You probably know I have an Etsy shop. A couple of them, actually. One of these Etsy shops sells fashion accessories, including vintage and handmade jewelry, and I’m working on a variety of scarves and bow ties.
Problem: how to display said items for photographs?
I mean, there are lots of ways to do it. Just go on Pinterest and they’ll tell you! And, of course, you can model the products yourself–an endeavor that can be frustrating, tedious, and damaging to your self esteem (especially if you’re both model and photographer). Personally, I wanted a sort of half dress form; something to show how the scarf (or tie or necklace) would look on an actual body without my having to get in front of the camera or bribe my children (they’ll do anything for a piece of candy).
Do you know how much these things cost? Obviously, there are cheap options, but I guess I have expensive tastes. And I wanted it to be my own–to represent my brand, if you will.
Finally, I decided: I would make my own.
First I needed a structure. I looked around my house and noticed that my sewing room wastebasket had a nice, vaguely feminine form:
Of course, it lacked shoulders, so I filled it with clothes until the top rounded out. Then I covered the whole thing with plastic wrap because, obviously, I wanted to get my trash can back when this was all over.
Next step: papier mâché. I did about three layers of paper–nothing my scissors couldn’t get through later because once the stuff dried around my trash can, the shape would make it impossible to remove without a little surgery. When it was dry (overnight), I made a slit up the side and popped the wastebasket out, returning it to my sewing room.
Next: duct tape. To patch up the cut I’d just made in the paper, yes, but also to bolster and shape my form. Before doing a full duct tape wrap, I stuffed my form with crumpled newspapers to give it extra heft and support, then enclosed everything in a good, single layer of tape.
Now I needed a neck, for which I used a round Tupperware container, about six inches across, attaching and covering it with duct tape (the duct tape also helped create a more elegant transition from the “shoulders” into the “neck”–duct tape can do anything).
So then I had this thing:
Beautiful, huh? No, not really. Which is why I covered it in fabric. (I’d give you a template or some measurements, but it was honestly done with a lot of guesswork and pins.)
And dressed it up.
And now I have my very own mannequin/scarf display/necklace display thingie. I call her Florence. (She’s sitting on a stool to give the illusion of legs.) I think she’s pretty cool–not perfect, perhaps, but who is? And, by happy accident, she ended up sort of curving like the slope of a woman’s back–good for the front view, but it also makes it so you can turn her around and get a flatter chest for displaying men’s accessories:
The best part: I didn’t buy anything; I had all this on hand, and some of it would have otherwise gone into the garbage, while other bits would have sat in the garage unused for years. Now I’m looking at all my extra junk, not to figure out what can be chucked, but what can be repurposed.