Sweet Wrapper Swag


Written by Tshepo Mokoena
Photos and illustrations by Saga Sig,
07 Monday 07th November 2011
The fact that sweets companies still aren't wrapping their treats in edible paper means 1) they're not reading and heeding my suggestion letters, and 2) people are finding innovative ways to use all that excess paper. In this case, we're looking at some of the inspired and alternately hideous candy wrapper designs to employ that ever-versatile and neon-coloured paper. With upcycling ever on the rise in recent times and our clear love for all things papercrafty, we thought it was about time we shared some of these little finds with you. While the taste level may not be exactly of couture standards at all times, there's still something to be said for the interesting use of clashing colours and shapes. As 50 Cent would say, we'll take you to the candy shop...
Tara on her way to prom, Starburst-style
Normally the idea of someone's mum making their prom dress by hand conjures up images of some sort of black-with-spaghetti-straps number, maybe embellished with some beading if she's got a sewing background. For US teen Tara Frey though, Starburst sweet wrappers were her mum's inspiration. This one is pretty much as tacky and weird as it sounds, although I do think her mother's heart was in the right place.
Mama Frey apparently contacted Mars Inc. and tried to get them to send her empty wrappers for the project. They obviously said no, and so she bought a crapload of the candy in bulk, urging everyone she knew to eat up, then return their wrappers to her. An honourable mention goes out to her daughter's boyfriend, who had to wear a Starburst waistcoat to the dance. We hope his friends still respect him.
Shelly Hedges' Mary Jane minidress
With a different approach to construction, Katell Gélébart and Shelly Hedges put their own spins on food packaging as a fabric. Gélébart is a French environmentalist and designer, known for using popular condiment, pet food and dry food wrappers in her work. Unlike the more textured offering from Tara Frey's mum, Gelebert goes for the more conventional, flat and straight-forward approach: as in, you wanna wear a pesto wrapper jacket? Then I'll just lay the paper out flat and make a jacket out of it. Job done. Similarly Shelly Hedges uses Mary Jane sweet wrappers in this design in the simplest way possible. It's not the most adventurous dress I've seen, but does pretty well to make a bunch of sweet wrappers muted and wearable. 
These rather awesome crisp packet necklaces from Tatty Devine are probably top of the pile when it comes to pulling off this micro-trend with a sense of humour. Rather than donning a dress that may impress upcycling fans but leave most others either scoffing or confused, these little accessories are just the right amount of kitsch. Together Rosie Wolfenden and Harriet Vine, the two ladies who've given the world the Tatty Devine jewellery brand, have shared their step-by-step guide to making a shrunken crisp packet into something brilliant. With just a bit of greaseproof paper, technique and an abundance of crisps (for mistakes made and snacks required) the average Joe or Jane can now adorn their neck with a selection of their favourite crisps, downsized to pendant-like levels.
And of course if you really want to do the whole DIY thing with a twist, there are always these wonderfully garish sweet wrapper nails. Some acrylics, a spot of lacquer and your favourite sweet wrappers are all you'll need to get this look on. Well, that and the courage to handle peple mocking you nails and children trying to lick them.

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