The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

February 3, 2013

Duct-tape diva

Senior makes unique homecoming dress


— When Aubrey Clark puts her mind to something, she sticks with it. Or, sometimes, it sticks with her.

Take her duct-tape homecoming dress, for example.

She was the belle of the ball in her stylish off-the-shoulder short dress — which she conceived, designed and made herself, entirely with duct tape.

“I always wanted to make a duct-tape dress,” Aubrey said, adding she’s seen designs on the Internet. She vowed that if she got elected to the homecoming court, she’d make a dress.

She was an attendant during her junior year at North Vermillion High School near Cayuga, Ind. As a senior, she was a member of the court for the fall and winter homecoming dances.

Aubrey, who lives in Perrysville, Ind., is the daughter of Jeff Clark and Julie Clark.

Once she set her mind to it, she fashioned a dress for the winter homecoming in just a few hours.

First, she took a large T-shirt and lay strips of duct tape across it. She cut it to fit, and used toilet paper as a lining toward the bottom, where the T-shirt ended.

For the corset back, she used a knife to punch holes into the tape and then laced a drawstring through the holes to keep it together. She also used a zipper lining (without the zipper) to make it stronger.

For accents, she layered triangles of gold and silver duct tape across the front.

Her shoes also had duct-tape triangles to match, and she made her escort’s tie out of duct tape. Her escort was senior Riley Chew.

She used four rolls of tape, and the dress had three layers.

Her mother, Julie, was surprised when Aubrey said she was going to make her dress.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I always buy her a formal gown. But when she explained she wanted to do something creative, I was excited.”

Aubrey said it took her a couple of hours to make the dress, and then she played around with the design. She had only a week’s notice between the announcement that she was on the court and the dance.

Her classmates were excited to see the creation, she said.

The dress got a bit warm during the evening, and she was afraid to sit down, for fear of tearing it. However, she carried a roll of duct tape to repair any “wardrobe malfunctions,” which didn’t happen.

Aubrey plans to make a full-length dress for prom, along with a suit for her date. She hopes to enter the creations in the Duck brand “Stuck at Prom” contest for a chance to win $5,000 toward college.

She plans to study at the Herron School of Art at Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis. She’s not sure what career she wants to pursue, but the school offers many options, including furniture design.

Aubrey is serving an internship with the North Vermillion Elementary School art teacher, and has considered that path, too.

“She just has a natural ability,” her mother said. As a child, Aubrey loved to draw, and Julie was always buying her paper and art supplies.

She’s proud of Aubrey’s dress, saying, “I knew she could do it. I didn’t know how well it would turn out.”

In photos, the dress doesn’t look like duct tape, she said.

A lot of people complimented the dress, Julie said, and some said they would like to have a dress like that — but in fabric, not duct tape.


Learn more about the prom dress contest at: