How To Pack Your Mannequin

Composite photo of the assembled mannequin and the unopened shipping or storage box with arrow indicating this will be the process of packing the mannequin into the box.

From assembled mannequin to packed shipping or storage box

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This article explains how to disassemble and pack your mannequin back in the original shipping or storage box that it arrived in.

If you need to ship or store your mannequin, you will want to repack it in the original shipping container.  If you followed the instructions on our posting about “How To Assemble Your Mannequin”, then you saved the original shipping box along with the foam wrappers.  Now is the time to retrieve those items.

First a quick overview so you have the big picture.  Packing a mannequin is all about putting the parts in the correct order.  Do that and it’s easy – otherwise, it can be frustrating.

  • Gather the packing materials along with packing tape, scissors, and rubber bands or ties.  You may also want to have a Phillips-head screwdriver, a pair of pliers, and gloves.
  • Dissemble mannequin and wrap each part in its foam container, paper, or cardboard container.  The head should have the eye protector on before wrapping. Tie or band off each wrapper.
  • The wrapped glass plate is packed first then securely taped to the walls of the shipping box.
  • Next, place the wrapped leg with the attached hips into the shipping box  with the foot facing up
  • After the first two items, pack the torso or upper body.  It should be on its side.
  • The leg without the attached hips goes in next.  It should rest on top of the other leg.
  • Place the two sets of  arms and hands into the box.
  • The well-wrapped odds-and-ends (support cone, support rods, and anchor ring) go in next.
  • Last, place the protective shipping paper on top.
  • Seal the box – there should be no bulges.  If so, you need to repack the container.

QUICK TIP! Before taking the mannequin apart, take a couple of photos.  If you are using film, have two (2) copies made then label them with the mannequin model name, our name (AMT Mannequins), and the model number.   If you are using digital images (if nothing else take a photo with your cell phone) then label the images the same way.  With either digital images or photos, you may want to print at least two (2) copies: one (1) for inside the box and one (1) on the outside.  This way, if the outside picture gets lost you still have the inside picture so you can avoid the exercise of unpacking then repacking the mannequin  because it wasn’t the one you wanted.  If you labeled the photos as suggested then if it falls off the box you can at least find which box corresponds to the photo.  The super organized person will have a binder containing the mannequin photos so that you can quickly locate the one you want.

Now that you have the big picture, let’s walk through the process step-by-step.  Before starting the actual packing process,  you will also want to have the following items ready:

  • Original shipping box and packing materials
  • Soft, clean blanket or sheet to protect the mannequin parts
  • Packing tape – many shippers won’t accept masking tape or scotch tape
  • Scissors – if you don’t have a tape gun you’ll need scissors to cut the tape
  • Rubber bands or ties – the foam wrappers need to be banded or tied
  • A Phillips head (the kind that looks like a cross) screwdriver
  • Pliers (for the Anchor Ring caps and possibly the support rods)
  • Latex or cotton gloves for your hands
How to pack a mannequin - packing supplies to have ready before you begin: packing tape (not scotch tape nor masking tape), scissors, and rubber bands or ties.

Packing supplies to have ready

Begin by finding the original shipping or storage box.  Hopefully, you kept the original protective foam wrappers.  If not, you will need to find a substitute such as bubble wrap or foam wrap.  The parts must be securely wrapped in such a way that movement within the container doesn’t result in scratches, dings, cracks or dents.  Although you can put shipping “peanuts” (foam pellets that are shaped like peanuts) around the wrapped parts, don’t pack the mannequin in a loose shipping material.  The process of shipping will cause the parts to settle out of the peanuts and damage the surfaces. Also, don’t pack the mannequin in newspaper as the newsprint will rub off and stain the mannequin’s skin.  Don’t use wrapping paper since paper is surprisingly rough and may result in small scratches on the mannequin’s skin.  The best, which is why we ship the mannequins in it, is to use soft foam protective envelopes that let you seal each part individually so it can’t shift nor rub, nor bang against the other parts in the box.

Before you start working with the mannequin WASH YOUR HANDS – just like your Mom always used to say!  Either that or wear gloves.  Otherwise you may discover that your pristine mannequin now has dark fingerprint-shaped smudges on the finish.  If you’ve already smudged the mannequin, use a slightly damp rag (better than paper which can scratch) to wipe the surface clean.  AVOID CLEANING CHEMICALS -see our posting on Mannequin Repair to perform any minor maintenance before packing your mannequin.

Lay the clean blanket or sheet on the ground that will be your working area.  Place the protective foam wrappers on the blanket or sheet.  Begin disassembling the mannequin by removing the arms.  Place each arm on a protective wrapper.  Some people like to wrap each part as they go, but one risk is that a wrapped part is not as visible so it can be easy for someone to accidentally step on it.  Either way, remove the hands by unscrewing them from the upper arms.  When you remove the upper body or torso, place the protective eye cover that shipped with the mannequin over the eyes to protect the eyelashes.  Position the eye cover strap so it does not slip.  Remove the Support Cone from the lower body once the Upper Body or Torso has been removed. Lift the mannequin’s lower body off the support rod.  Remove the leg that is not attached to the hips by gently twisting it.  Normally, there is a pin with a small crosspiece holding the leg on so you can’t remove it until the crosspiece lines up with the hole.  BE GENTLE!  After each of the fiberglass parts on on their respective protective covers, it should looks something like the following photo.

How to pack a mannequin - disassembled mannequin parts on protective foam wrappers on the floor before packing.

Disassembled mannequin parts on protective wrappers on the floor before packing

To disassemble the base, first remove the support rod.  Whether it is a Foot Pin or a Calf Rod type support, it needs to be unscrewed from the Anchor Ring.  If the mannequin was assembled properly, you should be able to just twist the rod (or the knob if it has one) until the rod or support is off.  Place the parts on the protective foam so the chrome surfaces are not scratched or dinged.

The next step is to remove the anchor ring from the glass plate.  On the top of the glass plate should be three caps.   You should be able to unscrew them by hand.  If not, then use the pliers, taking care not to damage the chrome finish.  Once the top caps have been removed,  the screws holding the Anchor Ring are on the bottom of the glass plate.  They may have tightened over time so if you can’t unscrew them by hand, use the Phillips-head screwdriver (the kind that looks like a small cross).  Put the screws back into the Anchor Ring then screw the caps back onto the screws.  This will save you a lot of time not looking for these parts later when you go to reassemble the mannequin again.  Put all of the miscellaneous parts (support rods, support cone, and Anchor Ring) together in one place.

Now that the mannequin has been fully disassembled, it’s time to begin wrapping and packing the parts.  Start with the glass plate support base as it is the first to go into the shipping or storage box.  Wrap the glass plate in the protective cardboard container that it came in.  The container is designed to leave a small, exposed strip of glass – THIS IS ON PURPOSE. Tape the wrapped glass plate along this exposed strip so that the cardboard will not slip off.  Also, as you can see in the following photo, tape over the edges of the cardboard so the glass can’t escape from either end.  When you’re done, it should look similar to the photo below.

How to pack a mannequin - glass plate support base wrapped and taped in protective cardboard wrapper.

Glass plate support base wrapped and taped in protective cardboard wrapper

Once the glass plate has been securely wrapped, place it at one end of the shipping or storage box.  Tape it thoroughly so it won’t come loose when the box is moved.  When you’re done, it should look similar to the photo below.

Packing a mannequin - open shipping or storage box showing wrapped, packed, and taped glass place support base.

Securely wrapped, taped, and packed glass plate support base

The first mannequin part to go into the box after the glass plate support will be the leg with the attached hips.  It is shown below with and without the foam wrapper so that you can see how to position it in the box.  Never ship or store the mannequin parts without the protective foam wrapper as it may damage the mannequin’s skin.  We show the leg without the wrapper only to show the relative position that the wrapped leg will be in when it is packed.  When you are done, it should look like the right side of the composite image below.

Packing a mannequin - open shipping or storage box showing position of leg with attached hips in the box. Shown with and without the foam wrapper so positioning is clear.

How to position leg with hips attached (shown without foam to illustrate positioning only)

Next, place the wrapped Upper Body or Torso into the box.  Again, we should the part without the wrapper only to show how it should be position.  Never ship or store the mannequin parts without their protective wrapping!.  You can also see that each of the wrappers have been rubber banded or tied off to keep them from slipping off the parts and to minimize movement of the parts while they are in transit.  Place the wrapped Upper Body or Torso (note the protective eye cover is protecting the mannequin’s eyelashes from damage) into the box on its side facing towards the inside of the box.  You can clearly see how it should be positioned by looking at the unwrapped part on the left side of the composite image below.  When the part is packed it should look like the right side of the same composite photo.

How to pack a mannequin - open shipping or storage box showing upper body or torso with and without the protective foam wrapper to show proper positioning.

Positioning the upper body or torso - (ship with protective foam wrapper show without for positioning only)

The next parts to be packed will be the upper arms and hands.  Each matched pair of arm and hand is in its own protective foam wrapper.  First put the upper arm into the wrapper.  Twist the wrapper so the upper arm can’t mover around – be careful not to twist so hard that the foam wrapper splits or tears.  Then apply the rubber band or tie at the point of the twist similar to the middle portion of the photo below.  Then place the hand in the envelope.  Apply the rubber band or tie so that the hand is held firm within the envelope and won’t shift or move during transit.  When you’re done, it should look like the bottom third of the following composite photo.  You will repeat the same process for the other matched upper arm and hand pair.

How to pack a mannequin - arm and hand shown with and without protective foam wrapper.

Mannequin arm and hand shown with and without protective foam wrapping.

The following photo shows where the upper arms and hands go in the shipping or storage box.  Since the mannequins have different arm positions, your mannequin may not look exactly like these photos.  It is important that after you have packed both pairs of arms and hands that there are no bulges on the sides of the shipping or storage box and that the top closes flat.  If this is not the case, you must repack the parts until everything fits properly.  Bulges may result in cracked parts as a given part may not be able to withstand the knocks and bumps that shipped packages experience.

How to pack a mannequin - open shipping or storage box showing how arms and hands are packed. Shown with and without protective wrappers so packing position is clearly seen.

Pack arms and hands - actual position may vary slighly depending on mannequin pose

If everything has been packed correctly so far, then the next step is easy.  Just wrap up each of the individual miscellaneous parts so that none of them can rub against each other and damage their finishes.  Wrap the Anchor Ring separately from each of the support rods, which should also be wrapped individually.  When you’re done wrapping all of the individual parts, place them into their wrapping envelope.  It should look similar to the following photo.

How to pack a mannqeuin - miscellaneous parts (support rods, support cone, and anchor ring) shown resting on wrappers and after wrapped and taped. Parts shown outside shipping or storage box.

Miscellaneous parts (support rods, support cone, and anchor ring) on wrapper and fully wrapped

Place the wrapped parts in the box.  Now place the protective wrapping paper on the top.  The purpose of this paper is to keep the parts from moving around if, or should we say, when, the box is flipped over, stood on end, tossed into the shipping truck, or otherwise experience the normal handling of a package by the carriers.  If the items have been packed well, they should be remain in excellent condition whether you are simply putting them on a shelf or shipping them across the continent.   Just before you seal the box, it should look similar to the photo below.

How to pack mannequin - open shipping or storage box with protective wrapper place on top of the packed parts. This is the final step before sealing the box.

Open shipping or storage box showing protective paper wrapper placed on top of all the packed parts before sealing the box.

Now seal the box using PACKING TAPE, not scotch tape or masking tape – neither of which can hold up against shipping.  TAPE IS CHEAP – use more than you think could possibly be necessary.

When the box is fully sealed and ready to go apply the shipping label or, if you’re storing the box, attach the photos so you know what’s inside without having to open the box.

If you have questions or suggestions on how we can improve these instructions, don’t hesitate to comment.

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