Fashion Mannequin Is Fiberglass Reinforced Paper Craft

[Leah and Ailee] run their own handmade clothing business and needed a mannequin to drape their creations onto for display and photography. Since ready-made busts are quite pricey and also didn’t really suit their style, [Leah] set out to make her own mannequins by cleverly combining paper craft techniques and fiberglass.

[Leah] started by looking for suitable 3D models as a base for her design. The right one was found on opengameart.com, loaded into Blender, and underwent a few serious modifications including heavy use of the decimate tool before it became a stylish low-poly bust.

The reduced number of triangles also allowed [Leah] to manufacture her design with help of Pepakura, a software that unfolds 3D geometries and turns them into (2D-) printable templates for papercraft models. The printed templates were then cut out from cardboard, assembled, and reinforced with fiberglass and polyester resin. [Leah] tackled this step outdoors for good ventilation and also used a full respirator and safety gloves, considerately avoiding the toxic styrene fumes and irritating glass dust.

After a bit of sanding and a final paint job, the bust was ready to go into service as a model for Myth Of The West. If you seek to replicate [Leah’s] efforts, the open source project Make Human is a likewise great resource for to-size human models, and we’ll be glad to hear your ideas and suggestions in the comments!

19 thoughts on “Fashion Mannequin Is Fiberglass Reinforced Paper Craft

  1. This is a nice hack but commercial busts like this are only about $50 delivered. Maybe $100 for a nicer one. I cannot imagine the time and material cost was under that.

    1. At least act like you read the post…

      “In the end, it probably wasn’t any less expensive than buying a cheap display form, but it was a really fun project! I think it makes sense to have our handmade clothing displayed on a handmade mannequin. “

      1. I did read the editorialized post. “Since ready-made busts are quite pricey” is not even close to accurate. I get that they wanted to make their own but it’s not fair to say that ready-made busts are quite pricey when they really are not and that’s not a valid reason to make your own. There might be other reasons, which is perfectly fine, but that’s not really a fair point for the editor to make as a valid reason why these were made.

        Also, the Lara Croft 1.0 chest cannot be unseen.

    1. At least act like you read the post…

      “In the end, it probably wasn’t any less expensive than buying a cheap display form, but it was a really fun project! I think it makes sense to have our handmade clothing displayed on a handmade mannequin. “

      1. Maybe read mine first, I said I like it, I said great for many uses, I said not buying the price vs effort. More was spent on resin than the “post ” led me to believe. And in your own statement to my reply, you reinforce my statement by saying, it probably wasn’t less expensive.

      2. Side note, trying being nice as I tried to be, you could have just said thanks, we just loved doing it, and it wasn’t really less expensive. Who knows, I might have said, hey, btw, I am the head fashion photographer xyz, let me shoot your line?

        1. To be fair to Pete, your comment was sharp, and showed no interest in the line. I’m sure this is not the case, but your last, additional comment might appear to be ‘Don’t you know who I am?’. I’m sure its not the case, but some may interpret it as a power play to get a grovelling apology and make them feel like they’ve lost out on some potential opportunity.

          As I’m sure both of you are awesome, why not take the opportunity to get together, and make use of the pepakura technique as a means to create quick and interesting sets to augment your shoots? You’ve both got expertise here.

  2. I think this was a great project! My senior design project years ago required a human form and I didn’t want to shell out for a mannequin either. This is a much more elegant solution to me wrapping my buddy in saran wrap and covering that in packing tape. I think this process would be well suited for other fun projects, like polygon animals to put in a garden, Halloween decorations, interesting hand shelves/jewelry racks, etc. Nice job!

      1. Interesting…

        Do you happen to know, that if you have a load of shapes, say triangular offcuts, all the same, that you can use it to experiment to see what shapes you could build out of them?

  3. Might be interesting to use this process to make mannequins with a customers measurements (just in cardboard, no need to fibreglass it) so they can make bespoke clothes without needing the customer to be in the store.

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