How to Find Free Mannequins for your art project or non-profit event

Posted July 11, 2010 in Mannequin How-To Guides, Mannequin Recycling & Sustainable Retailing

scene from mannequin boneyard

scene from mannequin boneyard

If you are looking for a free mannequin – try craigslist or freecycle.  Forget about calling a retail chain and asking to borrow a mannequin from them. Unless you have a close relative or friend who works in the visuals department of the store, they just don’t loan out mannequins. If a retail store is going out of business in your area, they might let you have a mannequin then, but usually they want to sell them to you.

Should you need to borrow a mannequin, there are many places who will rent a mannequin to you. Not the same as free, but not as expensive as buying a mannequin if you just need one for a day or two. Go online and do a search for “mannequins for rent” in your city. If nothing comes up in your city, try places that sell used store retail store fixtures or prop rental companies.

However if you are doing an art project, going to Burning Man or doing a Halloween Haunted House display, renting a mannequin might not be an option, because you need one that you can alter or destroy. This is another time where you should do a search online for used mannequins and ask the company if they have a bargain bin with distressed mannequins.

Often distressed mannequins not posted on a website because the inventory changes too much. Or since the mannequins are slightly distressed they prefer that people come into the store to buy them instead offering them online, so that people can come in an inspect the damage for themselves.  Once again, this is not the same as free, but at least you won’t be paying full price for a mannequin.

scene from mannequin boneyard

scene from mannequin boneyard


35 Responses to “How to Find Free Mannequins for your art project or non-profit event”

  1. Wavatar
    Eric Krupa January 19, 2010 at 9:40 pm #

    I was just looking for a cheap “broken one” thing when I stumbled upon your article. I smiled the whole way through it. I am NOT one of the poeple who beg for anything. I earn the few things I have….I was just browsing around for one to rescue. I found one that someone apparently used for batting practice…offered $30 for the shattered carcas and am constantly remolding and restoring her. Wish I could send you some pictures of her. People think she is real.

    anyway…I did really enjoy the “Free” article. Now I will continue my search for some badly abused mannequin that just needs some love, patience and a massive amount of work so I can do my art thing.

    P.S. hahaha I would trade my soul for an hour of rummaging through your “boneyard”

  2. Wavatar
    Wendy Reese July 1, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    One of my friends is creating a piece with a piano and needs a mannequin to complete it. Just the lower half from the waist down. Need it quick! Thanks

  3. Wavatar
    Alicia May 11, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

    need a mannequin full body for my fashion…. i design dresses and i need one… thxz!

  4. Wavatar
    Sherita Shelton June 17, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

    I’m looking for a cheap (If not Free) Mannequin for a project I’ve decided to start. I’m a really big fan of the 18th Century Clothing and fashion and its so hard to find the things I need to complete my project.

  5. Wavatar
    Frank McClintock June 28, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    looking for free mannequins for a group art project.

  6. Wavatar
    farah January 19, 2012 at 11:04 am #

    looking for a cheap or free mannequin to start my designs so i can look on starting a business of my own thankyou!

  7. Wavatar
    Monica Reed March 6, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

    I own my own small handpainted apparel business.I roller sk8 from state to state and I vendor at some of our parties.I am trying to really get into my business and learning more ways to advertise.I’m searching for a cheap or free mannequin or manikin asap.I have a upcoming event in Charlotte Nc in a week.

  8. Wavatar
    Sydney April 7, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

    I need a mannequin for my daughter Jocelyn. It needs to be able to fit a twelve year old. Thank you _Sydney

  9. Wavatar
    Sugey May 17, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

    ***** I need a Couple of full or half body mannequins, doing a project with a non profit group home I work for. if you can help me with anything please email me.

    Thank you in advance,

    • Wavatar
      Judi June 2, 2012 at 12:09 am #

      what city are you located in?

  10. Wavatar
    Tammy July 7, 2012 at 2:05 pm #

    i would like info on where i can get a free or reallyyyyy cheap male mannequin, preferably wit a wig n would b awesome if it was bend/moveable. I’ve looked online n cheapest (including shipping) was almost $100!!! I def CANNOT afford that!! Please help me asap!! Thank you!!!

    • Wavatar
      admin July 7, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

      The only mannequins we have with heads for under $100 – have some damage on them. Most mannequins are not bendable, if they are made of fiberglass

      • Wavatar
        Mike Bonner May 14, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

        I am the new project manager for a small business in the port of Houston. It’s a very dangerous environment, and my safety meetings seem to be rather lackluster. I thought that i could stage an accident where someone was not following the safety guidelines could get killed (which really can happen). Our safety program is seen as a necessary evil at best by the owners, which leaves us with little funds. Can anyone offer something I can buy pretty cheap? I can pay for shipping too. Thanks.

        • Wavatar
          Judi May 27, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

          There is a company that sells used mannequins in Houston – Modern Mannequin. I suggest you check with them. Even though we have a mannequin boneyard at our company, shipping from California to Houston is going to be expensive

  11. Wavatar
    Cindy November 3, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

    Searching for a posable female mannequin w/head 4 my autistic, awesome, intelligent & fabulous 12 y/o daughter to play with. I found many I cant afford. Any free or cheap? Please contact me if u can help.

  12. Wavatar
    Mary Lee Kraushaar November 5, 2012 at 6:30 am #

    I’m looking for a CHEAP full-figured female standing mannequin. Rapid weight loss due to medical issues in the last 5 months leaves me in need of one. Please contact me if u can help. Scratch and dent okay if manniquin still works.

  13. Wavatar
    Cynthia February 24, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    I need mannequins for ptsd patients. It is for long-term therapy projects to help them work through their issues. If anyone can help me with this, it would be greatly appreciated. Any condition.

    • Wavatar
      Judi February 24, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

      What city do you need the mannequins in? How many are you looking for? Not sure how mannequins help ptsd patients – do they hit them?

  14. Wavatar
    fha loans February 28, 2013 at 4:28 am #

    I love what you guys are usually up too. This type of clever work and coverage!
    Keep up the wonderful works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my own blogroll.

    • Wavatar
      Judi February 28, 2013 at 8:08 am #

      Glad you enjoy our blog! thanks for the comments

  15. Wavatar
    Devi March 9, 2013 at 7:48 am #

    Looking for free or really cheap (bendable or not) (eated or standing ) one to sue for a summer art camp! Thanks!

  16. Wavatar
    insurance handbook for the medical office March 15, 2013 at 3:49 am #

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  17. Wavatar
    sam March 17, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

    I live in the Torrance/South Bay Area. I need a half manequin as a display for my son’s science project. I really wouldn’t even need it to keep, it really would be only as a loaner and I can return it upon the completion of the science project .

    • Wavatar
      Judi March 18, 2013 at 6:40 am #

      See if there is a mannequin rental company in your area or some place that sells used mannequins. We are about 500 miles away from you

  18. Wavatar
    cheapest ticket March 18, 2013 at 6:21 am #

    My partner and I stumbled over here by a different page and thought I should check things out.
    I like what I see so i am just following you. Look forward to checking out your web page repeatedly.

  19. Wavatar
    Miguel March 19, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

    I’m a college art student studying film video. I don’t have enough to pay for extras to appear on set in my student work I’ve been searching for 2 years now for mannequins in Massachusetts with no luck. i could use any help finding a free mannequin for my work.

    • Wavatar
      Judi March 19, 2013 at 11:39 pm #

      If you can’t find free mannequins, perhaps you can rent them? Also check to see if there is a used display fixture company near you, they might have some cheap ones

  20. Wavatar
    christine July 23, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    2sides2thecross ministry is having a back to school event on Friday, August 16, 2013 and are in need of at least tow mannequins to display outfits. We want to bless the youth and send them to school with confidence and we want to show them how to dress appropriately for school. We would like one by Sunday, August 4, 2013 at:
    Premium Solutions Group
    2649 Windguard Circle, Suite 101
    Wesley Chapel , Fl 33544

  21. Wavatar
    Joe Kiesel-Nield August 25, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    I am a science teacher who needs a “body” for a Crime scene. It needs to be female if possible and be a full body. I need it by Thursday August 29. I know that is quick but I have just been hired to this position. The entire curriculum of the year is based upon elements of this crime scene so it is imperative that be as exact as possible. Can you help?

  22. Wavatar
    sylvia September 5, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

    doing a halloween haunted night in las olas florida….BIG EVENT…need full half and body parts….have 2 weeks to finish…..please help….

  23. Wavatar
    Alexander Harris September 28, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

    I need a male mannequin for displaying neckties on the green screen for my new project. Can you help?

    • Wavatar
      Judi September 29, 2013 at 7:15 am #

      We have lots of used mannqeuins and used dress forms (which are more popular for displaying neckties) available at discount prices. Give us a calla at 510 444 0650 so we can discuss options

  24. Wavatar
    Pedro Santana March 3, 2014 at 7:16 am #

    Hi, I design clothes for drag queens and its hard to size or cut my designs I have been looking for a mannequin for my projects and it is really hard in Brooklyn I really would love for someone to donate or sell me one so I can continue with my projects I have so many I started but cant finish in order for me to finish them I have to put it on myself and its hard to do the back of them so please help me find a mannequin that no one needs or want I would gladly take it off their hands

    • Wavatar
      Judi March 14, 2014 at 8:03 am #

      Try craigslist or contacting a used display fixture company in your area

  25. Wavatar
    bitbox April 29, 2014 at 5:53 am #

    I don’t know if this will do anyone any good (in time) but perhaps you can give this info to someone who can use it. I am a truck driver and am delivering to “Andrews United, @ 2500 Charter st in Columbus Oh. They are throwing dozens of brand new mannequins in the garbage dumpster here as I write this. I am watching them take brand new mannequins out of the boxes, strip the packing materials and toss the mannequins into the dumpster. seems rather wasteful to me. perhaps you can get someone here before the truck comes for the dumpster, as they frequently empty these things only weekly. Even if you get this too late to take advantage of this, I would imagine this might happen periodically, and prove a future source of mannequins for some starving artist types. Good luck. I really hate seeing such blatant waste of materials that could obviously benefit somebody, rather than adding to some landfill.
    Responding to this post about this particular event is probably pointless as i don’t do a regular route, but rather travel the entire 48 states. However, if you happen to know of any scavenging, or “good garbage recovery” type websites that might find similar events at future times and widely varying locations useful, I would appreciate any links you might send me.
    Good Luck!

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