Sock photography is tricky. It’s hard to get the light just right, and even harder to appreciate how socks on the rack will look on real feet! So I decided to buy a couple of foot models, only to discover a pair would cost almost 80 bucks with shipping. There had to be a more frugal way.
Back in 1998, I used a duct tape dress form to design my wedding dress. How hard could it be to use the same method on my feet? Turns out, it’s easy. All you need is a pair of cheap knee or thigh high panty hose, two rolls of duct tape, bandage scissors, and paper or plastic stuffing. Here’s how to do it!
Start by putting on the hose, pulling them up over your knees.
Starting just below the knee, start wrapping duct tape around your calf. If your calves are curvy like mine, work with 12″ strips of tape and arrange them to avoid wrinkles and bunching up. Keep going down your leg, making sure the hose is completely taped over. Keep taping down to your ankle. Tape around the arch of your foot, bringing the tape together smoothly over front of the foot. Fill in the rest of the open areas with strips of duct tape, making an effort to minimize wrinkles. Here’s my foot completely taped up. Now, it’s time to cut! I highly recommend using bandage scissors for this step. They have a rounded bottom blade and are designed to slip under bandages without injuring the skin. They’re readily available at pharmacies and medical uniform shops. You can use regular scissors, but please be careful! Starting at the inner knee, carefully cut down the calf. The duct tape will stick to the hose and slip off your leg as you cut.
Keep going until you’re able to slip the form off your foot.
Now, stuff the foot. I used plastic grocery bags because I had a ton, and this is a great way to recycle them. Any dry, lightweight stuffing will work if you can pack it tightly.
Push the stuffing into the toes and lower foot, squishing it around with your hands to get a nice, natural shape.
When the entire foot up to the seam is stuffed, pull the seam back together and secure with duct tape.
Keep stuffing and taping all the way up to the knee. Repeat the same process with the other foot, unless you’re making a leg lamp in which case you’re done.
Press the form into a natural-looking shape again. For a smoother surface, press in obvious wrinkles and wrap 3-5″ strips of duct tape over to smooth them out. Here’s a finished foot.
For visual appeal, you can add a layer of duct tape in whatever designer color you like. Since I plan to use these in a light box, I added a few rows of white tape starting at the knees. Here are my sock models ready to go!
And a few of the resulting photos:
Not bad for ten bucks, an hour of time, and zero shipping!