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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Another Tessie???

No. Not really. I just decided to show you how I make the dress forms that I use for my historic fashions.

For years I used regular Styrofoam for them. Last night I had one of those 3:00AM "Aha moments". For some reason floral foam, the dry kind, popped into my head,,,,Hey! Sometimes those 3:00AM ideas work. This one did, so I thought you might like to try it.

Feel free to use the drawings. Just blow them up to 4 1/2 inches and cut a piece of foam about the same size I used a piece that was about 4 1/4" high, side view 1", and front view 1 1/4".

I took a pencil and drew the shapes into the foam. I wouldn't be surprised if builder's foam would work as well.

Then I used a steak knife to cut away the four sides just a bit outside the lines.

After I got it cut out, I started chipping away at the corners with an Exacto knife. Do it just a little at a time. You can cut away, but it is hard to put back.

When it is close to the right shape, take another chunk of foam and use it just like a sanding block.

I'll warn you. This step is very messy. Do it over a paper plate or a newspaper or something else that you are willing to throw away. Good luck with static cling!

Next you have to brush all of the fuzzy bits off of the form. Then make sure it stands up straight, by itself.

Then you hire Tessie to do the icky gesso part. My gesso has been left open to the reallllly icky stage. It is about the consistency of peanut butter. It would definitely stick to the roof of your mouth, if it were edible.

Get the first coat as smooth as you can and you may not have to do a second coat.

You do have to sand it carefully after it is dry....The object is to make it smooth without cutting through to the green. If you do, just paint it again and sand it some more.

I can see all kinds of possibilities for this technique. Let me know if you come up with other things. I would love to see.

I am going to have to wait for it to dry for at least 8 hours.

Tessie and I both have to go wash our hands up to our elbows now.

See you tomorrow with the finished mannequin.


Norma Bennett said...

Great idea Casey, yay for the cretive 3am brain :) You didn't half give me a fright tho with the headline "another Tessie" - the world isn't ready for TWO!!

Kathi said...

What a great (messy) idea! I've been looking for a dress form for Grandma's attic. Maybe I'll give this a try?

Contrastes-Rosa Mª said...

Una idea estupenda para hacer el cuerpo, gracias por compartirla ,me ha encantado.
Un saludo

dalesdreams said...

What a cool idea! Thanks for sharing this.

I would probably be coated head to toe with the stuff! ;)

Lucille said...

How very original, Casey! I love it.

Drora's minimundo said...

I love your 3AM creative thoughts. I once read about making garden forms, those decorative trees that are cut in animal shapes (I do not know the English word for that) from this foam.

Case di Bambola said...

That's such a smart way of making mannequins! I might try and make a few as well for my ladies shop, following your tutorial :)
Mini hugs, Lucia

Linda said...

This is a lovely idea! Thanks for sharing!

Merri said...

Excellent tut on making a dress form for dolls, out of styrofoam block! Now why didn't I think of that, so clever!! I can see that Tessie likes it means the less fittings for her! Great Tut!