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Make Your Own Decorative Mannequin Dress Form Using Dollar Tree Items And No Sewing


  1. Large plastic bowel 
  1. Small plastic bowel with details  
  1. Small plastic bowel or I used half of a round sphere, that comes apart.  
  1. Hot glue and glue gun  
  1. Spray paint  
  1. Scissors  
  1. Clay or foam ball  
  1. Balloon or fabric to wrap body  
  1. Base: I made and cut my own template, which you can find in my free library. I also used the handle of an old sponge brush. You could also use a plastic wine glass, a candle holder, or other items. More suggestions below.  
  1. Plastic doll, I used a mermaid from Dollar Tree, because her torso was longer.  
  1. Washi tape, beads, ribbon, and other items for extra decoration 

I have always liked the decorative mannequins, but never bought one. Then one day I came across ReMade Pretty’s YouTube channel, where she made her own decorative mannequins. This inspired me to make my own. If you would like to see her video that inspired me to make my own, then click here.  

mannequin dress form

The first thing I did was go to my Dollar Tree store to find pieces that would go together nicely. Once I gathered all my pieces for the basic shape, it was time to determine the color scheme of my mannequin. I first looked through my wrapping paper to see what options I had; they were very limited. I had this nice white and black flower wrapping paper, and Christmas. My Dollar Tree does not carry a large supply or options of wrapping paper, and I did not want to go to multiple stores. So, black and white, which turned to black, and gold was going to be the color scheme of my mannequin. I think coming up with a color scheme was difficult, so I also did not want to give myself more options, because then it would be harder to decide which way to go.  

Here is the YouTube video if you prefer to watch how I made this piece.

Since my color scheme was black, I decided to spray paint the inside of my clear plastic pieces black. I spray painted the inside of these pieces so the shine of the container would still show. I also kept them simple, and was then going to decorate the outside and add my details there. The clear plastic bowel with the details in it was to pretty to spray paint black. I did not want to lose the details, which I was afraid I would with the dark black color. So, I decided to let this layer stand on its own without any extra decorations, which meant it needed a pretty color that would stand out. I then decided doing pops of gold color on my mannequin would be nice. So, this piece was spray painted gold from the inside, so the details and shine of the container would shine through. I absolutely love the gold on this little decretive bowel. It is my favorite part of this entire piece, and it makes me want to do more projects with this particular piece. If you have any ideas how else I could use this piece in a future project let me know.  

The small round sphere half was not taking the spray paint well. I applied two layers of black spray paint to it, then I finished it off with some black acrylic paint. I think the edges were to rounded and the spray paint would just run off and pool in the middle. So, for this particular piece I would just hand paint the inside with some paint and a paint brush, sponge or soft bristle brush will work best. The other two pieces took the spray paint very nicely.  

Throughout this project, I constantly put things together/assembled the pieces to see how everything was working together and what it still needed.  

The next step was the top mannequin part of my piece. For this I used the torso of a Dollar Tree doll. The mermaids have a longer torso. That is why I got a mermaid instead of the doll. I then pulled off the head, arms, and tail. Maybe I will come up with a project in the future to reuse the tail. If you have any ideas, please let me know. I decided to use a balloon I had on hand to cover the torso of my mannequin. It would give it a nice tight-fitting look. In order for the balloon to be able to fit over the torso, I needed to cut off the very tip of the balloon. I then stretched the balloon over my mannequin torso. At first I put the balloon opening at the waist of this piece, but the balloon did not fit well over the neck portion. I then removed the balloon and put it back on the mannequin, but this time with the opening by the neck. I then discovered I could roll the opening of the balloon down to make an off the shoulder type top for my mannequin. You could cover your entire torso with a fabric, but I actually like this balloon affect and how it comes off the shoulders. I think it makes it look more elegant.  

Next, I made a round ball out of clay and painted it gold. I then stuck this on top of my mannequin’s neck to finish it off. This piece stuck on nicely without the need of glue, but you could apply glue if you wish. You could also use a small round Styrofoam ball, that is typically used for table scatter. I could not find any when I was making this piece, so I decided to use the clay and make my own.  

mannequin dress form

I then cut off a piece from the clothing that came with my mermaid. It was the perfect gold color and fit around my mannequin’s torso perfectly. You could also use a ribbon. I Used this little piece of gold fabric to wrap around my mannequin’s waist to make a nice transition from the round sphere to the waist. I used hot glue to attach this gold fabric around her waist.  

For the next layer, the small round sphere, I decided to add some gold stripes to it. I originally was going to make the stripes out of glitter cardstock or vinyl, then I remembered I had some gold washi tape. This gold washi tape was the perfect size! It was also easier, because I did not have to cut strips of gold cardstock or vinyl. I purchased this particular washi tape from Hobby Lobby, but you can probably find similar ones at other craft stores. I placed layers of my washi tape in a nice pattern. You can see my video for more visuals on how I did this if you need. I also made my strips of washi tape a little longer than I needed so I could wrap them under/around the sphere. This helped them stick better to my piece. 

mannequin dress form
mannequin dress form

I thought about adding little round beads to the ends of the washi tape, but decided to keep it simple. I was not sure if I would like this extra texture added to the piece or if it would make it look less sophisticated. I also could not decided if I should keep the round beads white/cream, or paint them gold if I added them.  

mannequin dress form

I left the next layer alone. I thought there was enough detail in the container, and I did not want to take away from that.  

For the last layer I added my black and white wrapping paper. I started out by tracing a large plate on the back side of my wrapping paper. I then took some scissors and cut out this circle. Next, I placed this circle over my largest bowl. I probably could have cut a little larger of a circle. I was not sure if I had enough of that particular wrapping paper to cut a second larger circle. Although I like that I can still see some of the larger plastic container showing underneath. I had trouble deciding if I liked the piece better with or without the wrapping paper. I think after having it sit out on display for a few days, I have decided I like it with the wrapping paper better. It gives it another layer of texture and design.  

A mannequin also needs a stand to be placed on. You could use a plastic wine glass stem, a candle holder stand, or many other things to make your base. There are many suggestions in ReMade Pretty’s YouTube video. I decided to use my Glowforge to make an elegant leg stand for my mannequin. I will leave the template of the one I made in my free library if you are interested in using it. Just click here to head over to my library. Once I cut out my design, I then painted it gold with some acrylic paint. For the other part of my stand, I used the wooden handle of an old sponge brush that had seen better days. I pulled off the torn sponge part, and painted the handle gold. I then glued my stand together. You can add another piece if you want your stand longer. No one will see what is under the dress, so it will not matter to much what you use to get extra height.  

The last step is to assemble out mannequin.  I stated out by applying some hot glue to the wooden stand and placing it directly to the bottom of my largest plastic bowel. I then just laid my wrapping paper piece on top of the large bowel. Next, I laid my gold plastic bowel on top. You could glue each of these layers in place if you want. I decided to not glue everything down in case I decided to change things up in the future. Next, I glued my mannequin’s torso to the black striped half sphere, and placed this on top of the gold. Now you are finished and can step back to see if anything else is needed.  

For this entire project, I was constantly coming up with ideas as I went along. When I first started, I did not even have an idea of what color I wanted things to be, but it all came together very nicely. I was a little nervous about this piece because I was so unsure on how I wanted things as I was working, but I am really happy with how it turned out. I think these are so neat! This is a project I am the most excited to see what you come up with. Please share your finished pieces with me! If you need suggestions, we can also help give you suggestions and ideas in our facebook group. So, please do not be afraid to share your finished projects, questions, and ideas! 

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