Tips & Tricks How to make a cheap mannequin?

Discussion in 'Costuming and Props' started by Blade9123, Nov 9, 2005.

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  1. Blade9123 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2005

    Hi,

    Can anyone direct me to the best site or information on making my own mannequin for my Vader costume? I have heard of people using PVC pipe to make a costume. That sounds cool but how does not fall down when you put all of the clothing on it.

    I appreciate any info you can provide.

    -Blade
  2. Gecko_Fett Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2003
    star 4
    I will try to find the websites and post them here. I did a wood one.....and it did collapse after 6 months. I have also done one in PVC and it is still holding up!

  3. Bandit-Jedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 4, 2001
    star 2
    check here
    http://www.darthblade.com/maniquin.htm

    This is the one I am going to do. I have yet to go to Lowes and pick up the pipe yet. anyone have a suggestion on what size pvc to use?
  4. Blade9123 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2005
    Thanks for the link.

    I think I am going to use 2" or 2 1/2" pipe

  5. Bandit-Jedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 4, 2001
    star 2
    How is the mannequin progressing?


    I started on mine tonight. After looking at the pipe, I figured that 1 1/2inch would be good enough, so I got a few 5ft lengths of pipe and the fitments and went to work. I'm gonna try to finish it up tomorrow and get a test fit with the costume. I will post pics of everything as it comes together.
  6. Blade9123 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2005
    Here is my mannequin so far.

    http://www3.sympatico.ca/btmaslen/starwars/vader_mannequin.jpg

    I have not fully glued it yet because I have to move the arms to where I want them. Right now it looks like it is striking a pose

    I used 1 1/2" ABS. Those are not the boot I am going to use but are the only ones I have for now. They are my motorcycle boots :)

    The mannequin stands about 6' 8". My Vader costume will be arriving this week so hopefully by the weekend Vader will live :)

    Now I just have to figure out how I am going to get it to stand on its own without falling over.

    -Blade
  7. Bandit-Jedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 4, 2001
    star 2
    I have mine about 80% done. I just need to pad the arms and make the hands. I also need to figure out a safer way of displaying him other than leaning him against a box.

    [image=http://www.legendoffire.com/collect/up-down/VaderMannequin1.jpg]

    I haven't glued mine yet because I want him to be poseable as well as if I want to change something around I can. So now he's like a HUGE Action Figure. I must have spent mayber 30 minutes posing him around. hahah
  8. Blade9123 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2005
    Bandit_Jedi,

    If you have an image of your mannequin before you put the costume on it, post it up!

    Thanks
  9. Bandit-Jedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 4, 2001
    star 2
    I was in such a hurry to put it all together, I didn't take any pics of the finished mannequin before I started building it up. All I used to build up the body mass was balled-up and formed newspaper. I looked at foam, but it was just too expensive for all the padding I would need and I thought I would try newspaper first and see how it came out. I have to deconstruct it to put the arms with the padding on so I will take some pics of it then.
    Lemme go get the pics I have of the lower body structure...

    Here are the ones I took the first night I started the build.
    [image=http://img50.imageshack.us/img50/5830/mannequina3sb.jpg]
    [image=http://img50.imageshack.us/img50/5771/mannequinb3yk.jpg]
    [image=http://img50.imageshack.us/img50/8421/mannequinc0zj.jpg]
    [image=http://img122.imageshack.us/img122/6149/mannequind5ly.jpg]
    [image=http://img122.imageshack.us/img122/4466/mannequine6dp.jpg]
    [image=http://img166.imageshack.us/img166/4818/mannequinf8kp.jpg]

    Hopefully I will have some more tomorrow.
  10. Skaught Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2001
    star 2
    Put on some old clothes and then wrap yourself in plastic wrap. Then have someone wrap you (I'm talking head to neck and out to the finger tips) with duct tape. Then have th e person cut the tape up the legs, back and arms so you can pull it off. Tape the cuts back up, insert a PVC skeleton for rigidity, then stuff it with newspaper or whatever to fill it in. You'll have a life-like body shape in the end!

    Scott
  11. Bandit-Jedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 4, 2001
    star 2
    Doh!
    I totally forgot about the Duct Tape method! Well, there is always room for modification on the mannequin.

    I did the Hands for the mannequin tonight, here is the info and pics
    Here is a detailed view on how I made the Hands for the Mannequin. The may not be pretty, but they get the job done.

    Materials used:
    -Corrugated Cardboard
    -1/2 inch OD (outside diameter) corded tubing
    -18 gauge Copper Wire
    -Hot Glue/Gun

    Here you can see the completed hand top
    [image=http://img375.imageshack.us/img375/6124/manniquinhandsd3dl.jpg]

    and bottom
    [image=http://img375.imageshack.us/img375/3305/manniquinhandse3nc.jpg]

    Here shows a completed hand on the right-side and the pieces to build the other hand on the Left.
    [image=http://img109.imageshack.us/img109/744/manniquinhandsa1tr.jpg]

    All I used was some cardboard from a box and I traced a shape of the Main part of my hand (palm only) and then cut the pattern out of the cardboard into 5 separate pieces.

    Take the 5 pieces and line them up and Hot Glue them together. I had to glue an extension onto the wrist area to add more rigidity once it was pushed inside the pvc pipe. I didn't want the hands slipping out while holding anything.
    [image=http://img375.imageshack.us/img375/5386/manniquinhandsf2ej.jpg]

    Mark off the Area for your thumb and make sure you do one Left hand and one Right hand! You want to take the copper wire and bend it back on itself 3 times to where it will have a loop of the wire going inside the tube. This is so the fingers will be poseable.
    [image=http://img375.imageshack.us/img375/6421/manniquinhandsg4fe.jpg]

    Push the looped wire inside the tube and you should have 2 end prongs sticking out, shove those inside the corrugated areas of the cardboard and hot glue them there. You might want to compare placement of the fingers up against the glove you are using. The wires run all the way through the hand and I looped them around the outside edge and hot glue them in place there to give the thumb more stability. (see pics at top of post for reference)
    [image=http://img381.imageshack.us/img381/1084/manniquinhandsh0ri.jpg]
    Repeat the steps for all other fingers and keep checking the spacing of the fingers with the glove or your own hand.

    Here is the hand inside of the glove
    [image=http://img381.imageshack.us/img381/6314/manniquinhandsj6gb.jpg]

    And Finally...A pic of Vader holding his TESB Force FX lightsaber!
    [image=http://img103.imageshack.us/img103/4183/manniquinhandsk7eo.jpg]

    I actually had to positing one of the pinky fingers under the saber so it would hold it up acting as a base while the other fingers kept it from moving to the sides acting as a fence to keep the saber in his "grip"

    The only drawback Is there is no way I would want to keep Vader holding the TESB FX saber for 2 reasons:
    1) My TESB FX already has a place of honor next to my SE poster.
    2) The weight of the Saber throws off the balance of the Mannequin.

    I would hate to come home one day and see vader on the floor atop my crushed FX saber! ahhaah
  12. Bandit-Jedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 4, 2001
    star 2
    Finished the buildup on the arms earlier tonight. I just removed the arms from the shoulder joints and wadded some newspaper into specific shapes to build up the musculature. Once the arms looked filled out enough I covered it with plastic wrap and taped it down. This is how I built up the musculature on the other sections of the Mannequin as well.

    Here is pic of the inner side of the right arm
    [image=http://img36.imageshack.us/img36/2291/mannequing5my.jpg]

    And here is a top-outer side shot of the arm. I created a shoulder bulb(top left hand corner of pic) that would extend past the joint to increase the size of the shoulders and give it that wide shoulder look.
    [image=http://img493.imageshack.us/img493/998/mannequinh6ve.jpg]

    Vader striking fierce pose with his TESB FFX saber
    [image=http://img493.imageshack.us/img493/6121/mannequini2wf.jpg]

    And now, my favorite pic so far...
    Me and Vader Facing off!
    [image=http://img105.imageshack.us/img105/1376/mannequinj4hq.jpg]

    I have to say, when I ignited my TESB Luke while standing in front of The Dark Lord himself....I was just taken to a Galaxy far, far away. It seemed so unreal to be facing down DV himself with my own lightsaber. How many years did I spend dreaming of such a moment.
    Now, all I have to figure out is how to create and Android that I can put the costume on and then duel with, hahaha
  13. Blade9123 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2005
    That looks great! I hope to get my Vader done by next weekend.

    I noticed you had a lightsaber mounted beside your poster in the picture. What did you use to mount it vertically?

    Thanks
  14. VillieGee Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 30, 2002
    star 3
    My friend an I did the duct tape deal to make a mannequin for a dress she made. We only made the top half, but with 3 layers of tape, the newspapers were enough to keep its shape. Just pack it tight and you won't need a skeleton.
  15. Bandit-Jedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 4, 2001
    star 2
    Thanks!
    Be sure to get picks up when you finish yours, I would love to see it and compare since you used a different skeleton design.

    That is a custom made Vertical Saber mount made for the FFX sabers. You can get them at fx-sabers.com in the storefront section. It's kinda pricey, but well worth it once you see it in person.
  16. Blade9123 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2005
    Bandit_jedi,

    The vertical mounts look sweet.

    Do you have any other close up pics of them?

  17. Bandit-Jedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 4, 2001
    star 2
    I don't have any right now, but I can take some real quick! ;)
  18. Bandit-Jedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 4, 2001
    star 2
    pic of the Top of the Vertical Saber Mount
    [image=http://img469.imageshack.us/img469/1208/vertsaberholdertop1vf.jpg]

    Pic of the Bottom of the Vertical Saber Mount
    [image=http://img469.imageshack.us/img469/7621/vertsaberholderbottom9wr.jpg]


    The Design of the bottom piece was meant to replicate the original design of the bottom of a Graflex hilt as you would see it from the bottom. Pretty neat design element.
  19. Blade9123 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2005
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