Waste Not Want Not

We've all heard the saying waste not want not, right?  Well, that's a popular saying that takes on new meaning with this next project.  I made this little dressform on a bit of a whim. 

I was surprisingly inspired by an everyday item that might have otherwise been tossed in the waste basket. 

It's always a treat to turn trash into a small treasure.



Allow me to back up a bit and start from the beginning.  This project was set into motion after my good friend Beena gave me these four pretty little vintage-looking jars in the photo below. 

Beena is also a scrapping buddy who knows I love to store my craft supplies in unusual containers.  These jars are simply perfect.  I love them and already have one of them filled with colorful crafting buttons.



Anyway, the beautiful jars were wrapped in this equally pretty tissue paper.   Of course, because I love all things toile, I simply could not bring it upon myself to throw away the pretty black and white print or the complementary checkered tissue.  I was sure I could come up with something to do with it. 

See how a crafter's mind works? 


This is another really easy project that will take you almost no time at all to complete.  You only need a few other supplies including some decoupage finish, a few wooden dowels, a wooden base and paper mache' dressforms. 

In addition to the supplies (which can be picked up at any craft store), you'll need a craft drill with a bit the size of the wooden dowel.


Painting the paper mache' dress form is entirely optional.  However, I decided to cover it with ivory acrylic paint because I wasn't quite sure how transparent the tissue paper might become once it came in contact with the decoupage finish.  Better safe than sorry.



Next step is to apply small torn pieces of the tissue paper all over the dressform.  This toile pattern was so easy to work with and I didn't have to be precise about paper placement.  It all just blended together really well.  That's the beauty of toile.

Using smaller pieces of tissue around the curved areas of the dressform will help the paper lay flat.  However, you may need to smooth the paper down with your finger to ensure there are no wrinkles in the application.



Apply the same technique to cover your wooden dowel as well as the platform base.  If the base has ridges, you may need to set aside your foam brush and use your fingers to smooth the paper and decoupage finish on.  This way you can make sure that the ridges actually show through the paper neatly.


Use your drill to put a hole into the bottom center of the dressform.  Make sure the bit size is correct size.   If you're not sure, it's better to start off with a drill hole that's too small at first than a hole too large.  You just want to make sure the hole is not too large for the dowel to have a nice snug fit.


Drill the same size hole in the center of your platform base.  Even with a snug dowel-fit, you should also apply a small amount of wood glue inside of the dressform hole, as well as on the tip of the other end of the dowel to help the dowel stay in place longterm.



Every pretty girl needs a string of pearls and this lovely lady is no different when it comes to getting a stand of her own.  I think the jewelry adds the perfect finishing touch.


I'm pleased with the way this turned out, especially considering it was a spur-of-the moment project.  I'm sure my friend Beena, had no idea when she handed me the pretty ceramic jars that she was actually giving me more gifts than one.  Thanks Beena!



Meanwhile, the next time you get ready to toss out that pretty printed tissue paper, you may want to think twice and consider the possibilities.  Remember, waste not want not.

  • Jaluza M.M. Olschowsky

    Teu trabalho Ć© maravilhoso.
    Estou encantada!!!

  • Diane Langness

    You have the BEST ideas. Thanks for another wonderful idea!

  • katie

    you have such great ideas! thanks for sharing all of them.

  • Niesz Vintage Home

    I LOVE that!
    I have some pretty polka dot and floral tissue paper that came with a gift. I, too, had to save it because surely I would be able to use it for something. LOL
    I will have to look for those cute dress forms.
    Kimberly šŸ™‚

  • Adla

    Such a wonderful waste not want not idea Lisa…I was just thinking of toile prints and came by your site to be surprised. Telepathic convenience.
    šŸ™‚ Adla

  • Katherine

    Very pretty! Clever way to use that lovely tissue paper. I love decoupage!

  • Lisa D.

    what a beautiful project. I love dress forms. happy Valentine’s Day!

  • Christine

    What a fabulous idea!! I’m going to have to do one šŸ™‚
    Happy Valentines Lisa:)

  • Angela (Cottage Magpie)

    What a cute project! Dressforms, toile, pearls…really, can you go wrong? Just too adorable!
    ~Angela šŸ™‚

  • M&Co

    Wow stunning! Another great idea from you! Thank you ever so much Lisa!!

  • Julie size

    I Love toile as well…in fact if you go to my blog and look up “The Farm” you will see a photo of our bedroom. If you go to Before and After you will see how I fixed a toile bathroom curtain! LOVE IT!
    I swear though that one day I am going to get my hands one of those Brother sewing machines. Your napkins are amazing!

  • Vee

    Very, very nice and what a great idea! Just the other day I came across some very pretty tissue paper that I’d forgotten I had and I questioned whether I should keep holding on to it…I decided that I would keep it but have no clue what I will do with it other than use it in gift packaging. It may not end up on a dress form but you have inspired me to look at it with a more creative eye šŸ™‚

  • M&Co

    Wow stunning! Another great idea from you! Thank you ever so much Lisa!!

  • Flea Market Queen

    Looks fabulous…
    What a great project!

  • June Parrish Cookson

    Hi Lisa,
    WOW!! This is absolutely stunning. Far too ironic to come here and see this piece due to the fact that I’m presently working on hand made paperclay sculptures of female torsos. They’re being painted in black and white with chinoiserie designs. A few have heads, arms and legs with small feet. Nevertheless, I’m pleasantly amazed at this gorgeous piece you’ve created.
    Love your project with the fabric covered bucket. If I may ask, what glue gun do you use? My Stanley model takes forever to heat up and the Hot Melt Glue sticks are unreliable as far as keeping items stuck on surfaces.
    Thanks so very much for your email regarding Artful Blogging second issue. I have the first issue and have enjoyed reading all the articles concerning the numerous talented creative women bloggers. Especially pleased to have discovered Misty Mawn and Anahata Katkin. Very inspiring.
    Again, love your work!
    All the best,

  • Barbara

    Cute as can be! Great project! Love the toile and I love the paper mache dressforms too!

  • Cathy D

    That is an amazingly cute little project. Great use of tissue paper. Thanks for sharing your lovely creation.

  • Karla

    I never toss tissue paper and usually recycle it to package other gifts but now I have an entirely new use! Beautiful work Lisa!

  • Cora

    That is such a great project. Would make a wonderful gift. Oh I wish I had more time on my hands, that’s one for sure to try!!!!
    Thanks for the continued inspiration!!!

  • Lesli

    WOW – beautiful dress form – thanks for the tutorial!

  • melissa @ the inspired room

    Another cute project. Something I never would’ve thought of! I’d save the toile paper for sure, but it would just sit in heap waiting for the next gift. You always find a fresh use for something! I love it.
    Happy day,

  • Staci

    Goodness woman! Your creativity is endless! I love it!!!

  • the feathered nest

    I love all things toile too! This is so pretty. Another great project to think about!

  • Tracy

    There is something about dressforms that I love. This is such a cute project. Don’t yell, but I threw out some adorable toile tissue paper a week ago. It was wrapped around a little gift, but there was too much tape to get it off safely. I really wish I would have been able to salvage it now!

  • Monica Yvette

    Great project! I’ve never seen paper mache` dress forms, but now I’ll be looking for one.

  • suzi finer

    love what you’re doing here;…linking you right up!
    suzi finer
    iamadiva.com (blog!)

  • Debbie Egizio

    You are such an inspiration! Fun project and idea. Love it!!!

  • traci

    that is just adorable. you are very talented and resourceful. i love the jars your friend gave you.

  • cindy

    You’re incredible!! Stunning!

  • Lilli

    Way to create a shapely treasure! šŸ™‚

  • Mary

    Lisa, have I told you lately what an inspiration you are? Love the great project ideas you share.

  • Beena

    What a fun idea Lisa. I love the cute dress form. Perfect for your sewing nook. I am so glad the gift was enjoyed in two ways!

  • Lucy

    A friend of mine was telling me how you can make a dressfoam with paper…now I know how. Thanks for the great tutorial!

  • Cascade Lily

    What a very cool idea. It turned out beautifully!

  • Veronica

    Ahhhhh the papers, ribbons and boxes…always a second gift for us crafters! Great idea…

  • giabella designs

    What a cool project! Did you know you can iron tissue paper? I just found that out when I needed some and it just was so wrinkled! (I save all tissue paper)

  • Rosie

    I love this project! So pretty…..thanks so much for sharing šŸ™‚ Rosie

  • Carla

    Another brilliant craft from a brilliant crafter! LOVE those jars. Tell your friend she can send some my way! LOL!

  • adrienne

    OH Too cute! YOu come up with the neatest ideas!

  • Jen R

    Love this project! I love decoupage! You’re welcome for the cards, I hope you enjoy them!
    Jen R