I had the fabulous idea of creating a Christmas mannequin instead of a traditional tree this year. Well, as usual, it turned out to be much more hassle and expense than I expected.
At the end of Thanksgiving weekend, after I had it almost complete only to have the stand refuse to hold all the weight and topple over, I hauled it upstairs and threw it in the corner of the storage room. But eventually, cooler heads prevailed and I hauled it back out, gave her a brush-up and shortened the stand to a steadier table-top height.
Here’s how I did it:
- I ordered a cheap ($27.00) wire manniquin from Amazon. I knew fairly quickly that the stand was going to give me problems, but I perservered.
- I wrapped the bottom of the form with chicken wire. The following week, I had to wear long sleeves to work; my forearms were so scratched by the stupid chicken wire, I looked like I’d been attacked (which, I guess I sort of was, actually)!
- I found the top section of an old Christmas tree and cut the branches off with a pair of pliers. I bent the wire at the bottom of each branch to form a hook and strung them through the wire around the manniquin’s waist to form her skirt. I stuffed one cord of lights in her bodice, and wrapped two more cords around her skirt.
- I found a scrap of burgandy colored velvet fabric in my stockpile, and made her bodice by wrapping and pinning it around her “shoulders” and waist. Long hat-pins left over from the wedding supplies worked great. I fastened a vintage Christmas holly pin at her cleavage.
- I wrapped a wide piece of white-on-white Christmas ribbon around her waist to give it some definition, then wired a bow made of several different pieces of Christmas ribbon to one side of her waist.
- I’ve had this deep purple hat for at least 20 years; I just love it. I hauled it out, dusted it off, and wrapped it with white netting. I then fastened a length of the same white-on-white ribbon that I’d used on her waistband to the crown of the hat . Again, hat-pins! Lots of hat-pins! I attached another vintage Christmas pin, a white snowflake, to the center of the crown and draped a string of pearls around the crown. I whipped up another bow from the Christmas ribbons and attached it to the back of the hat.
- I removed the cardboard tube from the center of a pant-hanger, and bent/wired it to the neck of my manniquin as a support for the hat. Then I took the end of the light string at her bodice and wrapped it through the ribbon bow at the back of the hat.
- This is where I stopped, put it up in frustration, cooled off, and dragged her back out again. I finished her off by draping green tulle ribbon around her skirt and hanging a few monogrammed ornaments. I did away with the middle section of the stand, making her table-top height instead, and set her up on my grandmother’s drop-leaf dining table in my foyer. Ta-Da!!
I had a seperate brainstorm to create a man to keep her company, but eventually gave that up except for the super-cool top hat. I may attempt that next year.
I added a couple of beribboned lantern-holders and decided to call it quits before someone got hurt.
Merry Christmas everybody!