress form would be really nice. But shelling out money for one close to my body shape does not sound all that appealing – especially when I’m hoping that body shape will be changing over the next few months. This duct tape solution looks fun, much cheaper, and fairly easy to do. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… things i should try […]

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Mary

Thank you so much for this! I was looking for a dress mold in my size, and found that they only go up to a size 20 and I am a 28.

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Cindy

Thank – you so much! I’ve been planning to buy a dress dummy, but they are so expensive that I haven’t yet. This will take care of my problem. Plan to make this as soon as I get all the materials I need. Thanks again for sharing this!

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Alicia

Great post! I had to laugh though. Right under the picture for duct tape step 2, the one where it is basically a duct tape X around your boobs, there was an ad for Chic-fil-A that said “New Grilled Chicken Breasts” all that my phone screen showed was the pic and that ad. I got a case of the

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melinda morrison

I can not wait to try it!!! This looks like the easiest and simplest tutorial that i have found so far!

Reply

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