Once you read this story, you may never look at a roll of toilet paper the same way again. Amber Mills, a 31-year-old woman from the Dallas suburb of Hurst, recently created a wedding gown out of bathroom tissue — and it was impressive enough to land her a third-place prize in the Cheap-Chic-Weddings.com 10th Annual Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest sponsored by Charmin.
Contestants were tasked with making a wedding dress and headpiece using only Charmin brand toilet paper, tape, glue, and a needle and thread. It also had to be worn by a real person. Mills, who decided on a vintage theme inspired by old Hollywood glamour, upped the ante by only using vintage blue and green toilet paper she found on eBay.
Amber Mills only used vintage blue and green toilet paper she found on eBay to create the trumpet gown and veil.
As if this weren’t impressive enough, we should also point out that Mills is a stay-at-home mom with three kids, and she no experience in the world of fashion design — unless you count sewing the occasional tutu for her little girl’s ballet recitals. Even more noteworthy: Mills is courageously living with multiple sclerosis.
Unable to work, she was determined to do something creative and productive with her free time. She discovered the contest last year while surfing the web and decided to go for it. In 2013, she was a top 10 finalist for her Alice in Wonderland-themed creation.
Due to her health condition, it took her three months to complete this year’s trumpet gown and veil, which was longer than most applicants needed to complete theirs. (There were 1,491 entrants total.) The hardest part, shockingly enough, was not the actual dress.
“My veil was the hardest part by far. It took weeks!” Mill says. “I made a frame out of wooden rods and hand wove the entire thing out of heavy-duty sewing thread. Then I used white Mod Podge hot glue to make the tiny pearls that I applied one by one with tweezers. I wanted it to look real.”
Once she finished her dress, Mills shipped it to Florida for the first round of judging and pictures by Cheap-Chic-Weddings.com creators Laura Gawne and Susan Bain. The dresses were then sent to New York City for the runway event at the Sanctuary Hotel, where the winners were announced.
Gowns were judged on creativity, originality, beauty and use of toilet paper. They are now on display at the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum in New York. The grand-prize winner, Susan Brennan of Orchard Lake, Mich., also received top honors in 2011 and 2012. Second-place winner, Katrina Chalifoux from Knoxville, Tenn., won the grand prize in 2008.
The Hurst mom received $2,500 for her third-place finish and plans to use the money to catch up on bills and buy a new purse. But after we’ve seen what she can do with toilet paper, we can’t help but wonder what kind of handbag she could make for herself using normal materials.