If you're looking for a contest that will "stick" through the test of time, Duck brand's Stuck at Prom scholarship contest has a 15-year history of encouraging students to come up with fun and funky fashions and rewarding them for their ingenuity with scholarships. If you just can't find that perfect prom dress, or you just want to throw your hat in the ring and try to win as much as $10,000 toward your education, try making a duct tape prom creation of your own.
How the Contest Works
Stuck at Prom is Duck brand's duct tape prom dress contest that is held each spring. Patti LaPorte, senior category manager at ShurTech Brands, LLC, the parent company of Duck brand, said in a released statement, "Valuing the importance of education, Duck® brand introduced this scholarship promotion as a unique solution to reward students for their creativity in Duck Tape® fashion, while also helping to fund the increasing costs of college."
The official rules state that the contest is available to students who:
- Are legal residents of the United States, Puerto Rico, and all other U.S. territories (excluding Maryland, Vermont and Colorado) and Canada (excluding Quebec)
- Are at least 14 years old
- Have not been a finalist in the contest before
- Design original outfits (you can't copy someone else's)
Duck brand employees and their children are not eligible to enter the contest. All participants need to fill out a release form and submit photos of their duct tape attire to the contest website for judging.
For 2016, the contest starts on April 4th at midnight EST and runs through 11:59:59 AM EST time on May 31st. After the 4th of April, you can submit your entries on the website. The entries are judged by a panel and the ones with a top 10 score will move on to a finalist round with community voting. The finalist round runs from midnight EST on June 15th through 11:59:59 EST on July 6th.
What Can You Win?
- If you're lucky enough to win first place in the contest, you and your partner will each receive a $10,000.00 scholarship.
- Second place will receive $5,000.00 scholarships each.
- Third place winners will receive $3,000.00 scholarships each.
- The next seven couples from the panel-chosen Top 10 will get $1,000.
- The winner of the "Singles" category will also get $1,000.
Couples Required for the Big Bucks
While couples are the focus of the big prizes, this year, Duck brand does have a singles category and you can win a $1,000 prize if you win. If you're serious about landing the $10,000 scholarship, though, you'll need a partner to show off both your male and female fashion sense with duct tape.
Creating Your Outfit
Basic Dress or Tux
There are a couple of ways to go about creating your prom clothing.
Obviously, you can go hard-core and make your dress or tux completely from duct tape. This means that the inside of the clothing will need to be lined with duct tape as well to cover the adhesive. This requires a great deal of time and patience to do, so if this method doesn't appeal to you, you can try another method.
It's easier, and just as acceptable, to make your prom attire by completely covering regular clothing in the tape. You can also choose to cover just parts of the dress or jacket in tape, but judging by the photos submitted by past winners, going all out with the duct tape results in your best chance to win.
Color is definitely more eye catching than plain gray duct tape, so think about ways to make your design really pop. Dresses look great with multi-tiered ruffles in contrasting colors or with a bit of metallic duct tape mixed in. This is one instance where the adage, 'less is more' doesn't quite apply.
The colors Duck brand tape comes in continues to grow. LaPorte shared, "In 2001, students were limited to the solid color palette of Duck Tape. Today's offering includes everything from bright neon colors and shimmery metallics to bold prints."
There are 100s of different colors, patterns and designs available to couples creating unique formals for this contest.
Another thing winners have in common is accessorizing their outfits. Don't just stop at your clothing. You can make jewelry accessories to complete your stick ensemble. Think about duct tape necklaces, bracelets, earrings and purses.
You might even try your hand at creating a duct tape rose wrist corsage. Guys will definitely want to carry a duct tape wallet, and a duct tape top hat and boutonniere may also be in order.
The 2014's grand prize winners, (pictured below), even took the duct tape right down to the tips of their prom shoes.
Dress Construction Tips
Before you start cutting tape, following some basic tips will keep the process going smoothly.
- If you're starting from scratch, sketch out your dress design before you begin. Decide on a basic silhouette, whether it's princess, A-line or otherwise.
- Have someone help you take careful measurements of your body. Remember, duct tape doesn't have much give, especially when it's layered.
- Use sharp scissors or else your tape will tend to stretch before it cuts.
- Airflow is crucial in your design because duct tape also doesn't breathe. If you dance, you're going to get warm very quickly, so it's best to avoid tight, form-fitting designs in favor of more billowy styles.
- Don't wait until the last week before prom to begin construction. It's easy to waste a lot of tape when you're working too quickly, and unplanned folds and other mishaps can ruin a clever design.
- Carry an extra roll of tape in your prom purse for emergency repairs.
Finding More Inspiration
Need some more inspiration? The 2014 top three winners of Stuck at Prom are pictured below. You'll find everything from prom shoes to a mermaid style prom dress to a flapper dress straight out of the 1920s. While these outfits will give you some ideas, remember that you want to come up with something unique enough to stand out to the judges and get you in the top 10.
| Third Place |
Gabrielle & Ryan