Ottawa teen creates prom dress entirely out of duct tape

We’ve all heard the saying, “you can fix anything with duct tape,” but one Ottawa teen is going above and beyond with an idea she had, and she’s sticking to it.

It’s called the Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest, put on by Duck Brand duct tape. High schoolers across North America are given the chance to win US$10,000 by making a tuxedo or dress entirely out of duct tape.

“It’s not like your average scholarship where you have to write essays, so I thought it would be super fun,” says Erika Avellaneda.

Avellaneda is now a finalist, beating 102 other dresses to make it to the top five.

“I worked for about 143 hours. Some days, I worked five hours, other days one or two,” says Avellaneda. “It was a hard process. A lot of sitting down and working, but it was worth it.”

The dress is made of roughly $100 worth of duct tape, 17 rolls, and it weighs about six pounds.

“I think it's incredible. I’m completely obsessed with it,” says Erika’s sister Claudia. “Erika is a little shy, but she’s so creative. This is kind of like her way of speaking out and showing all the incredible designs that are in her head.”

Erika says the styles and colours of ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt inspired her.

“I’m so proud of her,” says Claudia. “Everything I do is for Erika. She is such a queen. I’m so proud of her and she's only 15 years old. A lot of the other finalists are in their senior year in high school.”

Erika’s mom Annette Dillon says art and design come natural to Erika, who took her idea from drawing to duct tape in just three and a half months.

“I think the dress is stunning. I think it's a real masterpiece,” says Dillon. “Erika has always liked the idea of castles, ballroom dancing. For me, it gave a child the chance to get out of her head—you know, the worries of the pandemic and school and not completing your courses—and do something physical with her hands. So I think that was a huge benefit.”

Regardless if Erika wins the grand prize, she says this experience is one she won't soon forget.

“I’m also pretty happy that I now get to have the dress and get to wear it,” says Erika. “It's something that I get to have and tell people about. It’s definitely a cool thing to talk about.”

To help Erika win the top prize, visit the Stuck at Prom website to cast your vote.