How to Make an Adjustable Duct Tape Mannequin




Introduction: How to Make an Adjustable Duct Tape Mannequin

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Do you have a hard time building costumes on yourself? Are you building a costume commission for someone who isn't even there? Well, perhaps a mannequin would help! Rather than spend hundreds of dollars on a store-bought one, this tutorial is to teach you how to make a REUSABLE version for a fraction of the price.

Let's get started!


- 2-4 rolls of duct tape

- 1 pair of disposable pants (tight)

-1 long sleeve shirt (tight)


- saran wrap


- dowel rods

- Thick gauge wire

-power drill



- 1 cross PVC adapter

- Lots of news paper

- (4) 45 degree adapters

- (3) T PVC adapter

- (6) 90 degree PVC adapter

- styrofoam head (optional)

Step 1: Clothes and Duct Tape Suit

You can see two sets of pictures. 1 for a female and 1 for a male.

1) Put on the tight clothes. Remember, these should be fairly tight, as you want a good estimation of the body you are trying to copy.

2) Grab your duct tape and start ripping strips to put on your suit. Do NOT simply attach 1 strap of tape to the person and wrap it around their body. You need multiple shorter strips. The reason for this is because the duct tape suit will be too tight on the person you are taping up if you just keep wrapping them in 1 continuous strip. It will tighten, which can cause blood constriction and poor circulation.. So remember. Multiple strips > 1 long continuous strip

3) tape EVERYTHING... Body, knees, arms, elbows, neck, groin, etc. When you get to the neck, grab your saran wrap and create a fake collar first IF the shirt does not extend high enough.

Step 2: Cut the Duct Tape Skin Off

1) Once your person is completely taped off, CAREFULLY cut the suit off the person.

* It may be helpful to use some safety scissors, especially around the tighter areas like the ankles and wrists.

* Make sure the cut is in the back of your duct tape suit.

Step 3: Skeleton

Black= PVC tubes.... Green = PVC Adaptors (pic 1)

1) Assemble your PVC skeleton.

* the measurements will be up to you in terms of how big you wish to make this skeleton.

2) IF you want to make an adjustable skeleton, you will have to saw each pipe in half at the red line. (Pic 2)

*It is best to label each matching PVC piece with such writings as "left forearm A: A".. "Right hip, B:B"

3) Drill holes every 1 inch along EACH PVC pipe (pic 3)

4) Drill holes every 1 inch along EACH Dowel rod (pic 4)

5) Put the dowel rod inside the associated PVC pipe, and poke your thick gauged wire into the drilled holes when you figured out how big the skeleton needs to be.(pic 5 + 6)

Step 4: Fill Your Suit

1). Wrap your cut tape suit around the PVC skeleton

2) Tape the seams together with more duct tape and start filling the suit with crinkled up news paper. You should crinkle up the news paper and then stuff it in the suit to create volume and fill up the suit well.

3) if you want some perspective, you can attach a styrofoam head to the mannequin and even put a helmet on the thing if needed to help with size proportion.

Step 5: Single Parts

Maybe you don't need a whole suit.. maybe you just need to work on some gauntlets or a bicep piece?..

1. Wrap up your limb in saran wrap.

2. Tape up that limb with strips of duct tape

3. cut off the skin

4. fill with news paper

5. reseal with duct tape.

Step 6: Finished!

Once fully assembled, you can now work on your costume build without the person there. The build is also very useful if you are assembling a suit for yourself. Now that it is complete, get your cosplay on!

-I have used to to help fit dresses (pic 1)

- I have used it to airbrush Zentai suits (pic 2)

- I have used it to create armor pieces (pic 3)

- I have used it to construct full body suits (pic 4)

- I have used it to paint and dry foam armor (pic 5)

Oh, the best part is dismantling the suit once you are finished with it. I suggest trying out your favorite WWE wresting move out, such as the Ultimate Warrior Gorilla Press (pic 5). When you are done, just rip the duct tape suit off, empty out the news paper, but keep the PVC and dowel rods for next time!

For more current projects, please feel free to find Spicy Panda Creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr.

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    4 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I've been giving some thought to using foam insulation to fill the suit for a more permanent mannequin (for myself at least, lol). This would make draping easier, since you wouldn't be getting sticky pins from the duct tape.

    I'd appreciate your thoughts on this!


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Ooo. That is a pretty nifty idea. I'm just thinking that you'd still get sticky pins if u filled the duct tape shell with foam. You'd still have to pierce the duct tape. I do like the foam idea. I think it wud make it very sturdy. But that also means you'd be buying a few cans of expandable foam. And that depends on how much you are wanting to spend.. Only one way to find out though!


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    after filling it with foam, I think you could pull the tape off- but it might be that a plaster of paris cast would work better. I'm still thinking about it, lol!