Picture of Handpainted, Upcycled Wedding Dress
I handpainted my wedding dress last year, using a plain vintage dress as a blank canvas. Technically, this was an ultra simple project, and relatively inexpensive. The most important thing is to find the right materials for the fabric you're working with, and to experiment on some test pieces before diving in.

Step 1: Find a cheap dress + make it fit

Picture of Find a cheap dress + make it fit
I went out looking for a canvas. I bought a blank off-white vintage dress at Burcu's Angels in Vancouver BC. It began as a strange satin thing: high-necked, high-backed, too big, with huge wide shoulders. A mystifying slit ran all the way up from the floor to my navel. But it had been beautifully hand-sewn from long single strips of fabric, and had so much excess fabric that it was perfect for cutting down. Not unlike a paper doll's dress.

Doing all the fitting took more skill than I have, so I took it to my friend Miss Bombshell in Oakland. She cut away the excess fabric, sewed up the centre, gave it a V-back, and put in some boning. I found some matching silk in a fabric store bargain bin, and she sewed that into a sash.

(Remaking dresses is challenging, but here are a couple of Instructables that involved some impressive surgery: Custom Wedding Dress and Upcycled Dream Wedding Dress & Accessories.)

wilgubeast2 years ago
Awesome line: "I took the markers along with me to the wedding and worked on it on the floor the day before."

The watercolor effect is awesome. So is your dad for delivering you in such a cool and unorthodox way.
ValerieL26 months ago

Thank you!! I've been drooling over painted dresses for my wedding, but no one has exactly the right dress and all of the advice I've seen has been "It's hard, you should probably give up." I really appreciate you taking the time to write this up! I might have squealed a little when I saw that there was an Instructable linked in your Offbeat Bride article :D

not my style but very creative

parisusa1 year ago
Beautiful! You wore what You wanted! You will always be glad about that! Thank you for including additional photos!
ddanby (author)  parisusa1 year ago
scox92 years ago
Amazing! I want to know so much more about your wedding - it sounds gorgeous! Are you featured on Offbeatbride.com at all??
ddanby (author)  scox92 years ago
Thanks so much! Offbeatbride.com just did a post about it today, with more of the story: http://offbeatbride.com/2012/10/bc-forest-wedding
scox9 ddanby2 years ago
I see! I see! And I love! I love!! :D
benwade2 years ago
Congratulation to you both. May you have many happy (and creative) years together!
iceng benwade2 years ago

sabu.dawdy2 years ago
i am in love with the saroundings.. infact one can pain orage and red flames on black dress for a hot halloween vampire look;) hot looks to kil you see ;)
water rat2 years ago
It looks like blue smoke. It also looks AMAZING!!!!!!!! And expensive!
GREAT JOB! now I'm off to check out all the weddo pix.

Congratulations, BTW!
Simply lovely!
crljones2 years ago
Breathtaking. "Something borrowed, something blue" Very nice photo as well. Thank-you for sharing a most ingenious idea + technique,
luckypalm2 years ago
Lovely! I would like to issue a warning; Painting on fabric is highly addictive and puts the rest of your wardrobe at risk :)
This dress is absolutely stunning!!
sabu.dawdy2 years ago
what an artistic look... flattered honestly =) enter it in painting project by sochomorro
sunshiine2 years ago
This is stunning! Thanks so much for sharing!
That is so simple yet oh so very beautiful! And that location is perfect for that dress!