I can remember people making dresses out duct tape and even trash bags when I was in high school, but an entire dress made out of individual pop tabs from aluminum cans? That seems like a lot of work.
And it was. According to Gretchen Ivers, the junior at Thompson High School in North Dakota, it took her 26 hours and 9,121 pop tabs to piece together her dress for prom. She then used another 400 pop tabs and another six hours of work to create the accessories that were to go with it, which included a purse.
"It was pretty scratchy at first, so I ended up adding a fabric liner under it," she said. "It's actually pretty comfortable."
Once she’s done using the dress for prom, Gretchen says that she plans on donating it to the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester, Minnesota.
"I have shown some people (the dress), and they've just been blown away," she said. "Honestly, I have been too. I did not think it would work out and become the product it has."
Gretchen says that the idea actually came from her mother who saw a picture of a dress that was also made from pop tabs a year earlier. Gretchen, who has built full sets of chainmail (a type of medieval protective garb), wondered if she could apply the same basic principals to the pop tab dress, and it turns out she was right.
The best part of the story is her donation to the Ronald McDonald House, however. The Ronald McDonald House is a charity that helps keep families together and close when loved ones are in the hospital and home is far away. Their programs provide specifically tailored amenities to families in need.
For Gretchen, her donation is a means of spreading awareness of this charity and all that it does, as well as a way to say thank you for all of the help they provided her cousin’s newborn son, Braxton.
Braxton was born prematurely and doctors estimated he had maybe one year to live. Braxton’s parents were able to be with him in Rochester thanks to the help and services provided by the Ronald McDonald House, and while Braxton’s future is uncertain, he has lived be at least one and a half years old.
"I thought this would be a cool way to make a statement and be able to tell people about the impact the Ronald McDonald House has had for me," she said. "It really has been an awesome experience."