Saturday, June 19, 2010

Paper Mache Bust Dress Form

In anticipation of our next North County Artists in Action open studios event, I've been researching full and bust dress forms to display my wearable quilt art and original jewelry designs. I was able to pick up a bust form at a local charity shop for a reasonable price, but began thinking that these forms might be a bit too standardized for the display of art work, especially if there were several of them in one venue. Since I have a stash of newspaper to cover work surfaces when I paint, I grabbed several sheets and scrunched them into forms that approximated a bust form. I held the paper together with masking tape and this allowed me to further refine the shape. Once a fairly reasonable form developed, I mixed up some flour, water and white glue, tore strips of newspaper and set about covering the form. Once the form was dried, I applied a coat of gesso. While the form was drying and "setting up", I went to the garage to look for materials that could be made into a stand and base. I cut an old broom handle to a size that might work, found a scrap of pine, drilled a hole through through the center of the pine scrap, drilled a pilot hole into the broom handle and then inserted a 3" brass screw. I carved and sanded the pole's end to a point so that it could be inserted through the paper mache and internal wadded up sheets of newspaper that were inside of the form. A little more paper mache strips were added around the hole where the pole was inserted and this was later touched up with more gesso. I haven't decided yet what the final finish will be, but I may leave it white and merely coat it with non yellowing, matte polyurethane.


  1. Hi! I just came across your post for a paper mache bust form, and LOVE it! I have been thinking about doing one, and now I have and example and instructions. Thanks for sharing your great idea!

    1. Hi JoAnn! Here it is Oct. 13, 2013 and I just ran across your comment. Thanks for leaving a comment. I'm wondering if you ever tried your hand at making a paper mache bust form. Here's to creativity!!!