Upcycling to the extreme. Master crafter uses 10,000 candy wrappers to create stunning starburst dress.
Upcycling to the extreme. Master crafter uses 10,000 candy wrappers to create stunning Starburst dress.

Occasionally the internet goes into a frenzy about a dress. The latest phenomenon to get people chattering is the Starburst dress. Starburst? Isn’t that candy? Well yes, it is, but for gifted upcyclers like Emily Seilhamer, it can form the basis of a whole new wardrobe!

Back in 2011, teenager Tara Frey turned up for prom in a showstopping dress made entirely from Starburst wrappers. Soon afterwards, Emily Seilhamer followed Tara’s lead and started working on her very own, second of a kind, Starburst dress.

First! Trailblazer Tara Frey with the original incarnation of the Starburst dress (ABC News)
First! Trailblazer Tara Frey with the original incarnation of the Starburst dress (ABC News)

Emily was already a fan of the candy after being given a pack on a first date with her future husband. As their relationship grew, so did the pile of Starburst wrappers. Emily’s boyfriend kept bringing them every time they saw each other and it soon became their thing.

Starting the Starburst dress

Did Emily stumble upon Tara’s earlier prom dress idea? We don’t really know. However, as Emily and her boyfriend saved their wrappers an idea formed in her mind.

Merely collecting the candy wrappers seemed a bit pointless to Emily. She wanted to do something fun and quirky with the wrappers – like making herself a brand new candy wrapper dress from them. It took years, and a serious amount of chomping, before the couple had enough Starburst wrappers to make the dress. How many? A teeth-crumbling 10,000!. Once she’d collected enough wrappers , Emily began stitching them together to create her own little Starburst dress.

Unwavering in her commitment Emily would spend hours folding Starburst wrappers. It soon became a hobby that Emily did while watching television or studying for college. The Starburst dress wasn’t the only great thing to come out of those wrappers. Emily discovered that sitting still for hours folding wrappers turned out to be therapeutic for her.

Bumps in the road

It wasn’t all smooth sailing though. Emily’s quest to create her new Starburst dress hit a few bumps in the road. One of the biggest problems Emily faced was Starburst discontinuing wrapper colours while she was still trying to make her dress. This wasn’t just a one off, the problem kept cropping up time and time again. Undaunted, Emily met the challenge, changing the design of her Starburst dress several times during the process.

Suppose I should share these on here since they managed to take over the world today #starburstwrapperdress

A post shared by Emily Seilhamer (@emilyseilhamer) on

Star of the show

Whilst Tara Frey’s mother took six years to make Tara’s Starburst prom dress, Emily raced to completion in only four years. Despite the obstacles, Emily was delighted with the final results, showcasing the masterpiece at her wedding. Don’t worry though, she’s a traditional girl at heart, and walked down the aisle in a more conventional wedding dress.

When interviewed, the determined upcycler said she had a rough idea of what she wanted the dress to look like, and figured the rest out along the way. Emily has even shared a step-by-step guide of her making the Starburst dress on her Facebook page so the maker community can follow in her rainbow-clothed footsteps. With such talent, we can’t wait to see Emily’s next project. No doubt it will be ‘Unexplainably Juicy’ ™!

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