One of the biggest thrills for a bride-to-be is picking out her wedding dress. The thrill of the hunt is followed by numerous fittings and bridal portraits. Then, she proudly wears it on her special day like the princess she is for all her friends, family, and soon-to-be husband to see. The dress is stored away after that, pushed somewhere far back into the closet of her new home, collecting dust. But it doesn't have to be that way.
Instead of sealing it up for safekeeping, why not turn it into a fun project that will allow it to be refurbished or put on permanent display? Here are 15 DIY projects in which you can reuse your wedding dress.
15 Create a photo album or wedding card keepsake book
One of the most memorable aspects of a wedding is the photos. From bridal portraits, photos of the wedding party to that picture of the couple first laying eyes on one another to those candid shots during the ceremony and reception, everyone loves to cherish those memories forever. For that reason, it only makes sense that brides should choose a memorable way to store and showcase their photos. A cool way to showcase the dress not only in photos, but also in real life, is to embellish the photo album with some of the material from your wedding gown.
Choose some of your favorite parts from the dress and cut them out. Then, use them to cover a photo album. Another option is to use some material to cover a binder or folder and use it to store all the cards you received from guests. After all, you should have plenty of material to do both.
14 Make a throw pillow
Another easy way to put your dress on permanent display is to cut up parts of it and then use the material to make a beautiful throw pillow. You could even make an entire set of throw pillows if you used the entire dress. Mix and match the parts of the gown on various pillows to create coordinating designs. A good idea for using all the material is to choose from your favorite parts—a beaded back or a jeweled neckline—to decorate the front of the pillow, and save the plain white fabric for the back. You could even add other materials of different colors and textures to give the pillows a more contemporary design. Then, choose when and where to display the pillows, or put them up as gifts to give your future children. Imagine your child using one as the ring pillow in his or her own wedding years down the road.
13 Create a patchwork quilt
If you love the pillow idea, but want to use more of your gown, then turn it into a patchwork quilt. A quilt is good for incorporating more memorable elements from your wedding as well. You can even add in items like handkerchiefs used by your parents or grandparents during the wedding and even some material from the tie or shirt your husband wore during the ceremony. Pieces of the mother's gowns would look nice, too, if they are willing to give them up or at least cut off a portion. With today’s technology, you can also have photos printed onto fabric. This will allow you to showcase some of your favorite memories among the other elements. After the quilt is finished, you can display it on a wall in your home or keep it out on the bed in a spare room.
12 Tote it wherever you go
Some brides love their wedding dress so much that they wish they could have it with them all of the time. There just may be a solution for that problem, and one that is also very practical. All you need to do is turn your dress into a tote bag or purse. If your dress is more casual, you can use it as an everyday tote bag. If it is more elegant, then turn it into an evening handbag. You can use flat, plain material, or go for more decorative designs by adding in some of the lace or beads from your gown. Another cool idea for elegant bags would be to maybe use a necklace as the handle. It could be one that you wore at your wedding or one that belonged to someone in your family and that holds special meaning to you.
11 Wear pieces as accessories
Speaking of jewelry, instead of repurposing jewelry, you can repurpose your wedding gown to make it jewelry. An easy way to wear your wedding dress time and time again is to take some of your favorite trimmings like buttons or beads from the gown and turn them into earrings. You can easily find earring backs at craft stores and glue them to the accessories.
Another idea is to have a locket made from some of the materials on your dress. This works best with lace materials to show off the dress’s design. You can buy a regular locket from any place you would find necklaces, or send part of your dress off and let someone make the locket for you. There are several websites dedicated to helping take important elements like materials or dried flowers and capturing them inside of a locket for safekeeping.
10 Take it from day to night
Who says you can’t wear your wedding dress again? You may not wear it in its entirety but you can still wear it as clothing like, say, in the form of lingerie. For a fun gift to your husband, have the material turned into a set of custom lingerie. This would make an ideal surprise for a second honeymoon or as an anniversary gift. Better than most lingerie, you are sure to get a perfect fit out of it since the set was tailor-made for you. Since most wedding gowns are white and either have some sort of satin material or a lace overlay, the material from your dress will make the perfect candidate for a lingerie set. You may choose to incorporate some beadwork or rhinestones from your dress on the straps to give it an extra special touch. Another idea is to add some colored detailing, such as ribbons, in the colors from your wedding.
9 Create a christening gown
You don’t always have to wait until your future children get married before you share a piece of your wedding gown. Just like silk and lace in white lends itself to an easy transition into lingerie, it just as easily can be transformed into a christening gown for your future children. You will likely save the outfit your child wears to his or her baby dedication anyway, so why not make it extra special by making the gown from a keepsake piece? This could be used for generations on to create a memorable tradition for your family. Instead of just using the dress, you can also incorporate the veil. Most wedding veils are naturally about the same length as a christening gown. If you are specifically making the gown for a baby girl, go ahead and add all the beads and rhinestones you want as well.
8 Make your daughter's rehearsal dress
Some women store their dresses in hopes that their daughters will one day wear them. While this does work out from time to time, that is often not the case. Styles change and the bride usually has an idea of the type of dress she wants. Since mom’s dress is at least 20 something years old, there is a good chance that it will not look so appealing to the current bride.
Not only that, but it may need a lot of alterations. With all of this in mind, it makes the most sense to have a new dress made out of your dress. Your daughter may decide to wear it as her own wedding gown or it will work nicely as a rehearsal night dress. She may also choose to wear it to her reception or when leaving the venue. Knowing that it is not her actual wedding gown may take some of the pressure off and allow more freedom to make it something fun with a playful design.
7 Turn it into a teddy bear
Another way to create a keepsake from your dress is to have a teddy bear created from your wedding gown. There are websites that allow you to send in material and embellishments from your dress and have it turned into a stuffed bear. That way, both your son and daughter could hold a sentimental piece of your dress. It even makes a fun gift to give to your first grandchild. You could go ahead and have this bear created before you have children and keep it in your home as a whimsical decorative piece. Another option is to have several bears made for all of your children or even all of your grandchildren if you have enough material left.
6 Turn it into Christmas decorations
If you love decorating, but prefer not having your dress out all year long, another option is to make Christmas decorations. Since your dress already has a nice circular skirt, it will be easy to convert the bottom part into a tree skirt. So easy in fact, that little or no sewing is required. After all, you already have the bottom hem line.
Another option, or one in addition to the tree skirt, is to take some of your favorite parts of the dress and turn them into an ornament. This is a great way to show off all the details from your dress. You can even use some of the trim to create a ribbon for hanging the ornament.
A Christmas stocking is yet another way to show off your wedding dress during the holidays. Decorate the front however you like it with lace, sequins, or anything else from your dress. You can also add extra embellishments like colorful beads or monogrammed names of your family members.
5 Hang it in the hall
If you want to keep your gown at a distance from curious, little hands, there is still another design option. Forego the ideas of making your dress into throw pillows and teddy bears, and deck the halls year round by turning your dress into a literal piece of art. One way to do this is to put some of your favorite pieces from the dress in a shadow box or even flat pieces like lace inside of a flat glass frame. You can also use it to cover a canvas print and perhaps get even more creative by using material dye. Make it the color you used in your wedding or even a color that compliments your home’s design.
4 Make a bouquet of flowers
If you are the type who likes flowers, but doesn't always remember to water them, then turning your wedding dress into some fancy florals just might be the answer you have been looking for. Cut up parts of your dress and bunch together the material to create flowers. If you have several types of material on the gown, it will make for a more appealing bouquet. Use the veil too if you want even more contrast. Then, you can take buttons from the dress, earrings you wore in the weddings, or even some of your mom’s jewelry and attach it to the center of the flowers for an extra special and sentimental touch. But why stop there? Take your garter and wrap it around the “stems” to help hold the bouquet together. Then, you have just used your entire wedding attire to create a beautiful centerpiece worthy of any special occasion. Who knows? One day your daughter may walk down the aisle holding it.
3 Set a pretty table
While you have your mind on centerpieces, it wouldn't hurt to think about the rest of the table as well. Use the skirt of your dress to create a tablecloth for a bedside table or for a small dinner table. This will be a great addition to any guest room or other special area in your home. You can also use it only on special occasions like when you have a dinner party or host an event. Think of what a neat conversation piece this would be if you decide to host a wedding party at your home. Your daughter could use it to cover the guest book or gifts table during her own wedding ceremony or reception one day, too. This is something simple that could easily become a family tradition.
2 Lend a leg
It has become popular in recent years for brides to have not one but two garters: one to toss and one to keep. That way, a bride can still engage in the tradition of her new husband tossing the garter to wedding guests without having to give up her own garter. Since the bride will be keeping her own garter, then it only makes sense to make this accessory as sentimental as possible. One way to do this is to take some material from your wedding gown and turn it into the garter. With such a small accessory, you can use virtually any part of the dress and still have plenty leftover. Pieces of the veil could also be added to give it a more sheer look. For traditional-minded brides, this will also fill the spot of wearing something old.
1 Highlight your hair
Headbands are back in style, and they can dress up short or long hairstyles in a matter of seconds. You can easily take some material from your wedding dress and make a headband from it. Make it as simple or as complicated as you would like. Another option would be to make several headbands using various parts of your gown. Cut out lace patterns or pick apart smaller pieces like buttons and rhinestones. Then, glue them to a cheap plastic or ribbon hairband for a quick new accessory. You could also wrap some of the satin or silk material around the band for a less flashy look. For a fun social experiment, you can wear your completed headband to other people’s weddings and see how many people compliment you and ask where you bought it.
Sources: bowmanbears.com, etsy.com