Most people throw away torn gift wrap as soon as they open their Christmas presents, but not Olivia Mears. The 26-year-old costume designer from North Carolina uses the colorful junk to create Disney princess-like dresses.
Mears is famous for turning unconventional materials into stunning outfits. Back in 2015, she went viral online for a “Taco Belle” dress inspired by Belle’s yellow gown from Beauty and the Beast, but with a dress featuring giant tacos. Keeping the Taco Bell theme going, she later created a dress exclusively out of Taco Bell wrappers, then a “Pizarella” dress shaped like a giant pizza, a warrior princess armour made of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer packaging, and even a toilet paper dress. But her torn gift wrap gowns are probably the most impressive.
Photo: Olivia Mears/Instagram
“The first one started as an attempt to salvage some of the used gift wrap from the holidays,” Olivia Mears said about the first gift wrap dress she created in 2014. “I hate seeing so much thrown away, and while the dress won’t last for very long, I wanted to get more use out of all the paper and ribbons. With the help of tape and glue, it’s hard to see where a lot of it has been torn and reattached.”
The following year, she created a red and gold princess dress using gift wrapping paper, tape and glue. She apparent had to reconstruct it several times since then, including after getting caught in the rain, but it seems to have held up pretty good.
“Each dress has a separate petticoat underneath for comfort and support,” Mears told A Plus. “That helps keep the dress on. The back of each dress laces up, made possible with several coats of paper-mâché.”
Olivia took a break from her gift wrap dresses in 2016, but she got back to them this year, creating a lovely purple gown out of leftover gift wrap, Christmas decorations, ribbon and trim. She plans on keeping the tradition going next year.
For more of Olivia’s incredible costumes, keep an eye on her Instagram.