Tutorial: Duct Tape Dress Form + Duck Tape Giveaway! *CLOSED* ~ Diane's Vintage Zest!

Tutorial: Duct Tape Dress Form + Duck Tape Giveaway! *CLOSED*

A while ago I introduced you to Jade, the turquoise duct tape version of me.  She was one of the first sewing aids I ever made, and unfortunately she isn't in the best shape anymore...  A little bit lumpy, and she's gotten shorter over time.  This isn't supposed to happen for a few more decades!

I had to perform all kinds of cropping acrobatics with my garment pictures, and it was honestly embarrassing.  So, a plan was born!

My plans for a new dress form included the following improvements:
1. Neutral color
2. Better stuffing
3. Improve surface contouring & appearance
4. Affix more sturdily on the coat rack
5. Close the neckholes and arm holes with a better method

I was able to work with Duck Tape brands in order to find the best tape for the job, and they generously provided me with 5 rolls of their Original Duck Tape in white.  And the best part of it is, they are offering my readers the chance to win some of their fantastic products!  Six rolls of solid colors and six rolls of patterns.  Wow!  Yes, this is the same Duck Tape used on the Project Runway episode three weeks ago on those fantastic Prom Dresses!  More on that later and read on for the giveaway details.  :)

But first, the tutorial!  I have included several handy tips from both of my experiences making the dress forms.

Hello, Lily!
Bye, bye Jade.  :(  She's so smushed and wrinkly!

What You Will Need
  • Duck Tape, (3 - 5 rolls) - I used just over 4 rolls for the total of 4 layers.  I'm 5'0" so adjust accordingly!
  • Scissors
  • Hanger (sturdy enough to hold the weight of your dress form and garments)
  • Cardboard
  • Stuffing (the kind used for upholstery, or newspapers in a pinch)
  • Coat rack or lamp (optional)
  • Paper towel rolls (1 - 2, optional)
  • A very patient and detailed assistant!

1. If you are not using a coat rack or lamp, skip to step 2.  If you are using the coat rack, adhere the hanger to the pole as shown.  Give it a good tug to make sure it can handle the weight of the dress form.

Tip: Do these steps prior to making the dress form, so you can start stuffing it right away after cutting off the tape.

2. This is optional, but I absolutely recommend it.  Measure the cross-section of your waist so you can make an internal support.  For my waist measurement, it was exactly the size of one paper towel roll!  For a smaller waist measurement, cut it down.  For a larger waist measurement, tape two paper towel rolls together.

3. Wearing only the undergarments you are most likely to wear under your clothes, have your assistant wrap you in plastic food wrap very carefully.  However, if you need to be more modest, wear the thinnest shirt you own to avoid adding too much bulk.

4. Begin taping in the bust area: Use small pieces to go over any rounded areas.  Cover the entire front of the chest and shoulders from the neck until just under the bust (above the red line in the picture).  The first layer is MOST important because it is tough to remove from the plastic wrap.  The next layers are much easier to adjust.

Instead of covering the rest of the body next, add the two final layers on top of the area you just covered.

Tip: The reason why I suggest taping in sections is because first of all, it is easier for your helper to concentrate on taping the three layers in a smaller section.  Second (and more importantly), it can be pretty claustrophobic and hard to breathe in the duct tape after a while, so by leaving the abdomen free until the last section, it is MUCH easier to breathe!

5. Continue in the back area: Cover the entire back from the neck down to just under the buttock area.  Use longer pieces over the straight areas.  Repeat for the last two layers!

Tip: Tape the long sections by placing the middle of the tape strip in the midline of the body and smoothing outwards to the sides.  It ensures a straight line across the body!  Alternatively, you may tape from top to bottom, which is even easier!

6. Lastly: fill in the entire front abdomen area all the way down until even with the back section.  Repeat for the last two layers!

7. Make a small mark at the waistline with a pen.

8. Cut the dress form off of the body along the midline of the back, making sure to avoid cutting through your undergarments.

9. Place the bottom of the dress form on the cardboard.  Trace and cut out the board.  Add a hole if using a coat rack or lamp.  Set aside.

10. Place your dress form on the hanger and tape your paper towel rolls at the waistline, using your mark as a guideline.

11. Before taping the back of the dress form closed, remeasure all of the important measurements (high bust, chest, waist, hips) to make sure they correspond with the dress form.  Adjust for any differences when applying the pieces of tape in the back to close.

Mine was about 1.5 inches off!
Small strips across first, then a large strip from top to bottom.
It will be hanging on your hanger/pole, but I did it this way for photographing purposes.

12. Place some of the stuffing in the torso area before placing the cardboard in the bottom (just so it doesn't take as long later), making sure to stuff around the paper towel support.  Cover the cardboard with duct tape and tape to the dress form itself using long pieces of tape.

13. Continue to stuff the dress form through the neck and arm holes, paying attention to the bust and behind the hanger.

I ended up using two big bags from my friend's upholstery class!

14. Cover the arm holes and neck with three layers of tape.

15. This is optional, but add another layer of tape to clean up any messy areas.

Back before adding the last layer
Back after the 4th layer.

Tip: For rounded areas of the dress form, notch the curved section to avoid large wrinkles.

Tip: Small notches across the abdomen and back are good for laying the tape flat.


The OCD in me sees a ton of areas to clean up still!

Duck Tape Giveaway

My dress form was obviously made of Duck Tape, and it was absolutely amazing and easy to work with!  I highly recommend it, especially after having experiencing another brand while constructing my first dress form.

Secondly, I wanted to mention the Project Runway episode where they used Duck Tape to make prom dresses.  The designs were seriously good!  I mean, check out the winning design.  You know, how I love my houndstooth!

The rest of the designs were just as amazing!  I'm a sucker for the nonconventional materials challenges on Project Runway, but with so many mentions of duck tape prom clothing from MTV to ABC News, it almost can't be considered unconventional at this point!  With Prom season coming up, the folks over at Duck Tape will be having another Stuck at Prom contest, so stop by to enter or peruse for fun inspiration.

While I was looking up dress form tutorials, I stumbled upon a ton of other duct tape projects.  The long list includes wallets, beach bags, bracelets and even home decor, so whomever wins will have tons of options for their duct tape project!

Giveaway Rules and Details

1. Eligibility: Open to U.S. residents.

2. Entry Deadline: April 5th, 2013 at 11:59pm PST.

3. Winner selection & Notification: The winner will be selected from the eligible entries after the deadline.  The winner will have 24 hours to respond or else another entry will be drawn.

4. How to enter: Use the Rafflecopter widget below to earn a possible 32 entries.

Good luck to everybody!

This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you make a purchase using one of the links, a small commission will go to support Vintage Zest.  I will only recommend sites with products that I think you will love and enjoy!


  1. I'm totally gonna make a dress form like you did! Thanks!

    1. I hope it turns out well. :) Good luck in the giveaway!

  2. I would totally make the same thing!!

  3. I'd use the duct tape to make "another me"!

    1. Gotcha! I hope my tips help a bit, if you win!

  4. I think I should start small and make some bracelets or a purse if I win.

  5. That's an amazing project that I seriously would never have thought of making. It must have taken you ages - well done! I really like all of your link ups this week btw.

    Thanks for linking up!

    Sarah @ A Cat-Like Curiosity

  6. I am using Duck Tape to make my on Dress Form, I am molding it to my body so the shape will be just what I need.

  7. I've been planning to make one of these for two years and just have not gotten to it yet. I need a model because I don't want to be the one to get taped. The version I saw done was constructed differently, actually on the person! Glad you did it. It came out nicely!

  8. I think I'll start small - a wallet, or some of those awesome rosettes I've seen floating around the internet.

  9. That is a really cool idea! Never thought of making a dress form out of duct tape.

    I'm a new follower.
    If you have a home organization blog post that you've done or are doing in the next month - I would like for you to link it up at our Linky Home Organization Blog Hop since April is Spring Cleaning month over at our blog. Link up now: http://bit.ly/XDWic2

  10. How crazy is it that I was just looking into this today?? Thanks so much for all the info!

  11. This is such a clever way to make a dress form! Thanks so much for linking this up as well at Give Me The Goods Monday!

    Jenna @ Rain on a Tin Roof

  12. If I'm lucky enough to win her she will proudly go into my little home shop (made out of my mud room on the back of my house) to display whatever new Antique treasure is the most recent find! Thank you for this chance, I've wanted a dress form for a long time!

  13. What a smart idea! Thanks for linking this up to Monday Funday!

  14. This is an awesome project. I've always wanted a dress form. I'm going to have to fo this. Thanks for the inspiration.

  15. I'm SO thrilled to have found your tutorial! I am really in need of a dress form! I would totally make one of my own if I won the giveaway.

    Blue Eyed Beauty Blog
    Exercise Encouragement Group Blog

  16. That sounds like a lot of work! I have thought about makign my own dress-form, but was afraid to....
    You are so amazing!

    HAPPY Easter!

    hugs x
    Crystelle Boutique

  17. Wow. You have a genius mind! How creative.

  18. They say you learn something new everyday. I never knew you could make a form from duct tape and all your other supplies. Very clever!
    Thanks so much for linking up at Real Family Fun.

  19. How awesome is your dress form! I would love to make one if I won!

  20. Kudos for creativity! It's true what they say about duct tape..you really can do anything with the stuff! LOL
    I need a head form for hats.
    Thanks so much for linking up at Crochet Happy..hope to see you next week!

  21. This is AMAZING! Thank you for joining our All Things Thursday Link-Up this week! We looved your post and are featuring it in this week's round-up of favorites at All Things Thursday Link-Up {No. 16} Featured Favorites :)

  22. Thanks for sharing this on The Creative HomeAcre Hop!
    Hope you have time to link up again this week!

  23. I would love to make a dress from like the one you made. I am so tried of trying to fit dresses for myself with them on. Very difficult I can assure you!


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