You can often find free or cheap mannequins on Craigslist or Freecycle. And you can also go dumpster diving behind a retail store or mall because retailer frequently throw away mannequins when a store is closing, remodeling or if the mannequin is broken.
If neither of those options work for you, do a google search for display fixtures in your city. The industry term for mannequins is “display fixture” and many vendors who primarily sell store fixtures also sell mannequins on the side. But since mannequins are not their primary business their store will have a name like Joe’s Store Fixtures. And often they will have a section with used or distressed mannequins.
Since mannequins are our primary business, our company name is Mannequin Madness and we have two categories of used mannequins.
First is our mannequin boneyard where we have slightly distressed mannequins which appeal to our customers who are doing art projects or Halloween Displays and don’t really care about the condition. We also sell mannequin limbs like arms, hands and legs in our mannequin boneyard.
Then we have our pre-owned designer mannequins which ones that we have acquired from high end retailers when they remodel their stores. These mannequins would are very expensive brand new, but we sell them for a fraction of their normal retail price.
Examples: a brand new Rootstein Mannequin cost $1200 brand new, we sell them for $400. A brand new Patina V or Goldsmith mannequin is $700, we sell them for $175.
This category appeals to independent retail stores who need a high-end look on a beer budget.
And these mannequins are much high caliber than the cheap imports that you can find on Ebay. It is like buying a used Mercedes instead of a new Hyundai.
The shipping costs for a used mannequin is the same as a new one, so that is why it is ideal to buy used mannequins locally.
Should you need to borrow a mannequin for a short term purpose, there are many companies that will rent a mannequin to you which we have listed here. Not the same as free, but not as expensive as buying a mannequin if you just need one for a week or less.
Sometimes prop rental companies will have mannequins in their inventory that they will rent.