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Make Your Own Fairy Wings
Spread Your Wings & Fly!
Fairy wings are good for costume parties, conventions, gatherings, street fairs, parades, Halloween, May Day fests, stage plays and rainy days. Fairy wings go great at protest marches, outdoor concerts, foot races and marathons, trips to the beach and have even been known to make appearances on brides at weddings. Kids have a special love for fairy wings, so consider a wing-making party for your child on their next birthday!
This page will show you how you can make your own wings easily, or help you find a ready-made pair if you are really in a hurry. The options for what your wings can look like will only be limited by three things: your imagination, what you want to make them out of and how much money you can spend (and I've got some suggestions for how to do wings without breaking the bank!)
The most important part of any fairy costume is a really great pair of wings!— relache
When it comes to the DIY craftsperson and artisan, this book is a stunning resource. If your fairy costume-making is going to be a more-than-once situation, this book is completely worthwhile!
FairyLore - books and research - Gather inspiration to create your fairy self
You may be surprised to learn that there are more types of fairies in the world than you thought, or you may be aware and feel overwhelmed in trying to decide which type of fairy you are.
In essence, fairies are magical creatures with humanoid form, often relating to the land or the elements. They can be fictional, fantastical or absolutely real, depending on your preference. They tend to range in size from itsy-bitsy to life-size, and can be totally wild or live a sophisticated court life in fairy society. Fairies are helpful or mischievous as they themselves desire.
You can be your very own kind of fairy too, made up of the bits that you like best. Take a look at lots of fairies and write down what sort of features and outfits you really like, and your fairy will soon reveal itself to you!
This book is great if you want to see just what might be possible or what sort of fairy you are inside. Fairies can be simple, or they can get really elaborate. Always consider time and budget when having your fairy fantasies.
Types Of Wings
what sort of fairy are YOU?
Fantasy fairies can have any kind of wings you can imagine. Here are some of the most common shapes, styles and variations you'll find for wings.
One of the biggest considerations for making your own wings is the size and scale of the wings. Fairy wings that don't go past your own shoulders can be worn just about anywhere and travel easily. Wings that stretch out as long as your own arms, go up over your head and down past your waist can be show-stoppers but they also present many concerns for moving around other people, going through doors and when sitting down.
Angel wings - Large, fluffy white feather wings. The classic shape is like two arches over the shoulders with the wings folding down along the back. However some people are a bit more "dark angel" and do these wings out of black feathers.
Bat wings - Black, skin-like wings. These are often made of fabric and attached down the arms to unfold and wrap with arm movements.
Bird wings - These can vary to be feathered to match specific birds or can just be very feathery wings.
Dragon wings - Larger than bat wings, these are often very leathery. In older dragons, they can have ripped edges or torn holes in them.
Dragonfly wings - These wings are often iridescent and are very slender and long.
Butterfly wings - Large or small, these are often bright and have elaborate patterns.
Moth wings - More round than butterflies, these are often slightly translucent and a whitish color.
Fantasy wings - Make your wings any combination of the above as you wish!
Instructions for making your own Fairy Wings
Without too many supplies and a little effort, you can make your own fairy wings.
Deciding what to make your wings look like often takes longer than the actual wing-making part! You can make your wings look exactly like some type of real wings, or you can make up your own colors, style and shapes. It's best to work out your design ahead of time however, as that saves time and supplies when it comes to the actual crafting part of the process.
For making wings, you'll want:
- 14g-16g galvanized steel wire. The wire should bend easily, but not too easily or your wings won't hold their shape.
- wire cutters
- duct tape or heavy electrical tape
- pantyhose or sheer material. Hose takes less sewing.
- safety pins
- needle and thread
- ribbon, wide cording or elastic (to make ties for wearing the wings)
- wing decorating stuff = fabric paint, glitter, feathers, rhinestones, silk flowers, fringe, whatever!
To start, bend the wire into the overall shape of your wings. You can make a figure eight with the wire, or you can make two separate loops and attach them to each other. At that point, you can either leave the wings as round shapes or re-shape them as you wish. For large or elaborate wings, you make larger loops to have more material to manipulate. Use the tape to fasten the loops into closed shapes and/or to fasten them to each other. This taped part is the "spine" of your wings so make sure it's strong but not too bulky. Pay attention to how big your wings get. Too wide and you'll have problems walking around. Too long and you'll have trouble sitting down when wearing them. You can also take thinner gauge wire and twist two pieces of it around itself to make a thicker piece strong enough to use as a wing form.
Once you get the basic wings assembled, you then cover them. If you are using pantyhose, you cut each leg off the waistband/panty section and stretch it over the wires. Be very careful or you can accidentally put runs in your wings. Patterned or sparkly pantyhose can make the wings fancy. If you are using a flat piece of sheer material, trim the fabric to be the same shape as the wing form, but just about a 1/4 of an inch larger is size. You then wrap the slight edge over the wire and stitch the material onto the wing frame with hand sewing. Make sure to use the lightest material you can, so your wings don't get too heavy. Sewing material over the spine is optional, but some people like to use elaborate or heavier materials for this part when they choose to decorate it. One cool thing you can do too is to make layered wings (like in the picture here). Adding more than just two wings can be really cool. Be sure to vary the overall wing shape from layer to layer for the best effect.
Next, add the straps for wearing. This way, you can still sew and bend the wings to shape without hurting any of the art. Most people like having four straps to fasten their wings: one going over each shoulder and one going under each arm, then tied across the chest. Don't make your wings tie across the front of your throat because you can hurt yourself if you snag your wings. Wings can also be sewn onto the back of clothing. Having a friend who can hold your wings in place while you work out the straps is very helpful! Whether these straps attach to the wing edges or the spine part is up to you. Which option do you think fits and/or looks best?
Then, once the wing shape is set and you can attach them to yourself, decorate them to your heart's content. Be careful again to not make the wings so decorated that they bend out of shape or make your upper back sore when you wear them. If you have bits of wing decorations left over, a thin wooden dowel can easily be made into a matching fairy wand.
Fancy Wing Effects - texture and sparkle
When it comes to making fancier wings, there are two ways to go. Either make yourself a pair of fairly plain wings to decorate or buy a simple/plain pair and then decorate the heck out of 'em! I happen to enjoy the second method a lot.
What you see here are some nice fancy wings that I photographed at Faeriecon West 2013. They show a combination of great effects. One is shaded wings. Notice they aren't just a solid color. Misting on fabric paint that has been thinned is one way to create this look. You can also paint dye on the wings if you know how.
Another effect seen on these wings is veining. Glitter fabric paint can be bought in squeeze bottles, comes in a huge range of colors and is very easy to apply. You can outline details or create patterns or veins. Keep a paper towel on hand to wipe the tip clean in between making different lines and you can easily avoid blobs on the wing fabric.
The most striking feature of these wings are the gold-edged holes. These are most often made by burning very tiny holes in the wing fabric with a stick of incense and then painting around the edges with fabric paint to seal them and prevent the fabric from running. Make some tests on scrap fabric before you actually try anything on a pair of wings so that you don't ruin all your hard work.
D.I.Y. Wings - more methods & techniques - Incredible tips and tricks for making your own wings
Here are more variations for how to make your own wings that I found on the web. If you are looking to make wings that vary from what I've described above, you'll probably find the how-to somewhere below. Check out the "no-sew" method, or see the amazing bat wings!
- Crafting No-Sew Fairy Wings
Making your own fairy wings is easy, no sewing required! Learn how to make faerie wings quickly and easily using paper, cardboard or fancy cellophane.
- How to Create a Fairy or Princess Costume
How to Create a Fairy or Princess Costume
- Umbrella Bat Costume: Now more anatomically correct!
from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories - this IS the coolest! Use old umbrellas to make a fantastic bat wing costume where the wings are anatomically correct (they hang below the arm).
- Make your own fairy wings for the May Day Festival!
With a few basic supplies and your own creative spirit, you can make your own fairy wings to wear to the May Day Festival... or just to flit around town!
- Coolest Fairy Costume Ideas
A fairy can't do without her wings, so I've also whipped up a few diagrams and easy step-by-step instructions to make your fairy costume wings:
Add some zing to wings
Used straight from the bottle or thinned and applied with a brush, these fabric paints can easily add dimension and sparkle to any wings. This set will last across many projects and is great as it has something to contrast with any color.
Dyeing Or Painting Your Fairy Wings - A good question from a reader!
"I'm making my own wings for my wedding. I'd like to dye the stocking, as I've seen some wings that look hand dyed in certain colors. I tried using acrylic paints but it looks weird on the stocking, do I use fabric paint?"
How you paint or dye your wings depends on the material being used to make the wings themselves. Acrylic paints will only work well on solid materials. They are too thick for sheer netting.
I have an MFA in Textiles, so I can tell you for sure that in order to dye fairy wings, you have to use dyes made to work on the specific fiber of the material you are using. I suggest avoiding anything with polyester in it, as for that you need hydrochloric acid to open the fiber molecules and make a color bond... nasty stuff!
There are brands of dye made for home and craft use that will dye nylon well. I avoid RIT brand dye myself, as it's a composite dye and usage of it is hit or miss. For dyeing nylon, I prefer to use Jacquard brand dyes. The instructions come right on the little powder container. Many of the larger chain craft and art stores carry their products.
Paints that are designed to work on fabric are what work best on materials that are sheer and stretchy, although be cautious about heat setting, as pantyhose will melt if you actually try to iron it. Since fairy wings are occasional wear, most of the time you can get away without heat setting the paint. There are fabric paints that are described as "flow-able" and this is the effect you want, something that paints on but acts more like a dye (which soaks in).
You will want to test what you are doing on some spare fabric as it will often take a bit of practice to figure out your painting technique. Thinning the fabric paint and applying it very lightly is often the only way to keep the wings from looking too caked or clunky when painting. Many professional wing makers use airbrushes to apply painted effects, but that's often too much equipment for the casual wing maker. There are a few brands of aerosol fabric paint on the market and those might be a good option along the lines of airbrushing, but I haven't worked specifically with any of those so I can't give a more informed recommendation yet.
Starting with material that is one of the colors you want is better than starting out with something that needs to be entirely dyed. That way you only have to work on adding accents. When painting on wings that are already on their wire forms, you'll want to make a hole or space so that you can put some tissue paper or paper bag between the two layers which will prevent painting right through and sticking the two wings layers together, however this can be a bad idea with nylon material as any break in the surface of the material can lead to an unsightly run.
Wing A Ding Ding - lots o' links - fairy festivals
So, now you've made some fairy wings... but where to wear them? How about out with more of your own kind? It turns out that there are LOTS of fairy festivals and you can go meet and mingle with some stunning Fae Folk.
- FaerieWorlds Summer Celebration
Faerie Festival in Oregon featuring Omnia, Stellamara, Delhi 2 Dublin, Treguenda, SJ Tucker, Adam Hurst and more. Fairy art, workshops, crafts, music and vendors.
- Faeriecon West
FaerieCon West is the wintertime gathering of the Faerieworlds community, held in February. The FaerieCon universe continues to expand to embrace fantasy, steampunk, goth, metaphysics and many other genres who enjoy sharing their diverse interests a
- Maryland Faerie Festival
The Maryland Faerie Festival celebrates the faeries with music, magic and merriment in May.
- NY Faerie Festival, A Midsummer's Dream
NY Faerie Festival : - Passports Booth Fees Applications Camping Registration Faerie T-Shirts fairy, fairie, New York
- Fairy Festival - Welcome to The World of Faeries
Fairy festival held in August in Illinois.
- Summers Past Farms ::: Fairy Festival ::: Flinn Springs, California 92021
Our annual festival takes place each June. Live music in the garden from 10:00 to 1:00! Our fairy festival will begin with the ringing of the bell. This enchanted day will feature a wee garden contest, fairy fashion parade and a fairy tea lunch.
- Spring Fairy Festival
an annual festival of music art & dance, tailored to the fairy & fantasy genre. Held in Auburn, WA in April.