Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How To Repair A Mannequin

     I have been working on a very special project I am excited to share with you. I am a floral designer and we are working on our prom display. Yes, it's that time again.
     One of my co-workers has an eye for vintage items so thought this might work in our display:
      Unfortunately she needed some repairs
      From her forehead, chin and even down to her toes she looked like she had been in a warehouse for a while.
          Her neck also had to be repaired. As soon as I saw her I could picture her restored but where do I start? Well, first I cleaned her up to remove any grease or dirt. Then I figured I couldn't just gesso the worn spots or she might look like she had chicken pox so I decided I needed to do some patch work.
     After some light sanding and removal of chipped paint, I tried some spackling filler, wrong! It just wouldn't stick. Next I thought about wood filler. Wrong again. While I played with the fillers, I decided to match a paint sample. I just couldn't get the right shade.
     Then I had the most brilliant idea. Since you can unlock all the pieces (hands, arms, legs etc) I put one of the hands in a bag and headed off to Home Depot. You know the commercial where they tell you they do color matching? Well it works! After the lady in the paint Department got over the shock of a really life like looking hand we were able to match the color perfectly and even went with a satin finish to match what was already on the Mannequin.
     The next step was to figure out what on earth to use to fill the pox marks with? The base is actually covered with a fiberglass however the bonding agent had to be mixed and used within 5 minutes. This was not a time frame I was at all comfortable with. So the sales lady and I headed over to the patch section in the paint department and agreed Dap's Crack Shot High Performance spackling paste seemed the best choice.

     After a careful patch job, overnight dry time and more light sanding I was finally ready to paint. Are you ready for the big reveal?
 She is such a sultry lady, lol.
You can't even see where the flaws were. I love all the detail she has. The beautiful brown eyes are glass with life like eyelashes. I did have to redo the eyebrows using an archival fine point marker. I could not find a shade to redo the the lips and I felt it was best to leave them alone.
Here she is after dressing and before we find a safe spot to display her.

     Just a note about this mannequin, when I go shopping I find it strange to see clothing displayed on faceless, shapeless figures.This one was produced in 1987 and the detail, not only on the facial features, but on the skeletal frame as well is incredible. She has a very graceful spine but what impressed me was the biceps and the other muscles that were evident. People coming into the store are doing a double take because she truly is life like. This is a challenge I just had to undertake. After all I would do it if only: For The Love Of Art!!!!!!


Christine said...

Great job, your range on art surprises me every time. Btw is that one of my old prom dresses?

Laurie said...


Anonymous said...

I is a great article [nice job], but you don't mention how you painted the mannequin after finishing filling and sanding.

Do you use a brush or spray on after spraying, do you light sand. What grits do you use when sanding is there one grit or do you use multiple. Please respond to fstockautomatic, lease put "MANNEQUIN" in the subject box

Unknown said...

Nice job! I as well have a mannequin that needs help...thanks for sharing this! I may have to give it a whirl. Add it my unfinished project pile!