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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Wacky Wednesday #9: Baker Gone Wild

Let’s talk cupcake liners. Or baking cups. Call them what you like. The fluted paper circles that hold a cupcake together, like cupcake underpants. (Stay with me.)

Have you noticed how many cute colors and patterns are available? Gone are the days when they only came in the silver foil type or pastels. Bring in the colors! Polka dots! Leopard print? Yes, please! Stripes, swirls, flowers, zebra pattern, gingham, chevrons—many patterns to choose from and in every color of the rainbow. I’ve kept extra baking cups for years, just waiting for inspiration. I thought they’d make a fun element in an art project, but I wasn’t sure which project. These paper circles have a lot of potential.

This week I decided to turn some colorful baking cups into wearable art. I flattened the cups into circles and kept hot gluing them together until I had a dress. It was tremendous fun. It’s my Wacky Wednesday project and sorry to brag, but I think I look delicious!

For the back of the dress I opted not to put the baking cups everywhere. I do need to sit at some point while I’m wearing this and I don’t want to rip my cups. The rest of the dress has at least a hundred baking cups hot glued on (I didn’t bother to count). They are so colorful and festive.

I don't know if people are curious about this aspect, but I like seeing how much fun I can make without spending a lot. Each week I see how much of my costume I can make with material I already have in my sewing stash. This week's costume was made mostly with supplies I already had (and I don't factor that in when I tally the supply cost).

Total spent: $4.50 (for baking cups). In New York City, you can't even buy a real cupcake for that!
Paper as a wearable material actually has some history. Years ago I learned that people wore paper dresses in the 1960s. I wondered how paper clothes could be comfortable to wear, or sit in—after all, paper doesn’t bend the way fabric does. Wouldn’t tearing the back of your pants be a potential side effect? Today I decided I needed answers, and I took to the Internet. I learned that paper clothing was reinforced with nylon or rayon, so splitting your pants was not as much of a risk as you might think. Paper clothing was advertized as a practical alternative, analogous to a paper cup: easy to dispose of and lightweight. The novelty of wearing paper epitomizes the very spirit of the 1960s: a decade made up of new ideas and fashions, rebelling against the expected, and doing your own thing, man. It was a relatively short-lived trend, however. On I learned more about why the 1960s paper clothing craze went the way of the 18th century powdered wig. Flammability was a concern (!) as was post-consumer waste. Also, the trend ran out its course. Of course, vestiges of the paper clothing fad remain. Paper gowns are still used in certain places, like at the doctor’s office, and those backless dresses obviously are the pinnacle of high fashion.

Here’s what I’ve learned from today’s experiment:

Pro: It’s possible to make a dress from paper baking cups, and it’s fun, too!

Con: It’s not easy to get into (but if you put it over your head, gravity works with you).

Pro: It’s lightweight and fairly comfortable.

Con: It’s impossible to take off by yourself so don’t attempt it if you’re home alone.

All in all, this was a delightful challenge and I had a great time playing around with these paper circles. Most people like cupcakes, but I think it’s high time baking cups get their day in the spotlight!

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On a different note, I’ve been thinking a lot about whether my wacky creations coexist with something else on my mind, something a lot more serious. If you have a minute, please read the post below/before this one, “Because Laughter is Therapeutic.”


  1. Will you bake me some coconut cupcakes? I'm hungry.

  2. Such a creative & colorful dress!! And, who knew about the paper clothes of the 60s! I looove that cupcake hat, Sar! How did you make it?

  3. Hi, L! Thanks so much. I love it when people want to know how I make stuff. The hat started this way: I made a big baking cup out of fabric. Then I made a dome out of felt, for the part of the cupcake you see. I attached the bottom and top and then put stuffing inside to make a cupcake-shaped pillow, if you will. Then I made the paper baking cup by folding pieces of paper, kind of like a paper fan. Glued that to the big cupcake, added felt sprinkles, a chin strap, and of course, a cherry on top!

  4. That costume was even better in person! So cute!

  5. That costume was even better in person! So cute!