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How to paint a mannequin?

Making a Splash

How to paint a mannequin?

I know it is an unusual & weird question but I got to try and ask for advice from all brain trust here🤔😙

So my brother is setting up an accessories business and he need a brown skin color mannequin to display his accessories


Problem is mannequins in Australia are all imported from overseas and because of their sizes, the shipping cost alone can be massive for at least $200 , not to mention the item cost


And we have found a second hand one, sold for $30, but the color isn't the one he needs: brown light, like human skin color

Then we see some people actually "paint" these dolls to change their colors , and an online guide for this:

Types of mannequin paint

To paint a mannequin effectively, you’re going to need more than one type of paint. The most essential is a suitable spray paint in the colour that you would like the mannequin, which will allow you to cover the bulk of the skin easily. If you want to add details and facial features, you will also need suitable brush-on paints.

Additionally, you will require a satin-finish sealant, to seal the paint and ensure a good finish on your mannequin, and a brush-on gloss, if you want to add any additional highlighting.

Best mannequin spray paints

When selecting your mannequin spray paint, make sure it is suitable for the material. For example, for our polypropylene display mannequins, you’ll want to use spray paints that are recommended for use on plastic. Here are some options:

1.     Dulux Duramax Plastic Primer

To ensure the best finish on your mannequin, it can be a good idea to apply a coat of primer first. This ensures the spray paint has the best chance of adhering to the surface. Dulux’s fast-drying Duramax primer provides a high-performance undercoat and is suitable for use on most hard plastics.

2.     Rust-oleum 2X Ultra Cover Paint+Primer

Rust-oleum is one of the leading brands of affordable spray paints and is suitable for a range of surfaces, including plastic. This 2X formula offers twice the coverage with each coat, for quick and easy application. It’s available in a range of colours and finishes, from Black and Rose Gold to Deep Teal and Real Orange, so you can create a wide variety of looks.

3.     Dy-Mark Acrylic Spray Paint

This water-based acrylic paint by Dy-mark will leave your mannequin with an attractive high-gloss finish. Choose from a selection of bright colours, including Wildfire Red, Grassy Green, and Electric Purple. The paint has a low VOC content, odour, and toxicity, so it’s safer to use. For best results, apply a primer first.

Other equipment you’ll need

–           Soap, water, and rags

–           Fine-grade sandpaper

–           Paintbrushes

–           Old clothing, gloves, and a face mask

How to paint a mannequin

The first step in painting your mannequin is to disassemble it. Then, run the sandpaper over the limbs, to buff the existing gloss and help the new paint adhere to it. Clean the surface with soap and water to remove any dust and grime, and allow to dry. Cover the surrounding area and prepare yourself by putting on your old clothing, face mask, and gloves.

To paint your mannequin’s skin in a block colour, hold the spray can slightly away from the surface and apply the paint thinly and evenly, allowing it to dry fully between coats – two should be sufficient. Finish with a layer of satin sealant to seal the colour.

Once this is dry, use a brush to add any details you want on your painted mannequin. For traditional display mannequins, you may want to add facial hair, make-up, or nail varnish, to humanise them. If you’re going for a more ‘out there’ look, you could add anything from abstract art to a third eye – get creative!

Once you’re happy with the appearance of your mannequin and the newly painted areas have dried, apply another layer of the spray-on satin sealant. Use the brush-on gloss to accentuate any areas of the face that should be shinier, such as the eyes and lips – this will make your mannequin look more realistic.

Once everything is fully dry (this may take a day or more), reassemble your mannequin. Now comes the fun part; it is time for you to dress, pose and display it with pride!



The challenges we are having:


1) Is it possible to achieve this with supplies from Bunnings, to change this doll to the light brown colour shown in the above pic? which one should we get: Dulux Duramax , Rust-oleum 2X Ultra Cover Paint+Primer,   Dy-Mark Acrylic Spray Paint ?

2) We only have this sample photo which shows the exact light brown colour we want, how can we Bring this sample to the paint counter for a colour paint match??

Wholehearted thanks for any thought to deal with this special challenge😆


Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: How to paint a mannequin?

Hi @ivanptr,


I've looked at the instructions, and they suggest you'll need the Dulux Duramax Plastic Primer. This is a plastic-specific primer that allows your topcoat colour to adhere.


You'll also need a topcoat in the skin tone colour of your choice. The Dy-Mark Acrylic won't be suitable as it only comes in bright colours like red, green and purple. So, that leaves you with the Rustoleum 2x range. Unfortunately, there are no skin tones in that range either.


The issue we're faced with is that no skin-coloured paints are designed to go over a plastic or plastic primer. You could do a test section to see if Dulux 300g Metalshield Epoxy Enamel Gloss Spray Paint Classic Cream or White Knight Touch Up 300g Paperbark Spray Paint adhere sufficiently over the Duramax plastic primer. They are about as close to the colour you're looking for as I can find. Still quite far off, though.


The other alternative is to do away with the sprays and use brushable products like Dulux Maximum Adhesion Primer. Once you've applied this primer, you'll be able to have a can of paint mixed up in a colour close to what you're after. There are hundreds of skin tone colours to choose from and have mixed up.


Please let me know if you have any questions.




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Re: How to paint a mannequin?

Thanks a lot for the info :laugh: @MitchellMc 


What if we go to officework to print the sample photo and ask the paint counter to do a color match (mixing colour tints) to:


Dulux Maximum Adhesion Primer ?

Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: How to paint a mannequin?

Hello @ivanptr


The Dulux Maximum Adhesion Primer is not made to be used as a top coat. Its purpose is to go on the plastic surface of the mannequin which will then allow you to paint over its surface with ordinary interior paint in any skin tone you want. 


In order to get a flawless finish with no brush strokes noticeable, I suggest investing in a paint sprayer, this will allow you to spray the primer on and the top coat as well. The best part is that you can repeat the process over any type of mannequin except those that are wrapped in cloth. 


If you have any other questions we can help with, please let us know.




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