Illinois teen Peyton Manker made this dress out of duct tape for a scholarship competition.
CNN  — 

In January, 18-year-old Peyton Manker embarked on her journey to make a prom dress entirely out of duct tape for a contest to win a scholarship. After weeks of working on her submission, the Covid-19 outbreak not only canceled her prom but altered the course of her senior year.

Manker was not deterred by the fact that she would not get to wear her dress to prom. Instead, she felt inspired to create a dress that “documents a part of history.”

Her coronavirus-themed dress features multiple images depicting life during the pandemic. Her vision for the dress began with wanting to capture her own experience. She represents her unforgettable senior year with a vibrant scene of students attending virtual graduation.

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Manker’s ideas evolved as the pandemic continued to impact people all over the world.

“It wasn’t just high schoolers, it wasn’t just America, it was the whole world being impacted by the pandemic so I wanted to show that,” said Manker.

She does so by showing an image of people running away from the giant coronavirus to signify the world trying to avoid catching the disease. Other designs pay tribute to frontline workers and people suffering from mental health issues as a result of the pandemic.

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The Sparta, Illinois, high school graduate omitted no detail from her dress ensemble. She completed the look with a creative array of accessories including a “flatten the curve” face mask. Manker also crafted jewelry, shoes and a hair piece reading, “separately together.”

While Manker’s favorite creation is her coronavirus-shaped purse, she believes that her anklet displaying the words, “This too shall pass,” perfectly encapsulates her message. She wants the people who see her dress to be reminded that “even though it doesn’t seem like it right now, the coronavirus pandemic will eventually pass, it will all be okay in the end.”

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Manker also wants to encourage a spirit of positivity with her work. She believes that “we can have some positive things come out of this whole experience and my dress is an example of that.”

It would be difficult to tell from looking at the pictures of her work, but Manker says this is her debut as a duct tape artist. Her previous experience is from making small duct tape wallets and flowers when she was much younger. Four months and 41 rolls of duct tape later, she managed to make something far more elaborate.

As Manker prepares to leave for Southwestern Illinois College in the fall, she says the experience taught her that “you can do a whole lot of things with duct tape.”

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Manker’s mother posted the dress to Facebook, where the post has been shared over 254,000 times. Manker says it is “surreal” that her work was able to make an impression on people all over the world who commented on the post.

She says that winning the contest, run by duct tape-maker Duck Brand, would be rewarding because “it will mean that people saw all the positivity I was trying to show them.”

Duck Brand will be awarding $20,000 in cash scholarships to the winners in July.