When I first opened my store, I had a budget for fixtures of somewhere close to 27 cents.
Maybe a little bit more, but it was definitely a very limited budget. I wanted to invest in some jewelry displays, but I didn't like most of them and the mannequins that I wanted didn't work with that tiny budget that I mentioned. I did some research and decided to try making some of my own and am actually really happy with the results! Here's how I did it:
A person, dress form or mannequin torso
plastic wrap or grocery bags
brown paper bags
White glue (I bought a gallon at Lowes for around $13.00)
I used a display torso that I already had, but you can also use a dress form or even a person! I tried to recycle as many materials as possible for this project, so I used grocery bags to cover the mannequin torso. If you use a person as your base, plastic wrap might be easier.
I used masking tape to tape the bags together.
Once the torso was covered, I used masking tape to cover the torso. You can wrap the waist and the neck by just going around the torso, but the breast area seemed to work best when done in a criss cross pattern. You'll have to play around a little to get it just right. Make sure every part of the torso is covered, leaving the bottom and the top f the neck open.
Some websites recommended duct tape. I played around with it but in the end decided that for the cost and the desired end result, that masking tape was a better choice.
When the torso is completely covered, cut a straight line through the back with a pair of scissors.
Peel the "shell" away from the torso carefully.
When you've removed the shell, pull the seam back together, put your hand inside and press against the seam and use your other hand to press a line of masking tape against the seam to "sew" your shell back together.
You'll then have a very flimsy mannequin/jewelry display. I stuffed mine with old newspapers until it felt firm.
I traced the base of the torso on a piece of a cardboard box and cut it out. I used an old candle holder that I had as the stand. I did use duct tape to secure the base to the form and to the candle holder, as I wanted it to be secure.
Once the stands and the bases were secure, I decoupaged each form. I happen to have a huge stash of grocery bags that were overstock from our other business, so that's what I used. I tore each bag into strips and soaked the strips in water. I filled another bowl with the white glue and painted each torso, a small section at a time. I wrung the paper strips out like a sponge and applied them to the torsos. I went over the strips with the glue after they were applied, repeating the process until each torso was completely covered.
These are the finished results! I made the edges of each display rough and uneven, as I felt it looked better. I also painted some of the candle holders and glued moss on to others. I do still need to go over each one with some really fine grit sandpaper, but overall, I'm happy! Plus, the whole project cost me about $25, which is over $200 cheaper than the displays I was originally looking at.
To see how someone else created their own dress form using a person as their model, check out this post at Verily Magazine.
If you tried this, I'd love to see your results!