Rachel Lefleur, 16, from Orpington, Kent, began making the dress a year ago when she was 15 for her GCSE art coursework.
Stapled, glued, and taped together, the dress features a sweetheart neckline, bodice with lace-up back and full skirt and train of white toilet roll ‘roses’ dipped in glitter.
The gown – which cost a total of £30 to make with glitter, glue and beading – took four months and ‘hundreds of hours’ to complete, and Rachel used 19 rolls of Cushelle to create it, costing just £10.
‘I’d never made a dress before but I was inspired by watching images of American toilet paper clothing contests on YouTube and thought I’d give it ago. It became a real labour of love and I couldn’t even guess how many hours I spent on it. But I’m so pleased with the finished result.’
Rachel initially planned to use newspaper but switched to toilet roll and her teacher wasn’t sure it was possible.
Inspired by watching online videos of the American Annual Toilet Paper Wedding dress Contest which sees designers compete bridal wear from toilet tissue, she decided to use loo roll instead.
‘I’d never made a dress before but most of my artwork had been drawing-based and I fancied doing something related to clothing.
‘When I thought of using toilet roll I realised it could be a white wedding dress instead.
‘I told my teacher what I planned to do, she looked doubtful and said it couldn’t be done well.
The dress’s detail meant that Rachel often missed nights out with friends to work on it
‘But I knew I could create something beautiful and was determined to prove her wrong.
‘I bought loads of rolls of Cushelle because it’s good quality paper. I needed my design to be strong, own brand tissue wouldn’t cut it.’
As the March 2016 deadline approached, Rachel tells how it was ‘stressful’ finding time to complete the gown with other coursework piling up.
She said: ‘My life became the dress. I was spending hours upon hours on it, and missed nights out with my friends. But I was totally dedicated to making the dress a success.’
In March, mum Denise helped her daughter transport the dress to the school in five separate car journeys and there Rachel fitted the skirt to a size-eight mannequin.
The dress is now displayed in the school’s reception and Rachel hopes that it can one day be made into a ‘real dress’. She said:
‘It was cheap to make in terms of cost of materials, but it took a long time. I’d love to see it made into a wearable outfit as a nod to all the hard work I put into it.’