Recycling and up-cycling, which is turning trash into a new, immediately usable product, are hot topics right now. With landfills overflowing and plastic in the oceans, reducing waste by any amount is helpful. And one designer decided to take one of the smallest forms of trash and up-cycle the heck out of it: She made an entire dress out of Starburst candy wrappers.
The clever designer is Emily Seilhamer, and she used more than 10,000 wrappers and spent nearly five years to create her dress. It was inspired by her husband, Malachi Seilhamer, whose favorite candy is Starburst. Emily shared the sweet story behind the dress in an interview with ABC News:
The first time I met him he offered me a pack of Starburst. He gave me a pack and once he broke the ice, he kept bringing me packs of Starburst. We were in drama together and I said, ‘Hey, I’d like to make something out of these. Do you mind saving them?’ He would eat them and bring me grocery bags full [of the wrappers]. I was like, ‘Wow, I can do something pretty big from this.’
Emily worked on the dress throughout college, folding wrappers while studying and watching TV. She said it became therapeutic to concentrate on completing one task after another.
“In just one row, there’s about 300 wrappers to wrap it around my whole body,” Emily told ABC News. “Because it took so long, the Starburst company kept discontinuing some of the colors I was using, so I had to revise the design a couple times. But that’s okay. I actually like this design better.”
And the design is pretty darn stunning. Emily chronicled her work on the website Bored Panda, explaining each step, from organizing and sorting the wrappers to ironing them flat to sewing the chains together with elastic thread. She finished the dress a few months before her now-husband proposed, which was convenient—with the Starburst wrapper dress completed, she could focus on making her wedding dress.
But because the Starburst wrapper dress is the most sentimental to the couple, it still stole the show at the wedding.
“Because we met through the candies, the dress had a spot at our wedding reception for everyone to see,” Emily said.
Emily plans to create one up-cycled dress a year. She has already done one out of men’s neckties and recently made a cute dress from her grandmother’s kitchen wallpaper. We can’t wait to see what this crafty dressmaker comes up with next!