The Making of A Duck Tape Dress

During prom season, the makers of Duck Tape brand duct tape host their annual Stuck At Prom scholarship competition for high school students.

Up for grabs are 20 scholarship prizes, including a $10,000 grand prize. To participate, students must fashion a prom dress and tuxedo completely out of Duck brand tape.

Seniors Danielle Woo and Brenner Wakayama are taking up this challenge and have so far spent about 50 hours and 30 rolls of tape—costing about $100—since February designing and building Woo’s dress. “All in all,” Woo says, “the process was a lot of experimentation, [and] a good way to expand on our creative outlets.”

Illustrations by Danielle Woo. Photographs by Danielle Woo and Brenner Wakayama.

Building the Bodice

Using a fabric dress (see red dress below) as the base to form the duct tape dress, Woo and Wakayama began by building the bodice—the strapless section above the waist—with small triangle pieces of white duct tape.

Bodice

Senior Brenner Wakayama cuts out triangle patterns from white duct tape for the bodice of the dress.
Senior Brenner Wakayama cuts out triangle patterns from white duct tape for the bodice of the dress. (Photograph by Danielle Woo)

Making a Two-layer Skirt

The dress features a two-layer skirt—a shorter white layer on the outside and a longer blue layer on the inside.

The top layer of the two-layer skirt is white. After all the white tape has been stuck on the red base skirt, the white layer is shortened to show off the blue layer underneath.
The top layer of the two-layer skirt is white. After all the white tape has been stuck on the red base skirt, the white layer is shortened to show off the blue layer underneath. (Photograph by Danielle Woo)
The bottom layer of the two-layer skirt is made of blue duct tape.
The blue skirt layer is made to be longer than the length of the white top layer. (Photograph by Danielle Woo)

Adding Patterns

Using yellow, pink and teal color tapes, a gradient pattern is added to the blue skirt layer. Blue tape is used to create a diagonal grid pattern for the white skirt layer.

A gradient pattern—using many small squares of tape—is made on the blue skirt of the dress. (Photograph by Danielle Woo)
A gradient pattern—using many small squares of tape—is made on the blue skirt of the dress. (Photograph by Danielle Woo)
Woo creates a diagonal grid pattern with long strands of blue tape. The  duct tape is first stuck onto paper and then cut out into thin strips, which are then held together in a grid with small pieces of tape at the intersections. (Photograph by Brenner Wakayama)
Woo creates a diagonal grid pattern with long strands of blue tape. The duct tape is first stuck onto paper and then cut out into thin strips, which are then held together in a grid with small pieces of tape at the intersections. (Photograph by Brenner Wakayama)

 

Making a Corset

The bodice of the dress is in the form of a corset, which is secured at the back with a string that is also made with duct tape.

Corset

 

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The back of the dress is features a teal bow and red string (made also from tape) that secures the corset. The bow is made out of stuffed newspaper.

Creating Flowers for the Bodice

Eight flowers, secured to the bodice, form the centerpiece of the front of the dress.

Flowers

 

Dramatic flowers contrast with the white bodice to complete the front of the dress. (Photograph by Brenner Wakayama)
Dramatic flowers contrast with the white bodice to complete the front of the dress. (Photograph by Brenner Wakayama)

The Finished Dress

After 100 rolls of tape and 50 hours of work with Wakayama, Woo tries on the finished dress for the first time. (Photograph by Brenner Wakayama)
After 30 rolls of tape and 50 hours of work with Wakayama, Woo tries on the finished dress for the first time. “The thing weighs like a million pounds and it feels like 100 degrees inside,” Woo says, “but you know, it’s for art!.” (Photograph by Brenner Wakayama)
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