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11 Household Items Made Into Prom Dresses

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Industrious ladies have always taken to designing and creating their own prom dresses, but generally that just means sewing a few pieces of fabric together. For the truly crafty and clever, though, the materials for a one-of-a-kind dress can be found around the house.

1. Duct Tape

The most common oddball material for prom dresses and tuxes has to be duct tape. And there’s good reason for the material’s popularity—every year Duck Brand Tapes offers $30,000 worth of scholarships to students who can make the best duct tape prom outfits. The winning couple gets a $5,000 prize per person -not bad for being sticky and sweaty for one night. The contest galleries are worth a look.

2. Newspapers

This year, the Detroit Free Press decided to try their hand at prom dress construction contests, offering a $500 prize to the best dress made out of old newspapers.

3. Skittles Wrappers

You’d think someone who made their entire dress from Skittles would be a serious fan of the candy, but as it turns out, Molly Burt-Westvig just really loves rainbows and thought the packaging would make the perfect fabric for her unconventional prom gown. It only took 101 wrappers to create this fringe-covered dress.

4. Starburst Wrappers

Without a contest to incentivize them, two different students wore dresses made out of Starburst Wrappers. The first was Tara Frey, whose mother spent six years constructing a dress, a purse, shoes and jewelry, and a matching vest for Tara’s date. By the time all was said and done, no one could even estimate how much candy they had to go through to make the dress. It must have been a ton though, considering that Diane McNease required about 18,000 wrappers just to make the corset of her prom dress this year—a feat that took the high school senior five months.

5. Coffee Filters

Sometimes prom dresses are most certainly inspired by things the girls love. For example, Aimee Kick is known around town as “the girl with a coffee cup" as the aspiring fashion designer spends a lot of time at her local coffee shops. Embracing her love of the caffeinated bean, Aimee went ahead and created an entire dress out of coffee filters and accessorized the look with a coffee bean necklace.

6. Gum Wrappers

Elizabeth Rasmuson and boyfriend Jordan Weaver’s friends must have had great breath this year. That’s because the couple bought enough gum to create a corset top and a vest out of the wrappers. But to get to the wrappers, they had to pass out "5" gum to all of their friends first.

7. Doritos Bags

When it comes to crafting prom dresses from unconventional materials, perhaps no one is as famous as Maura Pozek. While I have no idea how she’s managed to go to prom four years in a row, she has certainly come up with impressive looks for every event, starting with the homemade Gothic Lolita dress she wore freshman year. The next year though, she decided to make it more of a challenge, and created this delightful dress from Doritos bags.

8. Soda Tabs

For her junior year, Maura decided to make something a little classier and began investing over 100 hours into this dress made with over 4,000 pull tabs and lots of ribbon. Surprisingly, of all of her gowns, she claims that this was the most comfortable.

9. Cardboard

For her final prom dress, this year Maura really dove into the recycling bin, pulling out cardboard and paper bags. Impressively, she even managed to construct a lovely corset backing with her corrugated top.

10. Bubble Wrap

It’s hard to tell if Reddit user jnizeti was inspired by the duct tape prom dress contest or by a package delivered to her house. Either way, it’s certainly unique.

11. A Parachute

This may be the only dress on this list made out of actual fabric, and it isn't technically something most people would find around the house, but it's certainly not ordinary. The dress, made from a parachute by Crafter user Obudha, can actually be turned into a tent. It’s like the Swiss army knife version of prom dresses.

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Thomas Quine, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
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Weird
Take a Peek Inside One of Berlin's Strangest Museums
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Thomas Quine, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Vlad Korneev is a man with an obsession. He's spent years collecting technical and industrial objects from the last century—think iron lungs, World War II gas masks, 1930s fans, and vintage medical prostheses. At his Designpanoptikum in Berlin, which bills itself (accurately) as a "surreal museum of industrial objects," Korneev arranges his collection in fascinating, if disturbing, assemblages. (Atlas Obscura warns that it's "half design museum, half horror house of imagination.") Recently, the Midnight Archive caught up with Vlad for a special tour and some insight into the question visitors inevitably ask—"but what is it, really?" You can watch the full video below.

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Courtesy of Nikon
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science
Microscopic Videos Provide a Rare Close-Up Glimpse of the Natural World
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Courtesy of Nikon

Nature’s wonders aren’t always visible to the naked eye. To celebrate the miniature realm, Nikon’s Small World in Motion digital video competition awards prizes to the most stunning microscopic moving images, as filmed and submitted by photographers and scientists. The winners of the seventh annual competition were just announced on September 21—and you can check out the top submissions below.

FIRST PRIZE

Daniel von Wangenheim, a biologist at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria, took first place with a time-lapse video of thale cress root growth. For the uninitiated, thale cress—known to scientists as Arabidopsis thalianais a small flowering plant, considered by many to be a weed. Plant and genetics researchers like thale cress because of its fast growth cycle, abundant seed production, ability to pollinate itself, and wild genes, which haven’t been subjected to breeding and artificial selection.

Von Wangenheim’s footage condenses 17 hours of root tip growth into just 10 seconds. Magnified with a confocal microscope, the root appears neon green and pink—but von Wangenheim’s work shouldn’t be appreciated only for its aesthetics, he explains in a Nikon news release.

"Once we have a better understanding of the behavior of plant roots and its underlying mechanisms, we can help them grow deeper into the soil to reach water, or defy gravity in upper areas of the soil to adjust their root branching angle to areas with richer nutrients," said von Wangenheim, who studies how plants perceive and respond to gravity. "One step further, this could finally help to successfully grow plants under microgravity conditions in outer space—to provide food for astronauts in long-lasting missions."

SECOND PRIZE

Second place went to Tsutomu Tomita and Shun Miyazaki, both seasoned micro-photographers. They used a stereomicroscope to create a time-lapse video of a sweating fingertip, resulting in footage that’s both mesmerizing and gross.

To prompt the scene, "Tomita created tension amongst the subjects by showing them a video of daredevils climbing to the top of a skyscraper," according to Nikon. "Sweating is a common part of daily life, but being able to see it at a microscopic level is equal parts enlightening and cringe-worthy."

THIRD PRIZE

Third prize was awarded to Satoshi Nishimura, a professor from Japan’s Jichi Medical University who’s also a photography hobbyist. He filmed leukocyte accumulations and platelet aggregations in injured mouse cells. The rainbow-hued video "provides a rare look at how the body reacts to a puncture wound and begins the healing process by creating a blood clot," Nikon said.

To view the complete list of winners, visit Nikon’s website.

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