Create a Body Full of Pride: Half-Mannequins Upcycled into Art

A body full of pride is a beautiful thing!  So is a half-body or a half-mannequin—when you use paint to repurpose it from displaying clothes into a unique piece of art.  Spray paint rainbow colors on it, then add meaningful messages with paint pens and Viola! You have a cool art piece to display your pride all year long!

Here’s How:

1.      Feel pride when you snag unusual items at Goodwill

Unlike those big box stores, Goodwill items are always different and often special in their own way.  While Goodwill always has racks of great clothing and sections full of decorative pieces for your home, when you see a unique item there, be sure to buy it on the spot.  For just a few dollars, you can transform it into something eye-catching which will make you feel full of pride.  You’ll also feel good knowing that Goodwill is a local nonprofit organization, and your purchase dollars go to support its life-changing mission.  Everybody wins!

When I saw these two half-mannequins at Goodwill, they were totally must-have, take-home-now pieces. While I wasn’t sure how I would use them, I loved their shapes and lightweight construction. 

2.      Spray paint on the pride style

  • Place your half-mannequins outside on a drop cloth. 
  • Following the colors of the rainbow (ROYGBIV or red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet) apply a light and solid layer of spray paint in each color. 
  • Red is always on top, so start there, apply red paint, and work your way down to violet, overlapping as you go. 
  • Allow plenty of time for the first layer to dry to avoid fingerprints, and keep it light to avoid drips and runs.  
  • Return and add a second layer of each tone.

Design Idea:

As you can see from these pieces, the yellow hue was replaced with gold, and hot pink was the final color, following violet. These slight variations on a theme gave the overall look some vibrancy, extra shine, and more visual interest. And you still see that the design is a rainbow. Give yourself the okay to tweak things a bit to make your piece feel fresh and reflect your style.

3.      Paint pen some prose

To take your now rainbow-covered mannequin-turned-art pieces to the next level, consider using a paint pen to add words or symbols.  Given gold spray paint was used on this Pride-full pair, a gold paint pen was selected.   On the female form, the phrase “Hear Me Roar” and the word “Invincible” were added.  These were borrowed from famous songs celebrating women.   

The male one received the words “Peace & Love” in gold, too, to tie into the positive tone and look.  Symbols like peace signs and hearts or images of lips, flowers, or birds would have worked well, too.  

What phrases, words, or images mean something to you? Be sure to add them to make these art pieces truly reflect who you are.

4.      Display with Pride

This transformed twosome looks great as a set in any space. Because of their shape, color, and messages, they are sure to attract attention to your walls.  

Thanks to Goodwill of Greater Washington and Finding Your Good for all the ways you make our community better—something we all can be proud of for sure!

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Tim Kime

Artist, Motivational Speaker, Life Coach

Tim Kime is an artist, life coach, and connector. He is the President of Kime Leadership Associates, offering executive coaching, meeting facilitating, and motivational speaking. He is also the Chief Creative Force of Transformation Junkies which upcycles furniture and other household items into functional works of art. He combined his two passions—unleashing the potential in people and transforming items with the launch of the Art of Possibilities Workshops. These workshops are part upcycling, part dreaming, and part goal setting.